Let’s recap. Check the boxes that pertain to you…
- Your dad was accused of molesting your 13-year-old cousin, who was a Scout in your father’s Boy Scout troop.
- You are named after another 13-year-old Boy Scout, who in later years was arrested for molesting a minor.
- Your parents moved your family to another state to avoid the abuse scandal.
- You, at age seven, were being molested within your Southern Baptist Church.
- You, by age ten, were on a dangerous path seeking the attention you first felt as that 7-year-old.
- You were approaching your “Medicare” birthday when finally the pieces of your life’s puzzle fell into place.
Fifteen years after my remaining parent passed away, I opened a box that had clearly been saved for me. A box filled with letters exchanged between my mom and dad during an eight-week period that found my father in jail awaiting trial. As Scoutmaster of Troop 1 in Miami, he and his best friend, the assistant Scoutmaster, had been arrested for molesting boys within their troop. All charges were brought against his best friend, with the exception of one – my dad was accused of molesting my cousin, the 13-year-old son of my mother’s older sister.
At a younger age, I probably would have been more shocked, however, I now believe that I have acquired some maturity through the years which made me, instead of destroying what I found, want to know more. The events were over sixty years old –
a story of another life from another time. I believe my parents felt that there was always a chance of this story being revealed and by saving letters from that difficult time, they afforded me a more-rounded picture of what they went through – more than just the facts of the story.
I never knew that we had left Miami for any other reason than a job transfer for my dad. And they never knew that the Southern Baptist church they sought refuge in was where their 7-year-old son would be molested by three church members over a period of several years.
I was introduced to sex before puberty which in turn, caused me to lead a hidden life keeping secrets. It was one thing for kids to make fun of me – call me queer and sissy in the early 1960s, but I never wanted to confirm their accusations. Nor did I feel that I could confide in my parents, friends or anyone in my Nashville church about the abuse. After all, the church, for me, was where same-sex relations began.
The attention a seducer offers a child can be powerful and those feelings can become addictive. For me, a childhood without boundaries created an adult who took risks, struggled with loneliness and failed relationships. Deep down I was still that young boy that kept secrets from everyone, including myself.
- You realize your train wreck of a life, hidden behind a smiling facade, does not have to define you.
* You decide to use your powers for good.
Release date for York’s Songs from an Imperfect Life is Sunday, March 18th with Author Talk and Book Signing – 2:00 p.m. at Parnassus Books.
J. Ronald M. York, author of Kept in the Dark, is also an accomplished musician and founder of York & Friends Fine Art Gallery.
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