On mom’s old hard drive I found a document named BLACKIE.doc, dated March 25, 2006. It is split into two distinct sections:
We got Blackie when I was almost eleven. He was a beautiful springer spaniel with only a little white on his chest. Mom wouldn’t have a dog in the house, so my dad built him a cool dog house in the back yard and put him on a chain. I can’t explain how much I loved that dog. I don’t know whether I didn’t take care of him well enough or not, but I spent time with him and fed him and loved him.
After, I guess, less than a year, my family went to a picnic at a place called Goddard Park. There were about fifty family members and friends there, mostly from my Dad’s family and a couple from Mom’s side, I think.
I had a good day, but I whenever I was around my beautiful cousins, I felt lonely and ugly. I don’t remember anyone buy my children ever telling me I was beautiful.
When we got home, I ran to the back yard. Blackie was gone. My parents didn’t act as if they were very upset, but I was devastated. I looked all over for him for weeks and cried and cried and cried, to the point of making myself sick. I couldn’t stand it.
About a year later, all of my aunts and uncles, on my mother’s side, were at our house. That’s where they usually congregated even though most of them had far nicer houses than ours. They were all drinking. One or two uncles habitually got drunk, but I don’t remember anyone being too drunk that night.
What I do remember is that the subject of Blackie came up, and, while I was in the kitchen, either my mother or my father, I honestly don’t know which one, told the whole family that they had given him away to someone who owned a farm. They had watched me cry and suffer for weeks and had lied to me for over a year.
I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that they would stoop that low, lie to me even when they saw me hurting so badly for so many weeks.
I could barely stand to look at them. I told them I hated them and that I would never forgive them, and, again, I cried and cried and cried. I had always felt like I was alone, and now I was sure.
Finally, after weeks of more crying and withdrawal and begging, they said they would go and get him back. I was still incredibly hurt and furiously angry inside, but I was so happy to have him back that I almost forgave them.
A few months later, he disappeared again. They swore they had nothing to do with his second disappearance, but I never believed either of them.
GODDARD PARK II
For most of my life, from my early teens, I had an odd reaction every time I saw a man who was completely bald. Later, I was deeply involved with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Providence, RI. I was actually one of the leaders, but I always felt like somewhat of a hypocrite.
After a while, two Franciscan monks came to our world and I loved them both. One was tall, blond, and handsome, and all of the 21-year olds (including me) were half in love with him. The other one, Father Jerry, was one of the most incredibly kind and wonderful men I had ever met, yet every time I was near him, I had a horrible reaction. I would start shaking and feel panicky and fearful.
It really disturbed me because, in my heart and mind, I knew he was a truly loving and holy man.
One night, I mentioned the reaction to my mother and she told me about Goddard Park.
When I was about twelve, there was another family outing at Goddard Park. It was near the beach and was a great place for family gatherings. Again there were about fifty people or so there. Most of the young ones were playing baseball, but I was so insecure that I never played any physical games.
After a while, my twin cousins and I decided to go for a walk on one of the trails. They were petite and exquisitely beautiful (like Suzanne Pleshette), and I always felt ugly, and gangly around them, but I loved them. We were trying to elude another of our cousins who was always a pest, although, looking back, she was in worse shape than I was.
All of a sudden, both of my cousins, who were walking in front of me single file, screamed, turned, and began running frantically back the way we had come. I stopped and looked at what had scared them. It was a middle-aged man, bald and naked. He had probably been in the water and was as startled as we were, but, instead of putting on his pants, he began running after us.
Sandra fell and got a really bad gash on a fallen tree branch so the three of us emerged from the woods dirty and hysterical. Needless to say, 15 or so macho Italian men went tearing into the woods ready to kill him. A couple of my uncles were cops and called in for a helicopter, but they never found him.
I never thought about it after a couple of days, but I had that awful reaction even to men on tv or in the movies.
Once my I remembered what had happened, I never had the problem again.