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Rescue - November 1959

Metallica: Nothing Else Matters

How did I and my siblings get out?

We were rescued... in late 1959, my hatred of all that was happening had grown to the point where I was willing to die in order to save my sister and brothers from further harm; and - I was looking for a chance, keeping my eyes and ear out for anyone who would be willing to listen, to take action. Admittedly, I was a bit cynical.

For several weeks, a social worker had been visiting the house next door to ours each Friday afternoon; often parking his army-green Santa Clara County car in front of our house. When we did see him, he always said hi, but never stopped to talk to us. This went on for about six, maybe seven weeks, once a week.

The Friday after my birthday, my sister and I were in the front yard playing when he pulled up and parked in front of the house. My mother, stepfather, and grandfather were somewhere in the back of the house.

It was unusually warm, so my upper torso was bare. This time, the social worker said hi - but walked up to the fence and looked at us - then he asked "How did you get those cuts and bruises on your back and arms?"

I told him.

I told him how my grandfather had beaten us with his leather strop, the one with all the metal grommets, how he had burned me with cigarettes; I knew the social worker would not believe me - after all, no one else had when I had first tried to tell them, back when it all began three years earlier. It no longer mattered to me if my grandfather did kill me for telling on him; if it got my sister and brothers out of there, then it was worth it to me.

My sister heard what I was saying and panicked; saying over and over again to the man that "no, we fell down, we were clumsy, he's telling fairy tales, we fell down, we fell down."

Sad smile... looking back over the years, thinking of Peggy saying "we fell down" over and over again... what a red flag, hmmm?

He told us to stay put, and went to the house next door, the house on the corner and went inside. It couldn't have been more than two or three minutes before he returned. He told us not to say anything to my parents or my grandfather, and that we'd soon not get hurt anymore.

It couldn't have been more than three or four days later when the social worker and others arrived in two cars in the late afternoon.  I knew something was up before then, because my mother and stepfather were incredibly quiet - and because earlier that day they had packed clothes for all of us kids.  Peggy and I were told to go in the Danny and Leslie's bedroom in the back of the house while the adults talked.

A little while later, my mother - tears streaming down her face - and stepfather called us out to the living room, and told us that all of us children were being taken away from them.  Lester carried our luggage out to the cars, putting Danny and Leslie's luggage in one car, and Peggy and my luggage in the other - his face was drawn, and I saw him keep clenching his hands into fists, then relaxing them, over and over again.

My mother and Lester then hugged each of us - and for the first time in my life, I saw Lester cry. My brothers were taken to the car with their luggage and put inside; and Peggy and I were put in the other car while two of the social workers talked with my mother and Lester. At one point, Lester ran back in the house and brought out the cage with my pet rat, Homer, and put Homer in the car with me, and then went back to where my mother and the social workers were talking.

It wasn't long before the social workers got in the car with us, and I looked at my parents as I left - both mom and Lester were crying openly. 

That was the last time I saw Lester, my stepfather alive - he died years later, in 1994.

I wasn't to see my mother and my brother Danny again for another five months.

The social workers drove us to some kind of social services building in downtown San Jose, where Peggy and I were taken inside and examined by a lot of people, one of whom was dressed like a doctor. We were also asked a lot of questions about what was done to us. I was told that my brothers had been taken to a children's hospital.

Sadly, all of them seemed to have no problems at all believing me about the physical and sexual abuse inflicted by my grandfather and the pedophiles - but when I started to tell them about the cult, the "doctor" shook his head and said that I was exagerating in order to get my mother and stepfather in deeper trouble - and that I would be "smart" to stop telling lies. Once again, I was not believed by adults, and yet again, my skepticism was reinforced; yet again I received a hard lesson about remaining silent and trusting others.  Like my father had said years before, trust no one.

Late that evening, my sister and I were taken to a foster home; we lived there for nearly five months. Then, on April 20th, 1960, my maternal grandmother - Sara - picked us up from the foster home; she and Pop had become our legal guardians.

One week before my grandparents picked us up, my mother came with my brother Danny and a female social worker to visit Peggy and I in the foster home. My mother informed me that Peggy and I would no longer be living with her, and that she hoped we would "be good" for whomever we lived with. She then said goodbye, and we left.

It was 35 years before I saw her and Danny again.

In early 1996, my Aunt on my mother's side told me that she, both of my grandmothers, and an aunt on my father's side, had been trying to get the authorities to do something to get us kids out of that environment.

But, because of the legal constraints even then, the best they could do was wait for the social welfare department to obtain proof of the physical abuse, particularly since none of us kids ever revealed what was going on, even when questioned by doctors and officers.

My Aunt also told me that she had told the authorities that she was sure I was close to breaking, and that if given a chance, I would talk.

Thus, the Social Worker's "visits" to the neighboring house. It was a way to keep an eye out on the off-chance something could be done; that something would break loose.

...and it did...

Prior: The Cult, Layer 1 - "Nature" Worship Next: Aftermath - My Siblings: 1999

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Last updated: Saturday, 03-Jan-2015 18:10:03 PST