Part Five in the series. The year was 1962.
Song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5miIR3Iv6MA
One night as this thirteen-year old girl lay on her Hollywood sofa-style bed she blew pink bubbles with her gum and scribbled the following letter:
Dear Mr. DJ,
I listen to your station all the time!! I just love, love all of the songs you play. I was wondering why all the songs you play are about girls named Donna, Carol, Cathy, Sue or Marie. Why doesn't anyone sing a song about Sheila? Could you please ask them to? I'd really, really love it if someone would.
Your faithful listener,
At thirteen I was a hopeful, romantic young girl. Like so many other litlle girls I dreamed of becoming Miss America some day. I had already written a book, so finding some kind of talent for a beauty contest didn't seem unreachable. Just like other kids my age, I wanted to fit in with the "in-crowd". I never would, but I had hopes and dreams.
I kept a diary, like most girls, one with a lock and key. Most probably it was bubble gum pink with hearts and flowers and cool pictures of telephones. It was the place where I wrote about my crushes and hopes and dreams for the future. It was my private world.
I got my first bra that year (not that I needed one) but hey, everyone was wearing them in 7th grade. I hated mine. What irked me, was the flat, no cup stretchy thing, the so-called "beginner bra". Yeah right, as far as I was concerned it was the begining of the end at my shot at boobs. I was convinced it held me in, instead of allowing them to grow. I suppose it's main purpose was twofold; to make sure those small "buds" were being controlled, and also gave boys the opportunity to snap the back of it, one of their favorite pastimes.
Within my 7th grade junior high school circle of friends, we girls took to wearing necklaces with a gold basketball charm hanging from it. It was supposed to symbolize our "cherry", the fact that we were virgins. I don't think we really understood much about what it meant, only that it was what the "cool" girls all wore.
February 22, 1962, George Washington's birthday. I had a babysitting job for a Colonel's family. They had two children and it wasn't my first babysitting job with them. The kids were no trouble at all. After their story time and an ice cream cone they both went to sleep.
I would have rather been at the Teen Club, now that I was old enough, but since I couldn't I did the next best thing; I called the phone number. You never knew who would be answering the phone, but when it was Larry B. I was happy someone I knew was there. He was a few years older than me, but we knew each other.
"Hey...what's going on there?"
"Who is there tonight?"
"Well...it's really quiet, just me and Buzz, shooting some pool...nothin' much really. Where are you?"
"I'm babysitting about three blocks away. The kids are asleep so I'm bored."
"Want some company?"
Hm-m-m-m, the Colonel and his wife said they'd be gone until about midnight...it was only nine. "Okay, for a little while." Cool, two of the most popular, older guys wanted to come hang with me!
A few minutes later the doorbell rang. I got up from the couch, straightened up my magenta plaid skirt and let them in, "Hi!"
The two guys went straight into the kitchen and began opening the cabinets, presumably for a snack. "Hey guys...what are ya' lookin for?"
"Where's the booze?"
"I don't know. Hey...if you want a Coke or something I know where those are."
"Nah...nevermind." Buzz slammed the cabinet door shut. Buzz whispered something into Larry's ear. Both of their faces lit up..."Let's go see what's on tv."
Relieved to have them stop the search I led them into the living room and sat down on the couch next to Larry. Buzz reached up and turned off the lamp. I reached up and turned it back on. He turned it off and laughed.
"Hey, leave the lights on you guys." By now both of them were up and going around the living room shutting off the lights. I was getting mad. "Stop it."
Larry lunged for me, trying to kiss me. He grabbed my arm as I turned away, pulling me back and holding me close to him. "I got her." He said to Buzz, as he pushed me down on the floor, pinning me down with his knees and covering my mouth with his.
I struggled, but he was much larger than me, and way stronger. I was aware of Buzz slamming cabinet doors again. I felt Larry pulling my skirt up, panic set in. I struggled harder to get him off of me, rolling side to side, one of his hands muzzling me. There are two small children asleep down the hall...please God don't let them walk in I prayed.
"Goddam it Buzz, she's a fighter. Come help me for crissakes..." Buzz came back into the room, knelt down, grabbed my arms pinning them with his knees and took over covering my mouth. Larry unbuckled his pants and pulled down my underpants.
That's when I knew what was going to happen and the tears began to snake their way down my cheeks. I pleaded with my eyes..."Don't do this." I fought harder to keep pulling my legs together.
"Goddam it...she's tighter than a drum." Simultaneously when I heard those words I felt the weight of him on top of me, then in one big thrust he ripped into me. The pain...the tears....and then it was over. I think I may have blacked out for a moment.
I lay there crying, whimpering as they scrambled up, leaving me laying there.
"Shut up...and get dressed before somebody sees you." Larry said as he zipped up. I sat up and pulled up my underwear, still feeling pain, but wanting to get them out as soon as I could. I stood up and straightened my clothing, wiping the snot and tears on my hand.
"Let us out the back door." Silently I walked them to the door, shaking like a leaf, hoping they wouldn't touch me again. Buzz grabbed a bottle of whiskey he had left on the counter as I opened the back door. Buzz went out first. As Larry walked out he turned back to face me, reached out and grabbed my necklace pulling in a hard jerk until the chin broke broke. "I guess you won't be needing this anymore. You breathe a word of this to anyone and we'll kill you. Understand?"
I blinked back more tears and nodded yes, then slammed the door and locked it. I felt dirty, ashamed and scared. Immediately I went to check on the sleeping children, they were blissfully unawares, so I continued on to the bathroom. I got a wash rag and ran it under the cool water...I was in some pain but when I pulled down my panties and saw blood I got ill. I scrubbed myself hard...the pain was nothing compared to what I was feeling inside. I was shaking when I looked up into the mirror. It really hit me then and I realized Larry and Buzz had just taken something from me I may never recover; my innocence and trust in men.
That night as I lay in my bed listening to my radio a singer, Tommy Roe, had finally reached out to answer my letter.... "Sweet little Sheila you'll know her if you see her....." Only it was too late, the little girl who wrote that letter was gone, forever.
By Easter of 1962 I was allowed to wear my first high-heels and the color black. Thrust into an adult world, I think I had every reason to look tentative in this picture. I was still holding in the "secret".
The past can be a weight around your ankles or a stepping stone to better things. You make the choice.