(9 PM – promoted by TheMomCat)
Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River. It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.
Today, my father would have been 93 years old. He lived to be 85, which is not bad. His dad lived to be 91 (passing away in 1968 or 1969), so I have some pretty good genes in my paternal line. My maternal grandfather died at about 55 from heart disease, but my maternal grandmum lived to 101 and a half, lucid until the almost the end.
Roy Willard Smith, my father, was born on this date in 1919. That year is also know for the first year that Ford offered an electric starter as an option for the Model “T”.
Before we get started, take a look at this picture that I took yesterday around 7:00 PM Eastern of hail that we got. I have seen larger hail, I have seen more hail, but I have NEVER seen it hail for half an hour without break.
Now for the family secrets part. I shall try to be as delicate as possible, but this is a very sensitive subject. I have given bits and pieces of it here before, but never a comprehensive account. Many families have had this situation, but in mine it lasted for years.
It is incest.
Yes, it is incest. It turns out that my maternal great grandfather was, and there are no other words, a criminal who was never prosecuted for having sex with his own offspring. It is unclear how many of his daughters that he raped, but it is very clear that he had two children with my Great Aunt Edna, about whom I shall write soon.
Mart Roberts Was the father of eight girls and one boy. The boy died at about two, but all of the girls lived into adulthood. He died long before I was born, and I have seen only a couple of pictures of him. The family did not talk about him much, which was odd to me as a boy, since everyone else was remembered often and fondly.
I did not learn of this until I was over 30 years old, because it simply was not talked about except behind closed doors and out of earshot of the little ones. I do not know exactly when it started, but can make some assumptions.
It must have started fairly early, because her eldest son was older than my father back when I was young. I am naming names, because all of the principals are now long dead. Lester Roberts was her first son. I knew him very, very well.
Lester looked exactly like Ednie (as we all called her), down to body type and moles on the face. Lester was a plumber by trade, and also drove the truck for the LP gas company. In Hackett in those days everyone had a LP tank, because natural gas did not come to town until I was around 20 or so. Thus, Lester was in high demand.
Being a plumber was also a good trade then, because everyone had their own well since the water system did not come to town until I was around 15. Pumps require quite a little maintenance, so Lester kept busy. Having a relative in the trade was a good thing, because we were always at the top of the list when we needed repairs.
Lester was physically and mentally fit, but her other son, Raymond, was not so fortunate. I only saw Raymond a few times because he was institutionalized. Every now and then my Grandmum would go to see him, and when I was little she took care of me during the day so I went as well. I do not remember him well at all, because I was really little and going to an institution sort of freaked me out.
For some reason he was in Poteau, OK. I do not why he was not in an Arkansas one, but he was not. It may be that he was there because one of his sisters lived nearby, but I can not say for sure.
Incestuous behavior is not as rare as one might think. Statistics are not easy to come by because of secrecy, but some estimates indicate that 11% of rapes are committed by either stepfathers or fathers. In addition, predators of this nature are not apt to quit the behavior on their own accord. Normally, it is divorce or arrest (or both) that puts an end to it.
This was also true in Mart’s case. He molested my mum when she was a girl, evidently one time and did not get very far with her. I did not learn about that until after she had died, and my father told me. He hated Mart, but until then I never knew why.
As I said, this is much more widespread than most people realize. The psychological damage can be extreme for the victim, and obviously the perpetrator has some real issues, at least in cultures where incest is taboo like ours. I do not intend to get into a discussion on the social aspects of the topic, but merely point out that men who do this are apt to repeat with other family members. Father daughter incest is quite different than sibling incest, which is more often but far from always consensual. Father daughter incest is hardly ever consensual because of the inherent authority that a father has over the children.
I know that this is sort of a down topic, but it is important. I suspect that more than one female reading this piece has been victimized by either a blood or step relative. I certainly understand if no one wants to mention the she might have been a victim, but if anyone wants to do so personal experience would give a perspective that I can not provide in the comments.
Well, that does it for tonight. I promise to have a more upbeat piece next week. As far as my recovery from my medical condition, it is still very slow but continuing. Part of it may be just that I am better at coping with it.
Please add any comment that you would like concerning growing up, and do not feel that it has to be about this topic. I enjoy reading about your experiences, and other readers do as well.
Doc, aka Dr. David W. Smith
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