Pride and Ignorance

Cissy Houston, like my mother, Gail, thought she could handle it. Cissy wanted to get back to her singing career. Gail wanted to get married and move away from her parents.

Cissy and Gail were ignorant of the ways of sexual predators, especially female ones. Society was ignorant, too. Cissy thought her children were safe with family, but two of them were molested by a cousin almost twenty years older. Gail thought I was safe with her mother-in-law, Frances, who sold and tortured me at the age of three.

Our mothers made other mistakes, overlooking any signs of stress or trauma, insisting “I know my child,” failing to ask important questions, preferring to believe that everything was fine.

Whitney had drugs, I have nightmares. Whitney has a documentary out, I published my story. Whitney had a big heart, maybe too big. Bobby and I remain here, with our stony fighting hearts. I see the Beverly Hilton from my office. I hope Whitney is ok.

Born as Prey

My new book, Born as Prey, will be published via Kindle Select and will go live on June 30, 2018.

Due to ignorance, naivete and stubborn pride, my parents produced me into a violent, child molesting, child pimping family. I did not escape being attacked, and split off at the age of three. I am now in my third year of recovery. It has been very difficult but I hope the future will be better.

I have published on Kindle Select so that most people, especially seniors, will be able to read it. I hope it will help others deal with similar problems.

MSM.1958

AARP Driving Safety Class

I never wanted to be a teacher, because I hate giving tests and equally hate grading essays.

Now I am teach AARP Driving Safety Class, and I like it. This week I helped ten people learn more about safe driving, and get a discount on their insurance.

I encourage them to take public transportation at least some of the time, but mostly they just want to keep driving as long as possible.

Safe driving to you!

 

In group/Out group

I recently read “Patterns of Culture” by Ruth Benedict. The book was published in 1934, and has a certain gloss which could not be maintained after World War II. James Baldwin asserted that this War obliterated the moral authority of the West; he may be right.

Dr. Benedict, an anthropologist, discusses the pressures of social rules which are many times arbitrary. Nonconformists suffer greatly when they fail to behave correctly by their society’s rules.

She also discusses the in group/out group division, which may go back about a million years. It was a popular topic in my political science classes at UC Irvine in the late 70s. We have heard many times how all people are programmed to react with suspicion to anyone different. This is a social construction, not a genetic trait, and seems to be more about protecting resources than people.

We can all expect some difficulty in becoming as one, in a rapidly changing, if not outright deteriorating, environment.

Peace!

Book Review: A Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo (2017)

This is a good, current book about war and religious conflict in several African countries, through four personal stories. The author is the daughter of Nigerian parents, raised in Alabama.

Among other stories, we learn about Eunice and Bosco, both abducted as adolescents by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. Bosco was forced to fight, and Eunice was given to him as a wife. Eunice herself was forced to cut off a woman’s hand, for working her farm on a Friday (which had been prohibited by the LRA’s leader, Joseph Kony, on alleged religious grounds). Eventually Eunice escaped, pregnant with her second child, and Bosco finally escaped and found her later.

Much to the horror of Eunice’s family, she chose to stay with Bosco. He had become protective of her and their children. In the social traditions of Africa, many women in Eunice’s position are helped by the families of their “husbands,” but their own villages, and the men there, regard them as ruined and unmarriageable. The women have to make the best choices available to them, even if others cannot understand.

The author does not pretend to have solutions.

Census Records & Human Error

Census records are valuable, but it is best to consider them carefully and find an additional source.

In my research, I found the 1900 Census taken in Livingston, Montana, was full of errors. My great-greatgrandfather, John Muncaster, was listed as immigrating in 1867; actually he became a naturalized citizen in 1876. The birth year listed for my great-greatgrandmother, Minerva Jane Davis, was wrong by four years. Her father was born in Kentucky, not Pennsylvania. Her daughter, Jessie, was listed as a son, and my great-grandmother, Beulah, was listed as age 16, when she was only 11 years old. (The picture was taken at her high school graduation in 1907.)

It is also difficult to research past history when the same name is used so many times! If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend putting the birth date next to the name, every time. My great-grandfather’s aunt, Mary E. Bellairs, who lived to be 106, somehow morphed into his sister on Ancestry.com, but I was finally able to determine he never had a sister.

Good luck with your research!