Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Man in the Hat

My grandmother had finished high school and begun a job of some sort when her mother died.  As the eldest daughter, she discovered she was expected to abandon her job, which she enjoyed, as well as all hope of a 'normal' life, and to devote her life to caring for her younger sisters, her brother and her father.  This was made clear to her in a most graphic manner; the time was just before Christmas and her father took her to her mother's closet, told her that henceforth she would be wearing the plain clothes therein, and she discovered that her name had been removed from all the Christmas presents intended for her, and her that younger sisters' names had been substituted.  That is, at least, the story as my mother told it to me.

Grandmother had recently visited a friend in some small upstate New York village, and on the night of that day when her father laid out her dull grey future as spinster caretaker to her siblings, she packed a bag, sneaked out of her house and fled to the friend.  She never saw her father nor most of her siblings again, except for a sister named Daisy who tracked her down years later and who resumed a relationship with Grandmother and her ever-increasing brood of girls.  Shortly after moving to the village of her friend, Grandmother met her future husband and they were married.  Grandfather was a good man, the marriage seemed happy, and they ultimately had 10 daughters and a son, of which 8 daughters lived beyond childhood.  The son died shortly after his birth and two of the daughters died in the great flu epidemic of 1918, a year in which my Mom, the sixth daughter would have been two years old. 

For some reason, my Grandmother had a restless streak which manifested itself in an odd manner; every year or two she insisted on moving to a new house, usually within the same small town where the last house stood.  Grandpa apparently was unperturbed by this and his job didn't change; there was no apparent reason for these moves, at least none that my Mom ever knew.  Eventually Grandmother had lived in all the available houses in the town where Grandpa worked, and she moved to a larger village some distance away, while Grandpa remained in the town where his job was.  My mother hated moving with a passion, and at first remained with my grandfather, while her mother and sisters moved to the larger village.  Eventually she joined her mother and, later, Grandpa ended up in the larger village also.  I have never got a sense that there was any breach between my grandparents, and from tales Mom has told, they were people to whom others turned for help when someone needed bringing to the doctor or the like.  Apparently the local doctor in the smaller town where Mom spent her younger years called upon Grandpa so often to collect or return patients to their homes that Grandpa acquired the nickname "Doc" which followed him all the rest of his life.  I know Grandmother only from my mother's recollections; she died at the age of 49 , from complications of epilepsy the same year my Mom graduated from high school and when Mom's youngest sister was only two years old.

I suspect that I may have inherited my Grandmother's restlessness as evidenced by my desire, which is almost a lust to go someplace else from where I am at differents points in my life.  Had Grandmother lived in my era, I suspect her moves would have been to far greater distances.  A woman of her era was terribly circumscribed.  I don't think the impulse to move was rooted in a desire to get away from either her husband or children - there was just an intense desire to try some new place.  I completely understand this; I never leave things, really, instead I go to new things. 

When my father asked my mother to marry him, she laid down one condition: from the start they must own their own home.  So much had my mother hated moving all the time, she had no desire whatever to move ever again.  Consequently, my parents purchased a three-story frame house at 512 Goodling Street, an important north/south street in the city, but not so busy as Main Street or other commercial avenues.  This house had an apartment on the second floor which my parents rented to a childhood friend of my mother and her daughter Bunny who was my age, while the husband and father of this pair was off in the army fighting World War II.

So few men were at home during the war that there was a manless culture in the city.  My father had been denied entrance to the service because of his age, although he had tried to enlist; he had married at the age of 41.  This was a time when each neighborhood had its own commercial center, and neighborhood groceries were found every few blocks.  Mom tells me that so many young wives were living alone, with no one to babysit while they shopped for groceries, that it was common for a line of infants in carriages to be left outside the larger grocery stores in the commercial district which lined the avenue a block north of my parents' home.  Young mothers might come into the store and call out, "The baby in the blue jumper is trying to crawl out of the buggy!" or "The little girl in the pink dress is crying!" and the mother oif the child in question would hurry out to fix the problem.  No one worried about abduction or mishap beyond the normal type of mishap which might occur at home as easily as it would on the sidewalk outside the grocery. 

When I was three, my Uncle Bern who had inherited the family farm in Reedville, 15 miles south of the city, developed a severe heart condition which rendered him unable to continue the strenuous business of farming, though I believe that was the life he loved with all his heart.  His wife, Aunt Delia, was the quintessential house-proud farmwife, who dearly loved Uncle Bern.  It was agreed among the members of the family that my parents would swap their home in the city for the Farm.   Thus my mother, who had always been a girl of the towns and villages, came to be a farmer's wife.  She had hoped for a life in the city and she had hoped to remain in the house she and Dad bought when they married, but I never heard her complain about the new circumstances in which she found herself.  Late in life she said she felt it was much better to have raised nine kids - eight of them boys - on a farm in the country, rather than in the city.  For my father, however, it was a bitter disappointment.  He did not like the regulated life of a farmer with the never-ending morning and evening milking, the lack of time off, the lack of control over one's time, the endless round of planting, cultivating (i.e. weeding crops), harvesting and so on. 

Frequently Aunt Delia would have me visit her and Uncle Bern in the city; they were childless and they loved me very much.  Dad and Bern's sister Agnes (also childless) lived across the street from Aunt Delia, with her husband Mick who was a car salesman and who owned all the buildings on the short block of Opal Street between Goodling and Belhurst streets - the side of the block which faced Delia's house.  Uncle Mick's buildings consisted of three three-story houses which were broken into apartments and a long multi-car garage which looked like it had six parking slots - at least there were six square windows in the facade of the one-story wooden building.  Aunt Agnes was my favorite aunt and she adored me.  She was a wonderful aunt for a child to have, but she was a sore trial to any adult who knew her.  I didn't know it for years but she was a severe alcoholic, whom I think may also have been mildly agorophobic.  In a "Chap Record" I found at the Farm later, there was an entry that predicted she would end up tired and nervous, bent over a washtub.  Chap records were a fad, something like autograph books, only instead of containing autographs, they had entries by the owner noting each person he or she met with a humorous note as to how they struck the writer. 

Aunt Agnes loved having me to stay with her for short vacations.  These visits were very odd times; she was a weird combination between a fussy guardian and a permissive one.  She taught me how to behave and how to use every possible table utensil including shrimp forks and fingerbowls, without ever once giving any kind of meal except a quick one at the kitchen table at which I was never joined by anyone except my brother Gary when he was also invited.   Things not eaten at one meal showed up again at the next, not out of some form of punishment, but just because there it was and there we were.  Gary and I learned early that Aunt Agnes would not hear us go to the back door and throw things off the back landing - Mick and Agnes' apartment was on the second and third floors of the corner building, so uneaten food made a most satisfying arc as it descended into the back area below.  Often Gary and I would check on our next visit to see what stage of decay some of the larger bits of food had attained since we threw them. 

Aunt Agnes - or Aunt Delia, for that matter - thought nothing of sending us to the shops which were a block north of Opal Street between Goodling and Belhurst.  So long as we didn't have to cross a street, they saw no need to worry about our safety.  The only street we ever crossed was Opal Street itself, since the two aunts, who had a bit of a rivalry over my affections, lived on opposite sides of that street and I had to (and wanted to) see plenty of each.  On these forays of perhaps 200 or 300 feet, I was given all sorts of safety instructions: look both ways, don't dawdle, watch always for the automobiles which apparently were believed to lie in wait with drivers who neither saw us in front of them nor who had any other purpose in life than to mow down heedless children. 

When I was six and had begun first grade, I was visiting one of the two aunts and I had with me the money to do some Christmas shopping for the first time in my life.  I think I had to purchase a gift for the draw at my school at the local five and ten on the commercial block which had a selection of enticing toys on offer.  On this occasion Gary was with me, and we were allowed to go by ourselves (as always) to do our Christmas shopping.  The modern parent might think that my aunts were incredibly lax in their oversight, but at this time it would have been far more unusual for any child to be restrained from exploring his own block.  Children seemed to live outside on the local sidewalks.  We seemed to live in a world that cherished us; my aunts, especially Delia, from whose house Gary and I actually made our sortie, were actually more overprotective than otherwise, but protection of children in those days meant cautioning them about heights, cars, sharp objects and electricity. 

At the five and ten, Gary and I separated and he was looking at one side of a toy counter while I was in the aisle that ran the length of the opposite side of the counter.  Counters in five and dimes were generally like long tables; one could see across the store over them.  Those stores did not have the high walls between aisles which block one's view as does Walmart or other stores of today.  While I was looking at a bunch of hard-covered books on the counter, a man in a grey three-quarter length coat and a fedora-style hat - the winter uniform of any man in public in those days - came to stand beside me and opened a conversation.  He asked my name and age and if I went to school yet.  I answered everything truthfully and in a respectful manner.  Although I had been cautioned about dealing with strangers, I always imagined strangers as being men or women on the street.  This was in a store and thus the other constant injunction to always be polite and respectful to adults was in operation.  The man asked if I had any girlfriends, and I recall being a little confused as to how to answer.  I kind of intuited, even at that age, that the cool young man always would reply, 'yes' to this question.  I both knew and kind of didn't know exactly what was meant by the term 'girlfriend'.  I knew that it meant something different from 'friend who happens to be a girl', but I salved my conscience by recalling that I DID have plenty of friends at school who fit the category 'girl' so I said 'yes'.  I also was beginning to feel uncomfortable with this man - he stood very close and spoke in an undervoice.  He seemed so old, and his voice held something different from the jocular tone in which my uncles, or my Dad's friends, spoke to me.  I looked for Gary but he was engrossed in something in the next aisle. 

The man then went on to ask me if I knew "what girls like."  I felt a sort of sick fear slide down inside my chest to my stomach.  I didn't dare move away - he was a GROWN UP - and I didn't dare lie, though I SO didn't want to know, because somehow there was an aura of - not really menace - but sort of sickness, like watching someone cut open an animal, so I said, "No."  I never felt physically threatened, just a sort of horrified feel of the Earth shfting unpredictably under my feet.  I have since had dreams - though they probably have nothing to do with this incident - where something is very wrong, but all around me people are unconscious of anything unusual and are proceeding with daily concerns and I can't seem to communicate the danger.  This felt exactly like that dream.  The man proceeded to tell me a number of graphic scenarios, about bodily areas in girls whose appearance and purpose I wasn't really sure about.  I was in a panic.  I felt smothered by this man.  I desperately willed Gary to look up, but he didn't. 

Finally a sales clerk started to come in our direction - not because of the man, but because she apparently had business near us.  The man quickly stepped away, breaking the spell that had held me frozen.  Quickly I darted around the counter to Gary and whispered urgently, "Come on!"  I had already gathered a couple of gifts, and being the orderly and regulated child I was then, I felt I had to stop and purchase these before leaving the store.  The whole time I was frantic with worry that the man would return to me and I couldn't yet speak to Gary because for some obscure reason it was imperative that the store's personnel not hear me, but the alternative to making the purchases was to return each item to where I had found it (it never occurred to me to just drop them anywhere other than where I found them), and doing that felt far riskier.  It would have returned me to the man's proximity.  As we scurried home, I told Gary all that had been said, and I think it scared him too although he was always much braver than me and I really don't recall his reaction. 

When I got back to Aunt Delia, I told her the whole, word for word as I recalled it.  If you knew Aunt Delia, or at least knew how she appeared to me, you would realize the extent of my shock.  Aunt Delia was nice through and through.  Such words as I was saying are not ones I would EVER have spoken to any adult, let alone her, under any other circumstances.  Aunt Delia had grey hair which she wore in a bun, and wire rimmed glasses.  Her character matched her appearance - a grandmotherly, kindly, sweet, decent woman who thought only of ginger cookies and family pictures, not of getting girls alone and touching them in dirty places.  She was all that is meant by the word 'genteel'.  Of course she was shocked and horrified, and happily she did not for a minute make me feel bad or as if I had somehow done wrong. 

I don't think I was terribly marked by this incident, although I can still picture the man in his grey coat and his fedora.  I can't picture his face, though.  I became, perhaps, a little warier for a time and probably had a healthier - though not morbid - awareness of how to behave toward people I didn't know.  I never ascribed those occasional dreams I mentioned above to this incident, and even if they were a result, they have not been a serious factor in my life.  I think my relatives reacted exactly correctly - they were on my side, they didn't behave as if I had caused the problem, but I don't recall that they became markedly more protective, or stopped letting me go about on my own. 

When I was in my first weeks of college, about a dozen guys in my dorm were having a bull session and somehow the topic of these kinds of encounters arose.  All but one of us had experienced something similar.  My roommate (who had become a six foot plus basketball scholarship athlete) had actually been knocked down and fondled briefly by a man who used to watch his Little League games.  He didn't seem terribly harmed.  It seems to me that more harm is done by overreacting to these incidents in the child's presence, or by instilling terror.  I speak, of course, of boys, and of incidents that do not reach the level of abduction or actual sexual relations.  Boys know this behavior is aberrant and they don't like it at all, but they should not (in my opinion) be terrorized into thinking every man will do this sort of thing.  Reasonable caution, not vigilante gangs of men bearing torches and pitchforks, seems to be a reasonable response. 

I wonder, though, what was this man's motive.  He made no move to get me to go with him, nor did he talk about male privates; he spoke only of girls.  Was he a bitter and angry man who saw a happy boy shopping and who wanted to spoil the boy's confidence?  Is there a kind of thrill  in having a conversation like this with a frightened and unresponsive boy?  I never felt he would physically bother me (I could have been wrong), but I felt like my psyche or my view of the world or my joy was being besmirched.  I didn't feel targetted: I felt, so far as I thought about it, that any boy standing where I did would have been equally a victim.  I was very frightened, but not of being attacked.  It was like things didn't make sense for a while.  There was no order to things.  I think it is like seeing one's guardian or caretaker being drunk; where is the safe certainty of life? 

I am not complaining or regretting; I am more curious than anything.  What was happening from the man's point of view?  Was he mean?  Envious?  Destructive?  Turned on?  I like to know why people do things and how they see their own behavior, and I really can't fathom this man's motives or his reward, whether realized or anticipated.  It was never a big deal later in my life; I don't even know why I wrote about it.  I was just thinking of that house on Goodling Street and my times there and then I thought of this and it was something to write about.


  1. This post was fascinating David. You have an excellent way with words. Is this a real story with the names changed? Whatever, it is very well written.

  2. Absolutely true. And yes, I changed my aunts' and uncles' names though all are long dead. I NEVER write fiction (I'd like to, but I don't seem to be able to). Mostly I have tried to live my life as if it were a story - apparently even when I was six I did this...

  3. Encounters like that are scary to me, as a mother.

  4. Thank you for sharing this essay, David; again you have offered substantial food for thought.

    The individual who accosted you in the store was a predator. As the mother of three sons I feel contempt for the man's behavior, but as a person who desires to live a life of compassion I believe he had mental health issues. Thank the gods he didn't take his actions to a physical level, and additional thanks that you were able to confide in your family what transpired and that you had such thoughtful support from your loved ones.

    We hear and read in the media about other such experiences people have had, but the stories are far more impactful when related by people familiar to us.

    I used to have a dream of world peace and people simply getting along together, but have arrived at the bittersweet realization that it's a lovely dream which will not come true. There's too much diversity of experience in people's lives which leads some to the behavior you witnessed in the store all those years ago. For whatever reason, there will always be individuals who have no compunctions about victimizing others.

    I suspect that all of us have done or said things in the past of which we're not proud, but reasonably-well-adjusted people draw the line at such inappropriate behavior. I can understand how, years later, you still wonder a little why the man did what he did even though you'll never know his reasons.

    Our lives are a delicately balanced jigsaw puzzle of experiences--good, bad, and indifferent--and each of us assembles as we go and as best we can our unique puzzle, just doing our best not to go crazy somewhere along the way. Apparently the man in the grey coat wasn't able to do that, and what a dark and lonely life he must've led.

  5. I heard a comment the other day that there are so many more perverts nowadays. I'm not so sure. During an innocent trip to the post office in my tiny town the town drunk exposed himself to me. We were new in town and didn't know until then that Hoyt usually did that when he was drunk. I was in the fifth grade and I was afraid he would follow me home. My Daddy drove a bus but when he got home he was furious that this old guy showed me his tallywhacker, so he took my brother's baseball bat and went and explained to the guy that it would be a baaaad idea to do that ever again. Then later a cousin... Anyway, I think there were just as many back then - we just didn't talk about it! We had filters back then.

  6. Gaelic Wife - I did not wish to exacerbate existing worries, and I know that for mothers of girls, the concern for this type of behavior is multiplied. Based on my experience and that of my dorm mates, I would guess that the majority of these experiences are relatively mild as was mine, rather than the abductions and horrendous stories so beloved of the media. Also, I think that in these milder cases, the child emerges unharmed and wiser about which folks the term 'strangers' might encompass. The fact is that most serious predations are not those by strangers. They are by trusted people - people the child has been taught to trust - clergymen, daycare employees, teachers, and most of all, relatives, neighbors and friends of the parents. My advice is to take seriously a child's reluctance to visit Uncle Joe or to go to school or Sunday school or scouts, if it seems sudden and unexpected, and to gently find out why. Often a child has learned not to talk 'dirty' and in addition feels complicit in the activity. But I think it is very wrong to form a child's expereinces around the possibility of danger, which seems so prevalent a practice today. When everybody let her kid out to play, kids were mostly in groups and much safer therefore, now it is all playdates and carefully orchestrated events - kids are often alone and seem to have very little innate sense of self-protection.

    See below, Marge and MizAngie, for replies to your comments.

  7. Marge - I, too, have come to the realization that World Peace and all the good things are just pie in the sky. Everyone wants a bit more than his neighbors (or most do) and everyone wants to be right all the time.

    I pity the man in the grey coat more than I am angry or contemptuous. How awful to want something that will never be right. I don't think these folks have less conscience so much as they suffer strong compulsions; they may actually feel sick with fear and loathing after they do these things. As a gay person who had to wait so long before he found he could have a (relatively) normal life and lovelife, I know that the despair of believing you are doomed to loneliness and denial - and this at the most sexually driven age for boys - is a frantic situation. It is generally believed that most predators were themselves victims of sexual abuse when young. At some point a man (or woman) suddenly finds himself moved from victim to monster as feelings played out upon him become feelings he possesses. I do not think that any progress toward stopping violence, predation, abuse or other evils can be stopped by labelling them monstrous and inexplicable. That is not to say I believe in lenience - once a person has ACTED criminally, he should be punished and society must be protected. But if we see the predators, rapists - and the enemy soldiers - as people who possess some logic in their make-up, we might have a handle on more effective prevention. If all we want to do is 'get even' - well, we see where that has gotten us.

    Marge - I totally agree that this sort of thing is not more prevalent. As I say, i don't think the modest kind of encounter that my dorm mates and I experienced is terribly harmful parmantently for the victim - though it is extremely frightening. I suspect being bitten by a dog might have more lasting effect. As to the abduction or actual physical penetration by strangers - I think is was and is rare. The trouble is that it so sensationalized, and something that happens in maine is headlines in California - leaving the impression that it is all around us. I think if folks made note over a year's time of how many of these reports are heard in the USA, and then noted where they happened, they would find that the occurrence is very low and that their own area had one or usually none of these events a in a year. Yet they live as if the mob of perverts is at their door - then blithely send the kid off to Uncle Johnny or Grandpa or Rev. Sweetfeet who is WAY more likely to be a risk.
    I know your experience was terrifying, as was mine, but really, how badly has it affected your life. I don't excuse it, but I do believe in perspective. I guess your Dad handled it - I hope he merely threatened (which would be effective, since you knew whom it was) and did not USE the bat, because that, too, is a crime. And deciding that one crime is OK, but another isn't compplicates an already fraught situation. There WERE just as many back then; I get so sick of people acting like everything is worse nowadays just because the news and entertainment industies are so much more vulgar. I can't get over NBC making an entertainment out of predators, and I can't get over parents everywhere thinking that when a man responds to an INVITATION by a 13-year-old girl online (though he is very wrong), it is the same man who would snatch a 5-year-old into a van and rape him or her. In my opinion NBC is the predator and often probably lures weak men into a situation that they would never otherwise find themselves. I don't excuse the men; I DO fault the TV company - not only for entrapment, but worse, for creating an unrealistic atmosphere of fear. If someone's 13-year-old is advertising sex on-line, I don't think her parents' focus should be on how many bad men there are out there...

  8. Sorry MizAngie _ wrote that second 'Marge' when I actually was addressing you...

  9. You are so in luck, David :) Everyone said what I thought, especially MizAngie. My neighbor and I were talking about this subject today and she said she thinks there is much more crime and perversion today than in our childhood days. I disagreed. One, you have to consider the percentage of people today against the percentage of crime. For instance, 10% in whatever decade? All a wash in that case. I'd guess it's the same percentage. As for perversion, etc -- it's just talked about openly today and wasn't then; it was totally taboo or in the barest of whispers. Today we see it, or experience it, or hear of it somewhere else but we don't turn a deaf ear or a blind eye. Today we take a stand and today we have the wide wide world of the internet to make darn, doubly sure that we hear of every known horrible crime against man and beast. So there's the question, isn't it. Is it better that we have technology to "know" or is it better to not have it pushed down our throats to the point where a person thinks their entire city must be criminals/perverts lurking in every doorway? It begets a kind of fear that I'm not so sure doesn't multiply just because it's sitting so profusely in the public eye/ear. Uh oh, another dissertation in the works. I'll quit, but you get my point, I'm sure. You always do :D

  10. (geez, and I thought that was a short comment until I saw it post....omg)

  11. I do get your point and it is my thought exactly. It is like putting two locks on your door - you begin to think you need three and on and on. I am almost certain that there is no increase on these things. I have also gone back and forth on the increasing openness today - in my day if a girl had complained to a guidance counselor about molestation at home, he'd like as not call the folks and ask where she got such a crazy idea. And again - growing up gay - on one hand there are now people to talk to, but on the other hand, in my day, no one thought of or suspected it, so you had some time to adjust.

    I think the keeping indoors of kids is a huge mistake, though - socialization issues, obesity, lack of adventure, and on and on. When you hung out with the neighborhood gang, so much of this stuff was healthier. And by 'gang' of course, I mean in a Tom Sawyer sense, not a Bloods and Crips sense. But if your kid is the only one out there, the advantages diminish and the risks increase.

  12. TOUCHE! You are right on the money as usual :D
    You are just the bees knees! Are you sure we aren't related?

  13. Hey, saw your visit and I just left you an answer over there. Go back and read it. I forgot to copy and paste and I REALLY need to have my coffee ;)

  14. Thank you so much for the visit..I appreciated hearing from you. And, as with everyone who commented, I too have my thoughts regarding that issue.

    I will further say that you wrote it so well that I read every word and paragraph without skimming.

  15. Hope you don't mind my popping in but I read about this on another site and just had to read it. I am so glad I did. It is a marvelous piece. Though you didn't feel physically threatened, you instincts of self-presevation were highly alert.

  16. JennyD - I dropped in as instructed.

    Ramblingon - It was a pleasure to visit. I like finding new people to read. Thanks for the kind words. Hmm - keeping your thoughts to yourself - now THERE'S a concept I don't often run across...

    Terry - It would be rather odd of me to write stuff here in public and then to mind if someone read it. Are you kidding me - if I can get people to pay attention to me, I'll dance on the freeway. As to self-preservation; I am pretty sure most kids have a highly honed sense for that. People rarely give them enough credit - they try to do all their thinking for them. I rarely meet a parent or caretaker who wants to risk having a kid think for himself. And, just as they hope, sooner or later, most of them can't and find some kind of 'faith' instead.

  17. David, had to head back over because I thought of something. I have made a new name for you and thought you should be the first to know, lol. I am going to start calling you my BIB.....
    that's brother-in-blog. Fits like a glove. I knew we were related :D

  18. David, please forgive this off-topic offering; I landed on a site that I thought you might find interesting and have no other way to contact you.

    Here is the link:


    Fascinating stuff...

  19. JennyD - Better bib than boob. Which is what most folks say...

    Marge - thanks so much - I rushed over and dipped into one of his posts and I will be going back. This guy is really interesting. intelligent, a good writer and best of all - appears to be non-dogmatic about what he says. And I am not dogmatic about what lands in my comments either - although I prefer they not offer goods for sale more than a part of the time...

  20. Your blog was really great. You had me totally captivated with the lives of your grandma, mother and aunts.

    I had no clue the turn it wuold take though. It was interesting how you talked about your encounter being "dream like" and how you were "frozen" I know exactly what you mean. I have blogs coming up in the future that will unfortunatley go deep into that.

    It is hard to imagine what it must have been like back then, to have to give up your life, to take care ofyour siblings, even your parent. It sounds like she made a tough decision. I felt for her when you said she never reconnected with her siblings except the one. Making that choice probably stayed with her, her entire life.

    As a child, especially male, I imagine that was very difficult for you. Especially since you cannot put your finger on what the man's intent was.

    I posted part two today, since it was the anniversary. It was harder than I had anticipated. Oddly enough, not from my perspective, but the portions where I described what my brothers were doing. I think that is where the need to save them is stemming from. That and other bad things I let happen to them later that I have just never forgiven myself for.