Letter from Ed dated: 10/24/2014 (Marie is Ed’s wife, Jeff is her son, Sally is Jeff’s wife)
Marie didn’t know much about the “beating”, because I didn’t remember them in the same contex as you did, or in any contex for that matter, and therefore didn’t tell her about those
I had told Jeff about being in jail, but not why or anything else in your blog
Sally knew only what Jeff had told her
Marie’s biggest fear was something like the blog coming out into the public eye and what it might do to us personally, so it wasn’t ever talked about PERIOD! A big part of my decision of when and how to reach out to you regarded Marie and how she felt. For me right now I can say I’m glad this is out. I’m glad you have taken the stand you have – Abuse of any kind in unforgivable- , but yet you are open to a possibly 2nd chance to see what can come of our explorations
We were at the movies when Jeff called Marie and said he needed to talk with her alone immediately, and so that is how your blog exploded into the spotlight. I’m saying this to let you know how much of a surprise all of this was for everyone. They had read almost the entire blog. Their immediate emotions were all over the chart: Anger, shock, uncertainity, disbelief and on and on.
Jeff and Sally were looking at the blog for the 1st time and were asking what Marie knew, how much she knew and what was true. Marie told them what she knew and when she came home told me that Jeff would be over in the AM to talk to me about what he had read and to have me answer all his questions. He arrived about 7AM and left somewhare around 10:30 AM. The next day, Marie and I went to Jeff and Sally’s to continue to confront everything. I sat and answered everything I could, as openly as I could, and as bluntly as I could. I told them I would take as long as they needed over as many visits they needed to answer everything they would ask.
As far as I know, Jeff has not read anymore of your blog. Sally did for awhile, but I’m not sure if she does.
This is the synopsis of how the discussions of “Who I was” went with Jeff amd Sally
The “Who I am” response came several days later in a e-mail late in the night. Apparently they had done a lot of talking about the blog, and our conversations.
The e-mail was very short. It said “We still love you”
I cried when I read it
My reply – composed in two parts:
The first part of this was written not long after I read your note – I didn’t try to control my feelings or my response, and the result will be immediately evident.
Are you saying you don’t remember beating me … ?
And, exactly what did you say to these people to explain my absence from your life for 30 years? You beat me, Ed. I didn’t want to be anywhere near you … No context for explanation to Marie, what context do you need? You were violent and out of control – in the note where you admitted this, were you lying? Are you now recanting? Do Jeff, Marie and Sally know the truth now?
Every single word on my blog is the truth. Every. Single. Word. I wish to God it weren’t …
And you were worried about Marie’s reaction – you violently beat your son, caused mental illnesses I will live with for the rest of my life, immeasurable pain and suffering to my family – and you were concerned about Marie, Jeff and Sally … ? Worried about the problems this was going to cause in YOUR life?
Dear God listen to yourself. All of this, everything is your doing. Do you ever think about what you’ve done – what has happened to me because of it? When does it stop being all about Ed …?
This isn’t about Marie, or how she felt, not in any way … this is about a life she wasn’t part of, something she should thank God for every day. You’re afraid I have enough printed, tangible information to destroy your life – I assure you I do, but you can relax, I won’t use it; I even held off on the blog for a very long time because I didn’t want to hurt Marie – enough innocent people have been hurt because of you …
You don’t give a damn about me, or what you’ve done … all you care about is protecting yourself, your life now. You’d like very much for me to stop blogging … That is why you contacted me now.
How could I ever have believed you’d changed?
This morning’s reaction isn’t much different, but here is your context:
The beating (no quotation marks Ed, it was a BEATING) in which I shit all over myself happened on Greenwood.
While you and Pat were at work, Elizabeth (my sister) and I allowed the neighbor kids into the house to play – in the process of running through the house, I ran into the open dishwasher door and broke it. When you found out I was asleep … you woke me up, brought me out to the living room screaming at me in rage. We had just trimmed the trees and the still green branches were stacked up outside the house – you went outside and got a particularly long one, folded it it half – still green so it was flexible, and proceeded to literally beat the shit out of me with it. I begged you not to Ed; begged you. I pleaded with you to tell me how many times you were going to hit me, you said, “I’ll tell you when I’m done.” Pat did dishes not 20 feet from us, utterly oblivious to my screams. You beat me so violently I not only lost control of my bowels, I couldn’t walk without pain for days. The bruises were scary as hell – and this is documented in my school file because one of my teachers saw them … I was so afraid you’d find out I told him.
The day of the church picnic – we still lived on 6th street so I couldn’t have been more than eight, but I think I was about six, when you shoved me to the ground for not walking fast enough – you were livid with me, marching me home with my neck pinched between your thumb and fingers … remember what happened when we got home? I do; after my bath, you beat me, naked, with your belt. You held me down and you beat me – a six year old.
More? Why not?
We were having dinner at Pat’s parents house … Butter had made zucchini which didn’t turn out – it was mushy and slimy and disgusting; no one liked it. But you forced me to eat it … I was like five at the time. Everyone told you not to make me eat it, but you wouldn’t listen. I gagged, choked, cried and pleaded with you not to make me, but it didn’t matter to you – nothing I needed or felt ever did. I told you I felt sick, that I was going to throw-up, but you wouldn’t stop – and when I threw up on the table, you grabbed me, pulled down my pants and beat me violently. Everyone there remembers this …
Do you need more?
This kind of thing happened ALL THE TIME. You were unspeakably cruel, Ed. Violent and sadistic. I would plead with you, sobbing, not to hurt me, not to beat me – and when that failed I would beg you to use just your hand – you always told me, no because you didn’t want to hurt your hand. You would drag all this out – you enjoyed the pleading, my fear, my pain, my anguish. And when you’d finally start beating me, I’d plead with you to stop – scream until I’d screamed so hard I had no voice left. You beat me until I felt sick and exhausted. And then you leave alone, traumatized. Cast aside … you were done.
Need more context? Want more background … I’ve got it. Just ask me.
Letter from Ed dated: 10/25/2014
It’s 4 AM and I can’t sleep, awake thinking about your e-mails vs your blog. It took me time but I realize there are great differences between how you write and how I write. You are 1st person, direct, focused, black and white and brutally honest. I write in the 3rd person, in allegories, and honest in a more indirect way. My manner of writing I can see frustrates you a lot. It is like Mare when I’m talking she is always telling me to get to the point. I find that that is hard for me and when I do many time the story loses it depth and meaning. But it works best for me, so I’ll apologize in advance.
I have been thinking that one of my favorite Plays , and recent movie, Les Mis, has much meaning to my life with Janet. I’m not good at character names, but I ‘m sure you and (my daughter’s name) can follow along.. I’m thinking Janet and myself.as the characters the ex prisoner and the woman’s small child. If I hadn’t stepped up to take care of Janet she would have remained in the State Hospital system and would have died simply a lost sole and her beauty and love cloistered from the world.
Janet, Pesh, has always been and always will be the greatest love in my life. Marie knows this and doesn’t even raise an eyebrow when i say this. I am truly sorry you didn’t get to know her. I felt lost without her when we took her to the hospital in Glen Ellen, I went there twice during her 15 day isolation period after her induction into the facility, even though I was told when we left her and again each time I came I could not see her, until after the 15 day period. Then for the next 4-6 years I was always anxious to go and see her, but could barely stay awake for the drive back home. It wasn’t until part of my first counseling sessions I found out my sleepiness was because I felt I was deserting her each time I left. I never got over that I just knew what was causing it.
Pesh grew physically and mentally in the following years, she learned to walk, help dress herself, be able to go to the bathroom by herself, because she was such a loving and delightful child and was picked out from the other 50+ individuals in her “cottage’ by some of the staff who worked with her one-on-one more than some of the others. One woman literally took her home with her to be with her and her family on weekends. Although she never learned to talk she could understand most everything being told to her. When the state decided, under Reagan, to release individuals out of the hospital into the community, she was moved into her 1st group home.
I digress, Janet always recognized my voice and lite up like a beacon whenever she heard my voice. She did that for her entire life, we had a bond of love that for me has never been unequaled in its depth of pure love. It was from her I learned the meaning of acceptance – not only of her but myself by myself first- the meaning of unconditional love, something like the unconditional love you have for your children, the joy of life without any encumbrances, where one is dependent on others for almost everything She was dependent on me for her physical well being, I was dependent of her for my mental well being .
Janet and I had a bond where I knew what was going on with her, in my heart, even while she was physically miles away from me. I would show up where she was when she needed me even if the hospital or where ever couldn’t reach me by phone. I even knew she had died 15 minutes before Marie and I got to the hospital on the day she died and said in my heart to her “Hold on we are almost there”.
I know some of this might sound a bit strange, but it is still part of who she is to me today. People out of love and respect to Marie and I at her funeral said very kind things, no one realized that for Marie and I she would always be with us – never gone and we were not sad or lost
My being part of her life to see how she changed everyone around her by her love and expressions of joy, is something that opened my heart to the chance for me to change and grow from what i was as you know me to what I am today. God was gentle enough for me to let me have her for 48 years. This may not mean anything to you in a black and white world, but it means everything to me in my life of who I am today.
We have a memorial to her here inside our home still today.
My reply dated: 10/25/2014
I am trying to calm down …
I don’t struggle with the way you write, I struggle with the way you think …
Yes, I’m brutally honest. I have to be. Had to be to get well.
You are not Jean Valjean – not even close. Les Miserable is our favorite production, we’ve seen it all over the world – in many different languages even. Can sing every word, read the book and the script – (my son’s real name) in the original French. It disgusts me to hear you compare yourself to Jean Valjean. Did you know Victor Hugo was excommunicated for writing that character … ? Perhaps if you’d read the book you’d understand a bit better what you are saying.
Your love for Janet is a wonderful thing, the best of you, always. But a more fitting tribute to her than your words would have been in loving and caring for Elizabeth and I in the same way. Had she not had the deficits she did, you’d have treated her no differently than Elizabeth and I, and she’d be in our shoes today …
I will never forget the day we left her. NEVER, EVER. I was heartbroken. And I was scared to death …. I didn’t understand why you didn’t just beat her – she had been bad, so just beat her and take her home. You didn’t leave us, Pat did that. I was confused and traumatized and literally terrified of what would happen to her there — it had to be worse than a beating or we wouldn’t be there.
This is what was going on inside me while you were worrying about ONLY yourself and how you were feeling. I don’t struggle with the way you write, Ed. I struggle with what you say. And Feel. And how you think.
You were utterly despicable, a terrible father … and whatever you have become, you still will not face my feelings or the things you have done.
When you can do that, when you are ready to do that, please let me know.