I have lived with things that haunt me, things that were done to me, which I have hidden and kept secret. Very little of it have I told anyone and never to a friend.
I did once come across some people who dealt with abuse and after much mental anguish I wrote them. They told me that they didn’t work in the state of Illinois and gave me the name of someone who did. But, after having pushed so hard to confide in them, and then not everything, I just couldn’t do it. I forgot about the recommendation and buried everything away again.
I have fought with myself mentally now for more years than I care to admit. The abuse I will recount took place in the 1960s when I was a reluctant student at the Glenwood School for Boys. I was there for one reason—my father had died and my mother couldn’t earn a living and take care of four boys at the same time. So two of us were shipped to the school. We weren’t rich, we were charity. But everything comes with a price, and what my mother didn’t pay in cash, I paid in pain, suffering, and mental torment for decades.
In the end I could no longer look my family in the face and disappeared from their lives, to a large extent. I was alienated from my mother who I felt allowed this to happen. And I felt as if I had betrayed my brothers as I was unable to protect them. I was the oldest and I felt it my duty to save them, but I couldn’t.
I spent my childhood in fear. In fear of abusive adults and bullying boys my own age. And worse yet, the bullies at the school were encouraged. The way the school organized student life gave the bullies power and allied them with the administration. It was a nightmare. The bullies were the favored students in an authoritarian structure and they had the power to treat you as wished—as did the adults, though not all of them. And they way the system worked there was no where to go, no one to speak to. I know. I tried.
There is no chance that what I recount here will be done systematically. It will be my opportunity to “tell the world” the truth about my childhood, even if I am the only one who will ever read it.