Growing up during the 80’s was much different then the current times of helicopter, and soccer mothers of today. It was very common when I was a child to be left alone or nearly alone in a wide array of dangerous situations. I hear people saying that times where different then. That bad things didn’t happen then. I have to laugh when I hear that though. Maybe for children of adequate parents that was true, but not my experience. I was raised by a mother who would have traded her children for a six pack, and a step father who had some addictions a general failings as a human.
So it was that I was left everywhere. I remember a time I was left when I had to be about 4 years old in a cold car most of the night behind a dive bar. You see mother was inside partying it up and couldn’t be bothered to take me home. I was left to play outside the same bar on another occasion when I decided to walk to the busy road in front of the bar. That time I was lucky and some nice police officers returned me to the bar where I was made to sit at the foot of my mother’s bar stool while you guessed it she drank some more. The only blaring difference I can really recall is that there wasn’t child protective services to rescue me. Ok due to very little enforcement of the attrocities that occured largely they went unreported and without punishment. I was left with large groups of children. You might think that’s wholesome. Well maybe you haven’t read Lord of the Flies. My first long lasting trauma stems from being held down by a much older teen boy who encouraged by others held me down and covered my mouth. I was 6 when that happened and I still feel entrapped just thinking on it. There where other tragedies that occured back then also. One of the nicer older boys committed suicide on a swing by his home. He shot himself in the head. His mother really tried to believe it was an accident. Even at 5 or 6 I didn’t believe that.
Some of the worst places I was left at though where casinos. Sometimes for days, if we where lucky it would be a hotel room. I was alone until I was 8, then it was much worse because I was left with first one infant then two. Yes my brothers whom I loved dearly where a handful. In hotels I would have to keep them quite. In the winter months it was harder to keep them warm in a freezing car. When my father was winning I was allowed in the casino arcade. Those where the best times. I would wander the casino sometimes alone when my mother might watch the boys for a bit. I would ride all the elevators, explore the stairs and all the areas off limits. Sometimes I would find other roaming children. Sometimes an adult would talk to me. By the time I was twelve grown men claimed to mistake me for an adult when I would look confused when they hit on me.
None of my stories ends in tragedy like the one of sherrice Iverson though. Our stories are almost identical though in that we had careless parents. And in the same casino that she met her ultimate end I too had been left to roam. If you haven’t heard the story of sherrice she was only 7 years old. Left to play in the casino arcade for the day it’s reported that her father was made aware of his neglect several times that day, something that I’m not aware happened in my case. Anyway to the story at hand. Sherrice unfortunately found a couple of teenage boys to play with. For awhile it seemed harmless until one boy became a little too forward with the innocent 7 year old. This led to him waiting till she needed to use the bathroom, and he followed her. Once inside he became more aggressive. Due to her cries he ended the molestation by trying to silence her. And after a few attempts he finished the task by breaking her neck and leaving her in a stall with her feet in the toilet. When this happened I was 16 I believe. I had a son myself by that time and had not lived with my parents for a few years. It was on a rare occurrence that I visited my parents because my mom had also just had a baby. And it was with two infants in the car that after seeing the Hoover dam that my dad pulled into a casino parking lot. He told me to come in with him to do a little gambling. And because no one did it for me so many years before, I said hell no. I was not leaving my baby or my baby brother in the car. My father was very angry. But it was the first time I saw him for the weak little man that he really was.