80’s Parenting


When I was very young and still an only child, under 5, my mother took me, one night, to a place very much like a present day Fun Spot. We went there a lot when I was little. I’d usually ride go-carts on my dad’s lap and there was an arcade and a ferris wheel. I remember it was dark outside and it was just me and mommy. I wanted to go in the outdoor ball pit, so I took off my shoes and my mom found a seat nearby under the yellow of year round carnival lights. The two little boys already there told me I didn’t even have to wear my socks in, if I didn’t want to. They were older so they knew.

When I got in the pit, the boys stood in front of me and pulled the front of my white and blue striped romper out so they could see down my top. I don’t remember what they said exactly, but it was something to the effect of “you have no boobs” and I said “yeah, I’m a little girl.” They let go of my shirt and I waded out of the pit slowly and calmly and then I ran crying, to my mom. I told her what happened and she grabbed me and went off looking for the boys’ parents–she never found them. I honestly don’t remember how this concluded, but I was so traumatized, I couldn’t wear any shirt without a throat high neck until I was at least 10 years old and I’ve always been weird about being “less than” in the boob department. No one ever spoke with me about the event and I never said anything about how it made me feel. I’d just get yelled at for having to be so particular and a “pain in the ass” about my shirts.

I was so young, I’m sure she thought I’d forget.

My mother didn’t keep me safe at a very young age and if I ever remembered this aloud to her, she’d tell me it didn’t happen.

It did. I was sexually assaulted by two older boys in a ball pit when I was a child and I have never spoken to a therapist about this. I know it’s not a big deal in comparison to some things that could have happened, but I was so little and scared and shy and I didn’t know what to do. I froze–I couldn’t fight boys–it didn’t even occur to me. I wish my mother was of the generation that believed in therapy and psychology and didn’t brush off everything as a phase. I knew I wasn’t going to grow out of the depression I had at 16 when I asked, through tears, to see a doctor.

Everything’s connected.

To celebrate the Cosby sentencing…

  • 2 older boys in the ball pit at Fun and Wheels when I was 4
  • an ex, David Gallagher, who hated me for breaking up with him
  • the guy online (possible statutory) who I only remember his AIM screenname, seventy7stitches
  • that hot, but gross friend of Donnie’s when we all hung out that day in his basement
  • a close friend/ex, Andrew Ammerman, who took advantage of me wanting to try a drug
  • that nerd I went on a date with when I fell asleep at his house. I wanna say Brian?
  • a friend, Brent Ginkel, when I was drunk/passed out on his couch