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June 13th, 1968

To whom it may concern but most especially to mother, Marie and my brother Gary.

Before I continue I want to tell you about a terrible thing that happened to me three years ago when I was just eleven years old.

It wasn’t the first bad thing that ever happened to me but it was definitely the second worst thing. The very worst thing that ever happened to me was when my Dad died in an accident at work when I was ten. None of us were ever the same again. Mom was a nurse and she had to go back to work to make ends meet. It was going to take at least a year for the insurance money to come through. We all had to make some sacrifices, for a little while at least. My brother Gary was always mean and cranky with me because he had to stay home all the time to keep an eye on me.

Gary’s best friend, Jimmy Foley hung at the house with us a lot too. I was in love with Jimmy. My Mom said that it was just puppy love. She noticed how I blushed and got all flustered when Jimmy was around. But I knew in my heart that my love was real and that I would love him forever. I tried so hard to control my emotions around him. Gary said that I was an embarrassment to myself cause I was always making googoo eyes at Jimmy. The harder I tried not to blush when he smiled at me the worse it got. I have red hair you see, and every time Jimmy even looked at me the red would creep right up to my hairline. My Dad used to call me his little Irish Lassie. He was born in Ireland and moved here when he was a little boy. He told me that I was the prettiest little girl that he ever did see but now my brother said that was how all dads talk to their little girls and that I wasn’t very pretty at all. My Mom says that big brothers are a cross we have to bear and that one day we’ll be really close and that I was lucky to have someone to always look out for me and protect me.

But Gary, you didn’t protect me did you, not really? I’m not blaming you for what happened but I’ve heard Mom yelling at you and she said that you failed me miserably. Those were her very words , Gary.

Back then, just one day after my eleventh birthday I woke up in the middle of the night with some terrible pains in my belly. I had started my monthlies just a few months before so I thought that could be the problem. My Mom told me when the cramps got bad to take two aspirin and put a hot water bottle on my stomach. I did just that and went back to bed. But the pains didn’t get any better. Instead, they got much much worse. Mom was working the midnight shift at the hospital so I woke up Gary and asked him to call her. We were only allowed to call her at work in case of an emergency. He grumbled a lot but not for too long. Even he could see that I was pretty sick. Mom said to call an ambulance right away. She was pretty sure that I was having an attack of appendicitis. I had to get to the hospital in a hurry because my appendix could burst. My pain was getting worse by the minute and Gary climbed into the back of the ambulance with me. My stomach was hard and felt like it was about to split right open. I was more scared than I’d ever been before. I thought that I could die. I knew that my Mom would never have called an ambulance for me if she didn’t think that I was going to die too.

I don’t remember a lot about the next few days. My Mom said that I was in shock, She was in shock too. You see, I had given birth to a 4 1/2 pound baby boy. How was this possible? I thought that only married people who were in love could have babies. Thats  what my Mom always told me. But here I was, just eleven years old with a little baby boy. I’d never even done any babysitting. I couldn’t possibly be a mother.

It took a week of detective work to find out what happened and how I had managed to even get pregnant in the first place. I hate that word, pregnant. It sounds like such an evil word. I told her over and over again that I didn’t even know how babies were made. She said that a boy had to put his pee-pee inside a girl. I think that she saw the light come on in my eyes then. She wasn’t angry with me but I could tell that she was very sad and hadn’t stopped crying since the baby was born. I hadn’t held him yet but I’d seen him. Mom brought him in. He was so , so tiny with a scrunched up face and a little puff of red hair. He had to stay in an incubator for awhile. She explained all about that and started to ask me lots of questions. Before long the mystery was solved.

Jimmy was always kind to me. While Mom was working the night shift, Gary would watch Elliot Ness on television. Jimmy would play Snakes and Ladders with me and taught me all kinds of different solitaire games. One night he asked me if I’d ever seen a boys pee-pee. I said sure, “I’ve seen my brother’s lots of times”, I told him.
I hadn’t really. Mom always taught us to be modest around each other and we were but I didn’t want to sound stupid in front of Jimmy. He then told me that he had a magic pee-pee. I was definitely curious and asked him what was so magical about it. He told me that he could make his grow big and long and asked me if I wanted to see it. I told him, “NO”. Looking at people’s private parts was wrong. Even I knew that. But he said it was wrong not to see something that was magical. I was kind of scared especially when he unzipped his pants. But he was right. It was magical and it was growing right before my very eyes. I started to feel kind of funny down there….you know where. I didn’t like it but as I’ve already told you, I loved Jimmy and I so wanted him to love me too. He told me to lift up my nightie and and it would get even bigger. He started to hurt me then but he put his hand over my mouth so I wouldn’t scream. There was wet YUCKY stuff all over my thigh. He told me if I ever told anybody what had happened then he would cut off Gary’s fingers with his Swiss Army Knife. Gary wanted to be an airplane mechanic like my Dad and I knew he would never be able to do that if he didn’t have any fingers,

I fell out of love with Jimmy that night. He stopped coming to the house. Gary didn’t understand and blamed me for being such a whiny brat. I was happy that I would never have to see him again. He was in high school with Gary so I never laid eyes on him after that night.

When the full story came out Mom blamed Gary for not looking after me better and Gary blamed me for being such a stupid , gullible , little S…H….I…T.  I didn’t even know what the word gullible meant back then.

Things moved pretty quickly after that. The insurance cheque came through. Mom quit her job and I helped her to look after the baby. She said that we were going to move to a new town far away where nobody knew us. She was going to become a widow with a little baby boy and we could all get on with our lives.

We named the little boy Ryan after my Dad. He was kinda cute but he cried a lot. My Mom said that he had colic but would probably grow out of it in a few months.

An so here we are in a new city. My brother doesn’t talk to me anymore. He stays out really late and has turned into one of those disgusting greasers. My Mom works part time at a hospital nearby and the baby still cries day and night. At first I thought that it would be like having a new doll, but one who would love me back. Every time I picked him up he seemed to cry more and more. I rocked him and cooed to him like I saw Mom doing, but nothing ever worked.

He’s dead now. He died at the age of eleven months. The doctors said that it was something called SIDS. It was nobody’s fault. These things just happen sometimes, they said.

A guy came to our school one day last month and told us all about his experiences with drugs. He said that he had been addicted to LSD and marijuana. He said that LSD could give you good trips or bad trips and that using drugs had driven him to the brink of suicide. He had a bad trip once and nearly died and decided to give up drugs. He was going around talking to kids so the same thing would not happen to them. That’s kind of what gave me the idea to write this letter.

So everybody, I’m really sorry to do this to you. I know Mom, you might be sad for awhile and Gary, I know that you don’t care about me anymore but maybe someday you can forgive me and forgive yourself. Mom, please forgive me too. I’ve always tried to be a good girl but I’ve done some really bad things. I’m very sorry to the ambulance and police who will have to clean up my mess but I’m going to keep it all in the bathtub so you wont have to work too hard..

I want to tell all the girls out there to not be such a stupid little S…H…I…T  like I was. There’s nothing magical about a boys pee-pee.

Last but most importantly don’t ever shake a little baby so much that it stops breathing and dies. That was my biggest sin of all but I swear I didn’t know that he could die. I should have told someone what I did. He just wouldn’t stop crying.

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