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Part 5 -- Declaring My Independence

Part 5 -- Declaring My Independence

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Published by Sal Page

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Published by: Sal Page on Jun 22, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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03/05/2013

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Part 5:Declaring My IndependenceWell, the gods were with me for the rest of the trip. Jiggs didn't wake up until about a half hour southof San Francisco. I told him we would go straight to Smitty’s because there were people there whowere anxious to see him. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge about 5:00 p.m. and dropped down thehill into Sausalito. God, I was so happy to be home, even though we had no prearranged place to stay.We knew that Rich and Uta would be at Smitty's to meet us, but that was about all we knew. We parked the remnants of the limo around the corner from Smitty's front door and walked in the back. Irecognized three dogs that were hanging out by the front entrance when we drove by, so I knew three of the people that were in residence for the evening.When we walked in, Rich was on the front table shooting pool. He quickly came over, with a hug for me and a wrapped hand shake for Jiggs. It felt for a very brief moment like we’d never been gone.Rich went over to the bar and asked Danny, the owner/bartender, for a round of drinks and we sat downat a table by the front window. Uta wasn’t there because it was the middle of the growing season andshe was up in Humboldt tending their new crop.There were several people in the bar who knew Jiggs and the whole story of his Mississippi trip, sothey had plenty of questions. Shortly after he was arrested, Jiggs sent a “poem” to Smitty’s. I don’tremember the whole poem, but I remember the last line. “You bastards missed out on three tons.” Sohe established his celebrity status in Smitty’s while he was doing his time at Parchman.There were also several people in the bar who knew me but had only heard of Jiggs. I introduced someof them, but it turned out to be a mistake that would come back to bite me later. I was beginning tofeel a little edgy, because I could see it was going to be a long evening of drinking, and I was yet tolearn where we would be staying. I'd had a year of being in charge of my life, such as it was, and nowI was back to doing whatever Jiggs told me to do. I was filled with anger at my inability to takecontrol of my life.
 
Jiggs immediately got back into his wheeling and dealing. That first night we crashed at a house belonging to a friend of Rich. The next day we ended up in a temporary rental, an illegal apartment inthe basement of a house on Oak Street in San Francisco. The doorbell for entrance was hidden in thedoor jamb for the garage which was below the house. We were near the panhandle of the park whereall the Haight-Ashbury hippies made love, not war back in the 60s and 70s. Now, in 1982, Oak Streetwas one of the roughest areas in San Francisco. I can remember hearing shots ring out in the middle of the afternoon from my cave below ground. I was longing for the old hotel in Cleveland, MississippiTwo doors away was a grocery store on the corner, and I didn't even like to go there in the light of day.Jiggs got a job selling used cars across the Bay Bridge in Oakland, where his buddy Milt eventually joined him after his release from the Vicksburg Jail.I didn’t do anything. I told Jiggs I wanted to look for work, but he didn’t want me to. If I wanted togo out, I would go to the used car lot with Jiggs. During the time we lived at that apartment, Jiggs’violence escalated. I was the easy target for his rage. He would throw something at me, in oneinstance a full can of beer, hitting me in the eye. Then he would make me go to Smitty’s with himsporting a black eye. There’s some kind of machismo thing among violent men which requires thatthey show their buddies they are in charge of their women. For whatever he thought I did while he waslocked up, or for whatever his friends told him I did when he was locked up, he showed them that hemade me pay for it.Thinking about this all these years later, I find it difficult to control my anger just thinking about theway things were during the months we were together after we came back to California. As I think about it, I feel more and more rage welling up in me. This is the part I've been avoiding ever since Istarted writing. I have often thought that people who knew me would and should write me off as a lostcause hellbent on self-destruction? Why would I give up everything that was good in my life to bewith someone like Jiggs? The only way it becomes clear is to understand the following:
 
I was the middle of three sisters in a family with seven children. .My two sisters and I were sexuallyabused by our father. This happened back at a time when it was neither revealed nor discussed withanyone, let alone reported to any authority. His sexual abuse with my sisters and me was a secret weeven kept from each other until I was a student in college and spoke with my older sister only to learnthat she had suffered even greater abuse than I had.The abuse started when I was only nine years old, and it continued until I was entering high school. Tothis day I have an aversion to old, dark basements, because in my case that was where much of mymemories of my father’s abuse are most vivid. My father had his office in the fruit cellar, and our onlytub and shower were in a corner of the furnace room. The bathroom upstairs was where the washer anddryer were located, along with a homemade plywood hamper, 6’ long by 3’ high x 2’ wide. That leftroom for only a sink and toilet. As a result, we were relegated to the basement for showers or baths; a perfect opportunity for my father and his penchant.My father's oldest son was the only one of us who knew him as a normal father. Tuff was never awareof what my father had done. I was just as happy to know that at least one of us seemed to grow upwithout the scars.It screwed up my relationships with men almost all of my life. I never dated in high school, unless itwas a prom or something of that kind. I never had a boyfriend. I was attracted to older men, teachers,student teachers, married or single, it didn't matter. I had an affair with one of my teachers, although itdid not include sex.I've never, to this day, expressed true anger at my father. It's so difficult to do. He was, after all, myfather. I wanted to be able to love him as a father, and I wanted him to love me as his child. That couldnever be. I wanted him to be proud of my accomplishments. In my junior year of high school, Iauditioned as a percussionist at Eastman School of Music. I was accepted in an accelerated programwhere I would attend school between my junior and senior year of high school and the summer after 

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Sal Page added this note
87 days to retirement. I figured out what i"m gonna do. Throwing a big Pig Roast party, inviting everyone I can think of, all my music world friends, law enforcement friends, church friends, and outlaw friends. The following Monday, I'm truly retiring to my little cottage to just write stuff and play stuff on my Roland. Become a hermit with a smile on my face.
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Sal Page added this note
It was all leading to this chapter, and once told I felt light as a feather.
Sal Page liked this
Blue Fern Press added this note
Well, this is devastating. So well told as to be devastating. I want to hold the child and applaud the woman. You've shared this in a very palpable way. Thank you for letting us travel this road with you. It's a liberating ride.
Sal Page added this note
From agony of Jiggs to be followed by ecstasy of Captain Bob.
Daniel Essman added this note
I love your story so well and directly told, Sally...You are a natural storyteller. That's a gift. Your tone is very clear all the way through...
Sal Page added this note
It was the most difficult for me to finally decide to write, and it came spilling out. Much baggage magically dispelled. Thanks for your comment. Again, I see your comment, but when I try to respond directly, it says it's been deleted.
kathleen added this note
can feel the emotion through the screen

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