When Jalene turned 16, she was eager to begin dating. However, Glenn mandated there would be no dating until she was 17. “Dad”, Jalene sighed, “my friends are dating now and my male friends are asking me for dates. Please, Dad.” Glenn was adamant there would be no dating until she was 17.
With eager anticipation she counted the days until her 17th birthday. By then, she had several suitors awaiting that first date. The frequent outings with her male friends gave Jalene a reprieve from the beatings and challenges of her home life.
One of her admirers, Bob was on the high-school basketball team. He asked Jalene to join him and the other athletes for their annual, spring banquet. For Jalene, this was a special event, but she knew she didn’t have the financial funds for the “perfect” dress.
Only weeks prior, a neighbor had donated her previous, “after five” and prom dresses to Jalene and Louise. Sally said she was going to donate them to a local charity, but thought the Maher girls might have a use for the dresses.
At 12 years of age, Jalene knew it would be several years before Louise could wear these dresses. Out of style and filled with dust from being stored in the attic for a decade, Jalene realized one of these dresses was the solution to her fashion dilemma for the upcoming event.
She selected a delicate, pale, pink lace gown. As a skilled seamstress, Jalene made some modifications to the dress. It was now avant-garde for the 1960’s. After taking it to the dry cleaners, she believed she had a dress as stylish as any in the high fashion boutiques.
As she walked into the living to prepare for the imminent arrival of Bob, Uncle Don was sitting on the sofa. Jalene gave Don a quick greeting of “hi”, as she walked toward the door to step out on the porch when Uncle Don stood up, touting as he walked toward her of her beauty. Jalene shyly thanked him for the compliment, not realizing he was rapidly approaching her. Don abruptly slammed Jalene against the wall, grabbing her breasts and kissing her so hard it hurt her lips.
She struggled to free herself from his strong grip. When she had, she slapped Don so hard, his face was reddened from the smack. “Why are you doing this?”, Jalene pleaded. Don retorted, “Oh come on Jalene, your Mom and sister “give me some”. You can too.” Jalene was livid. How could the uncle whom she had pitied for his “hard knock life” be assaulting her in this manner? She pushed him away with strength she didn’t realize she possessed.
Her lipstick was now smeared across her face. Her skin was crimson and burning from stress and anger. She had to quickly gain her composure, as she heard Bob’s car in the drive. She grabbed her lipstick from her purse, hastidly reapplying it, hopeful Bob couldn’t detect the trauma she had just endured.
“Jalene, are you okay?” Bob queried, as he noticed Jalene was extremely flushed and appeared distressed. “I’m fine. I’m just anxious about attending this event with all your fellow athletes.” Bob’s calm and reassuring tone temporarily relieved Jalene. “You look lovely and we will have a delightful evening.”
Don’s affront lingered with Jalene all evening. Through her forced smiles, her heart was heavy with the anguish of Don’s actions toward her. When she arrived home and her parents were awaiting her return, Don was not home. “Dad, where is Uncle Don?” Jalene asked. “He went out for the evening. Why do you ask?”
Jalene understood she could not postpone the inevitable. She must inform Glenn of Don’s actions. What she didn’t understand is that just as she had been beaten when informing Glenn of Jayne’s adultery with Don, she would again be beaten.
Jalene tearfully relived the events of the evening while sharing with Glenn. As was typical with Glenn, as he was removing his belt, he exclaimed, “why do you keep lying about my brother, Don? You told me he was having an affair with my wife. Now you are telling me, he tried to sexually attack you.”
When would the beatings from Glenn end? The sorrow of having a father whom touted she was a liar was as emotionally painful as the physical beatings Jalene continued to receive. She was not lying. However, as a naïve 17 year old, she had no friends or family in whom she could confide. She went to the only person she believed would care; her father. Yet, it wasn’t to be. He didn’t care. He didn’t love Jalene and the continued beatings were his rationale for dealing with narratives he didn’t wish to hear.
I will be unable to blog for the next couple of weeks. However, please return and follow me on my journey of Jalene and the sorrows of her family.