The following is a true story.
I am sure there are readers who will not believe it can be, or will think I have embroidered or my memory is remiss.
It is the story of a little boy named Glen, whose life crossed ours when he & our son became friends when they first started school. He lived in the same street as we did, but a good few doors down the street.
We had just purchased a house in a nice seaside suburb, with a lot of modern houses, & many young families. It was a nice time of our life in many respects, & we made friends that we still have as friends to this day.
Glen had an older brother & a younger sister. I was aquainted slightly with Glen's mother, & spoke with her at the bus stop, from time to time. She was divorced, & worked, so her children used to spend a lot of time with a closer-to-us-neighbour who was a friend of ours, & who was very fond of the children & the mother.
Glen developed the habit of coming to our house after school, & he & our son played pirates, & Zorro & all the hero games little boys of that era loved to play. I made capes for them, and pirate hats, & masks to wear. I always made one for Glen too. They used our wooden outdoor setting of table & attached seats, as a Pirate Ship, & it also doubled as a Batmobile & various other useful vehicles.
Glen was a very polite little boy, & he loved to come into the kitchen & chatter away to me. His speech had a slight impediment, & sometimes he was quite hard to understand, but he would chatter away, & I would murmur answers as I cooked, not always listening intently.
Glen's mother met a new man, & before long, the new man had moved in with the family, & the children stayed home after school with the man, who, Glen informed me, "Is going to be our new Daddy". Glen didnt seem to like the 'new daddy' very much, & so he preferred to continue coming to our house to play, & would stay as late as he could. Glen's mother still worked, & the new man seemed to have a night shift job, I think. I told his mother I didnt mind Glen being at our place, & since he was no trouble, & he was good a good little mate for our son, he came as often as he could.
And that is when I first became aware of what Glen was actually talking about. He still came into the kitchen, still chattered away, & I still absentmindedly listened. But I began to hear that the 'new dad' was strict. That he made them stay in their rooms, he was 'not nice'. By this time, the mother had married the "new Dad", so his word was to be authority. I gathered the older brother had the hardest time of it, & Glen escaped to our place.
We moved about this time, into the inner city Hotel, & Glen cried when he knew we were going. He told me he wished he could come with us.
Imagine our shock, when we read in the paper, that Glen's mother had drowned, on a holiday on the wild West Coast, in a torrentially flooded river, supposedly during a 'comfort stop' on the bank of the river, while on holiday.
Then, after some months, the 'new father ' was accused of murdering Glen's mother. The evidence mounted, & police were sure he had pushed the mother into the river. He had forged an Insurance Policy, for a huge amount of money for the mother's life. He was arrested & charged with murder.
And while the police were conducting inquiries, they re-enacted the 'murder'. And a young policewoman drowned, in the same flooded river. It all seemed too bizarre & sad. The neighbour who had babysat the children was declared a 'hostile witness'. She said she knew the 'new Dad' was going to murder her friend. He had got violent, & used to threaten the mother, & the children.
The children were 'shipped off' to live with their natural father, who was not a well man.
The next chapter in the story seemed almost unbelievable. It was discovered that the new Dad had been interfereing with young boys, in his role as Scout Master. Fresh inquiries were conducted, & the father of 3 of the molested boys declared he was going to kill the 'new Dad'. He was a huge man of Island lineage, & it seemed he just may carry out his threat. The 'new Dad' was tranferred to a Prison further away down the South Island.
I kept thinking of Glen & his siblings. I kept racking my brains to recall the conversations & phrases from his kitchen chatter came back to me. I felt sick. I could see why children felt helpless, & didnt 'tell' when they were being abused.
Glen was a very sensitive child. He told me he didnt like his 'new Dad', but he also told me "Mum loves him, & she just wants to be happy, so we have to be good, & do as he tells us, no matter what." And, "He makes Mum cry." And "Mum cries when we dont do as he says. He tells on us when she comes home".
We wondered if 'new Dad' had murdered the mother because she had discovered what he was up to with the children. The neighbour friend swore she had found out. She said so in court, but was once more declared hostile.
The final chapter to the "new Dad's" story came in the Southern Prison. He was stabbed to death by another inmate. It seemed a fitting end.
As to Glen & his brother & sister, I dont know what became of them, but their natural father died. It just seemed to be too cruel a fate for three young children.
I often think of Glen, & wonder where he is today. He had the most beautiful brown eyes & a smile that could light a whole house.