Tuesday, June 19

Far Stranger Than Fiction.

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.


Anne said...

Oh Meggie! What a story! You gave me a lump in my throat... And I'm sorry to say that I believe you remember it pretty acurately! There are cruel people in this world! Luckely I have never experienced the hard side of life, but I have had friends at school and from other periods in my life I knew was having a hard time... sometimes I wonder where they are and how they are doing, if there was something I could have done for them back then... I hope Glen is OK!

fifi said...


That is so horrible.
I hope he died slowly.

Wish you knew where Glen was.

Tanya Brown said...

Oh, my. I'm so sorry. In some ways this is the oldest story in the world, but it's always gut-wrenching.

I'm not surprised that Glen's "new Dad" came to an unpleasant end. Evidently pedophiles aren't well-liked in prison. Fellow inmates tend to "deal with them", shall we say, while guards look the other way.

A great deal has happened during the last thirty or forty years. There's less of a stigma from being a victim of child abuse than there once was. Such cases are made more public, and the victims are encouraged to not feel at fault or ashamed.

What I'm going to hope is Glen (and his siblings) have absorbed some of this thinking and that the sad little children within have gotten to heal a bit.

mereth said...

Your story made my blood run cold, how do men like this end up deceiving women and worming their way into families, just to ruin them?
I bought up my three boys entirely on my own and regret they didn't have a father figure, but stories like that make me think they weren't so bad off....
Check out my blog for a post I think will make you smile!

meggie said...

Anne, I could scarcely believe it when I found out. The abuse was only discovered by 'accident'- a chance remark made my one of the scouts.
Fifi, I hope Glen went on to have a nice life. He was such a sunny little boy.
Tanya, I hope in my heart, that by coming to visit us, Glen avoided the worst, & I like to think he was too talkative, to be targetted. Those creeps pick their victims very carefully. The family friend, who was hostile witness, always felt 'new dad' chose the mother as a means to get to the children.

caramaena said...

Oh Meggie, how sad. I too, hope Glen had a good life.

Guðrún said...

People who hurt children no matter how they do it, deserve the worst.

Nice picnic set you got in the mail, lucky you.

Stomper Girl said...

These people who harm children. What goes ON in their brains? It's just not right. I hope Glen grew up okay.

Anne said...

Such a sad story - the poor family losing their mum like that and who would know what they had endured over the years. Here's hoping Glen came out of this ok - maybe one day you may be able to track him down.

Aunty Evil said...

These kind of people sicken me. Poor Glen. I hope he grew up happy and healthy and didn't let this affect his relationships or the way he views the world.

Kids so deserve a better start in life than that.

Sheila said...

A sad story and one that is all too common. I worked with a man, who always seemed to pick girl friends who were single mums with young boys, and one day he was arrested and charged. One of the boys involved late tried to take his own life. I would feel sick when I thought about it, and remember the times I had proudly and innocently shared photos of my young grandson.
The man you described deserved all he got. I hope Glen grew up and was able to make something of his life.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

What an incredibly sad and tragic tale. I pray that Glen and his siblings have found peace and love in their lives, but so often stories like this don't have very happy endings... I hope there are three exceptions in this case.

ancient one said...

So sad! No one really knows what goes on in the homes all around them. Tragic!!

ancient one said...

Meggie, you have become one of my favorites... I have gone back to your first blogs and started reading. You are definitely an artist. Your dolls, bears, and quilts are outstanding!! ~later

MargaretR said...

What a sad story Meggie, but so sensitively shared with us. I will always wonder with you what happened to those poor children.

Isabelle said...

Goodness, as everyone has said, how terrible. Children are so vulnerable, and trusting.

I've been away or busy and am just catching up with my favourite blogs. Much sympathy for all your travails. It never rains but it pours - literally, in this case. Hope the sun comes out soon - literally and metaphorically.

Your dogs look lovely, by the way!! I like some dogs; it's just that I'm scared of big snarly ones.

mjd said...

How very sad. We have an abusive neighbor; fortunately, his ex-wife and children are no longer with him. He does have a live-in girlfriend, or maybe they are married. I worry fo her.

anne bebbington said...

Sadly child abuse is a very real and present threat in society - my own uncle is in prison for life for carrying out some horrendous stuff, fortunately I was only very mildly affected as he had very limited access to me but my aunts, uncles and cousins were less fortunate - I suppose all this does tend to colour my judgement but I'm a firm believer in either the death penalty or absolute life imprisonment for such evil people as I do not believe they can ever be cured. Sadly in the UK it seems you will recieve a longer custodial sentence for commercial fraud than for child abuse - what value does society put on the lives and innocence of children - as you can imagine I am very watchful over my three!