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Keep it real Wednesday

July 1, 2020


As many of you may know, like many of the elderly, Rosemary suffers from poor eyesight and hearing. These barriers will often cause people to feel isolated, so I try diligently to update her often with current events. Lately, the current events have been mainly about the virus but recently I tried to share some other news.  We talked a bit about the presidential elections coming up in November and her feelings about both Trump and Biden as men of influence and some of the accusations against them both.  She became very solemn and asked if she could share a story.

Her speech slowed down and her eyes welled up a bit and she shared…

At age 7 or 8 years old (1933 or so), she was walking with a friend in downtown Cleveland and a man in a large and long trench coat interrupted their path on the sidewalk.  This stranger faced these 2 little girls, towering over them in stature and height, and opened his trench coat to fully expose an erect self. The girls were so taken back and too scared to run so they just stood there for what seemed like forever until one of them broke the trance of shock and horror and grabbed the others hand and ran.

Rosemary ran home as fast as she could and promptly told her mother all about it this terrible occurrence.  Her mother called her cousin, who was a police officer in Cleveland, and they were able to arrest the man in the trench coat.

The police then asked Rosemary’s Mother to bring Rosemary to the station to identify the man.  My grandmother refused. She said that her daughter had been traumatized enough and she was not going to further traumatize her. She said to her cousin in the police department “We did our job by reporting it, now you do yours”.

I don’t know what the outcome was for this man.  Was he formally charged?  Did the small and supportive Irish community just handle things outside of law enforcement?  We will never know.

I reflected on this story on how it must have impacted her life.

I thought about the trust my mother had with my grandmother in knowing she would handle the situation when she ran home and told her.

I thought about how brave my Grandmother was to refuse a 7-year-old child from participating in a lineup of her sexual perpetrator and other creepy looking men.

 I thought about the police department and how their hands must have been tied to follow through with charges without proper identification by the victim.

I thought about the perpetrator who found joy in exposing himself to children and if there were other victims.

Most of all, I thought about #metoo – the vast number of women through the ages who have experienced sexual assault at some level at some point their lives.

I didn’t know my mother was one of them.

She was brave, she was strong, she told, and she shared.


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