I knew something was wrong. I was supposed to spend the night at the rectory. The reason for the stay has long ago left my mind. Instead of getting on the East Stroudsburg School District bus in front of Notre Dame that would take me to East Stroudsburg High School to allow me to transfer to the bus that would take me up state highway 402 to Hemlock Farms, I boarded the bus that would head to Brodheadsville. Pleasant Valley School District emblazoned on the side of the bus. It would drop me off at the Our Lady Queen of Peace Church.
Stepping off the bus, I walked across the street to church property. I approached the trailer and knocked, no answer. I went to the church but it was also locked. I looked for his car, it was not there. My initial thought was that he was detained somewhere so I would just wait. He would be back soon. I started doing my homework on the steps to the trailer. Time went by and it began getting dark. I was growing more concerned because I was not from this area. My home was 45 miles or so north of Brodheadsville. Did I have the right night? Was I supposed to be here? Where was he? Had he forgotten about me? My mother was going to be furious if she had to come all the way from Portage Lane to get me. I am sure I would pay for this all the way home and for weeks later. There was a pay phone across the street. I needed to make a call. Checking my pockets and book-bag revealed that I had no change. The 15 cent call was beyond my grasp. I dialed “0” for operator but it required the change to connect. I tried an emergency number, but you could only connect the call by having the coins slide into the coin slot. (it was 1974, and the phone technology was limited) The phone was useless to me. It was getting darker and the only light I had was on the telephone pole. You know the kind of light fixture you see on rural roads near business or barns. Large, white and insulting to the darkness of a moonless Pennsylvania night. I was getting cold and very nervous about my situation.
Around 8:30 pm, about 5 hours after the bus dropped me off, an older couple was driving by and saw me standing there looking agitated. They had seen me earlier but thought nothing of it. They stopped and asked me if I needed help. I told them that I was supposed to stay at the rectory and that I did not know where Father Gibson was. They were parishioners of the church and knew Father Gibson. They took me to their home and started making phone calls. Finally, near 9 o’clock, contact was made with Father Gibson. The gentleman who had picked me up wanted to call my parents and have them come get me. I did not want to call my mother because of the trouble it would bring. The woman decided to take me to the rectory. There was an animated conversation between the couple as she loaded me in the car for the 5 minute ride to the rectory.
When I arrived, Gibson seemed a little out of sorts. He had glazed eyes and was not really finishing his sentences. I knew this look. My father was an alcoholic. My mind began normalizing all that was happening. Reinforcing that all men of a certain age dove into a bottle at the end of the work day (or before their work day, during their work day or instead of their workday). I could handle it. I would just be quiet, go to bed and let him sleep it off. At least I was inside and had a small single bed in a tiny room in the trailer to hide in. I was relieved that I would not have to tell my mother anything about the events of the evening. He started by offering me a drink. He had juice, soda and iced tea. I opted for the juice. I noticed that it tasted a little strange but thought nothing of it because it was not the brand my mother would buy. I really wanted to go to bed but he was pretty insistent on talking about what had happened and watching TV. He said he had loss track of time and how sorry he was. He kept asking me to not tell anyone. That was the first time he made that request. There were many more to follow. He offered me more juice. I accepted. I was starting to feel a little odd. I rationalized that it was a rough night and that I was tired. I finished the juice. He was quick to refill the glass. I really just wanted to go to bed. I was suddenly very tired. “Here, this will help you sleep” . I drank about half the glass and then things went foggy.
I woke up in the small room. My clothes had been removed. I was somewhat aware of my surroundings, but everything was a little out of sorts. I could hear him walking around the trailer. I heard him come into the room and I felt his weight on the bed as he began to rub my back. I was not able to move and at first the contact was comforting. I thought I just was coming down with a bug. Slowly it dawned on me that he was also undressed. His hands ranged over me and I knew that this was not what I wanted. I could not move, I could not make any noise. I could tell that there was something really wrong about all this. He whispered to me that I would be better in the morning and that he would take care of me. He rolled me over on my back and I could tell that he was erect. I did not understand all of what was happening at that moment. He masturbated over me. At some point I passed out again.
The next morning I woke up in my underwear on the bed. The sheets were different. I showered, dressed and wondered what the hell had happened the night before. Did I dream all of it? He acted completely normal, offering to stop at the bakery on the way to the school. As I left the trailer I noticed two empty bottles of Vodka on the kitchen counter. I remember getting into his green car (I think it was an Oldsmobile). He was very chatty, I was completely the opposite. Did I imagine everything? Looking back, to a naive 13 year old who had not discovered much about sex at that point, my memories far exceeded my knowledge of masturbation at the time.
He pulled into the parking lot at school and wished me a good day. As if nothing was out of the ordinary. He told me to go in, he would follow in a few minutes, he had some papers to look over in his car. I walked into school in a daze, I was completely off balance.
That was the first descent into hell for me. It would not be the last. On that morning my innocence and my soul started to be destroyed. Everything changed, nothing was ever going to be the same again.