The Childhood chapter is largely about Ray Gustafson beating me until I was covered with bruises and suffocating me as well. That is most of what I remember about Ray except for the quasi-rape incidents. This chapter, Early Ray, covers the latter incidents and fills in some of the gaps.
I've tried to assemble positive memories. There aren't very many. I'd like to see and present a balanced picture and others are invited to help with that.
The picture is negative so far, but it isn't an indictment. It's more that it's sad I wasn't real to my brother. I'd like to sort out how the pieces fit together regardless.
The Old Coder, an associate, says that people are simply animals and that such good as comes from them is accidental and no sign of an inner light. The pack is the thing. It's normal for most people to seek to hurt others who they don't perceive to be in their pack.
I don't agree that there is nothing more to people. But it's true that Ray didn't see me as being in his pack.
Ray was 4 years older. 4 years is a huge difference when you're small. However, I felt that I was a curiosity to him as opposed to a Little Brother to be protected or even valued.
Ray did save my life on one occasion that's described below. However, I was there mostly for him to take things out on.
Hurt the Baby:
My cousin Heather, who baby-sat us, says that Ray used to go in and pinch me when I was a baby. That's a little disturbing. I haven't heard of such a thing before, I don't think.
Ray was only about 4.5 years old at the time. So, it's difficult to say what might have been in his head. But he was old enough to know that he was hurting a baby. It wasn't an auspicious start.
When we were young, Ray wasn't what I'd describe as respectful of boundaries.
When Ray was age 12 and I was age 8, Ray became obsessed with his body. He often described his penis and sometimes he made drawings of it.
Ray once put his hand over my face and said, “What does that smell like?”
I said I didn't know. He said it was his balls. It's a bit funny in retrospect, but I was left speechless and disturbed at the time.
As Ray Gustafson moved into adolescence, his behavior became more crude. Eventually, it crossed the line into sexual harassment and the implied threat of rape.
One time when I was about 11 years old, Ray held a piece of hair in his hand and showed me. He said, “This is my pubic hair. I'm going to put it in your mouth.”
I tried to run, but I couldn't get away from him. Ray Gustafson was a trained wrestler, 4 years older, and physically close to being an adult. He was easily able to pin down an 11-year-old.
I struggled, moved my head back and forth, and cried and screamed as loudly as I could. However, after a minute or two, he pinned my head as well.
He forcibly inserted the pubic hair into my mouth by shoving the fingers that were holding it into the orifice.
Ray Gustafson's sexual behavior became more disturbing when he reached the age of 16.
When Ray was 16 and I was 12, he wanted to see my penis. He opened a bathroom window from the basement stairwell while I was urinating. I asked him why he did it. He said, “I wanted to see how you were developing”.
That incident wasn't so unusual by itself. However, during the same period, Ray caressed my back and my hip and said, “Hey baby, you're cute” or something similar in an attempt at an alluring voice.
I believe that Ray wanted me to feel sexually dominated and threatened.
At the time, he commented that he wasn't gay, saying, “Do you really believe I'd make a pass at you?” I was shaking and said, “I don't know”.
Sucking on Ray Gustafson's hose:
We had a regular below-ground swimming pool out back. One time when Ray was about 17 and I was about 13, he wanted me to suck the pool's vacuum hose – with water in it – so that he could put his dick in the other end and feel the water pulling on it.
He could have tried this with the vacuum on the other end but that might have gone badly. The vacuum seemed violent in operation and Ray wanted to retain possession of his male member. A miscalculation with the vacuum could potentially have turned Ray into Rayette.
I was embarrassed and even shocked, but I did it right away.
I was accustomed to doing what Ray demanded. Additionally, he'd seemed moodier than usual recently. I felt that he was on the brink and refusing the experiment would push him over the edge.
The pool hose was about 20 feet long. I doubt that I managed to move the water even by 1/16 of an inch.
Ray didn't feel anything, of course. But I figure that it was about sexual fantasies this time as opposed to dominating me. If he imagined that it was a girl sucking on the other end, he may have enjoyed the thought.
He said, “Will you promise not to tell anybody?” I said, “I'm not very proud of it either.” However, confidentiality can't be expected with abuse.
Ray was quick to call boys who weren't as manly as his standards dictated “fags”. When I was 6, too, I'd said that I liked dancing and might like being a ballet dancer and Ray had beaten me up for saying that.
So, it's ironic that Ray Gustafson asked his little brother to suck his dick even if it was by proxy. But Ray wasn't up to speed on irony.
Soccer and other balls:
When I was 13, I had a groin injury that required surgery. This was a soccer-related groin pull.
One day, while I was recovering from the procedure, Ray punched me in the balls because, he said, I was “being annoying”. I don't know what it was about. I think it was because I seemed happy that day.
I was angry that he could hurt me there and be happy about it. He'd punched me there several times before, but it was odd that he'd strike me where I'd had surgery.
I wasn't always passive about being struck.
One time after Ray hurt me, I saw him laughing and watching TV hours later. I snuck up and punched him in the side of the face. I did that another time, too.
Ray insisted, as a youth, and insists, as an adult, that I “cold-cocked” him for no reason, “out of the blue”.
The disagreement is more than a kerfuffle. Incidents like these affect children. They need to feel safe. I don't think Ray should be around them.
There's no irony in saying this after I struck Ray while his guard was down. I was a fraction of his size and weight and just didn't want to be hurt.
When I was five years old, I wanted to be part of the group and communion. So, I made an attempt to become a Christian.
It was insincere because I didn't really know what it meant. However, Ray assisted me by leading me through a prayer after Church at Open Bible Baptist Church (defunct), a KJV church then in Furlong, PA.
I don't recall that Ray made fun of my goal at all.
At about the same age, one day, my hand slipped off of the rail at a swimming pool and I fell in. Ray saved me from drowning.
And, on my 8th birthday, Ray woke me up and said, “Jake. Wake up. You're Eight Now.” He helped me get up and get to breakfast. I felt happy and safe. It was strange, like a trip to somewhere new.