A Secret Grave 75: Sentinel

 

Loraine married again and the family moved to New Orleans. “You can’t imagine the shock,” Janet said in one of her emails. “I was nine and Betsy was thirteen. Our mother was pregnant with our little brother, Donny.” Loraine’s new husband was a chef whose family had lived in Louisiana for generations, very nice genteel people. But from the beginning there were problems. The new husband was a binge drinker who could become violent, and he started pushing Loraine around, beating her up, terrorizing the children. It was at this time that Betsy’s role changed: she became the one who protected the two younger kids, getting them out of the house or into a back bedroom when all hell broke loose. By now she was a beautiful teenage girl. Janet looked up to and adored her, the older sister who’d rock her in her arms and pull her under the covers when there was trouble, soothing her with silly stories all night.

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Betsy, seventeen years old

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Of course the stepfather began to take an interest in Betsy with her luscious new breasts and curves. Janet saw him grope her sister and though Betsy was too scared to say anything, she knew from the older girl’s face and odd cowed silence that worse had happened. Janet was then maybe eleven, just entering adolescence, and frightened all the time. What was going to happen to her? To them? Their mother, Loraine, who’d always been their rock, seemed on the verge of some kind of breakdown. She was working as a housekeeper, as she had in the past, this time for a wealthy Italian family who owned a string of funeral parlors.

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Janet as a young teenager

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One day Loraine went to work with a black eye and Mrs. Giambolini, her boss, put her arms around her and said, “Honey, what happened? What’s going on? You can talk to me.”

No doubt the Giambolinis had connections. Within days Loraine and her three children were moved into a small apartment in the Marigny, a suburb of the Vieux Carré. The husband (I don’t think I ever got his name) tried to make trouble, but Mr. Giambolini had one of his more muscular employees step in and provide assistance to the family, guarding the apartment, looking dangerous just by the way he crossed his arms and the fierce expression on his face. In the beginning the girls were scared of him, too, but they learned he was funny, teaching them to do things like crack their gum and burp on command, and so they relaxed, thinking they were safe, and for awhile life seemed to continue as normal.

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titan men, torbakhopper, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ http://alfa-img.com/show/african-moon-goddess-paintings.html

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