It is a sad fact of genealogical research that I often discover long-lost relatives after they’ve died, and indeed it is the discovery their obituaries that reveals them. In that vein, last night, after literally decades of searching, I discovered the fate of my long-lost first cousin Leslie when I found her obituary on Ancestry.com. She was about ten years older than I, and I discovered she died last November in Medford Oregon.

What is significant about Leslie is that she molested me when I was a toddler. She was a young teen then. Here, I won’t go into any details about what happened, nor what she did to me and what she had me do to her, but I have no doubt it affected me in all my relationships throughout my life to the present day.

She came from a family of abusers. Family legend has it that her mother, my aunt, now dead, molested her youngest brother, my Uncle, who is still alive. Indeed as a child, I was sternly warned never to say my aunt’s name around my uncle. My mother told me a story of her family being on a farm during the depression harvesting and discovered her sister/my aunt, then a young teen, with the farmer together in a barn, and being told angrily by her older sister, “ DON’T TELL ANYONE! “

I had long wondered what I would say to her if I ever found Leslie. Did she remember what she did? I would think what happened is not something easy to forget, but she was a young child herself in a family of abuse and confusion. Indeed my mother told me of a time when she was about 9, on a cold winter Portland Oregon night, she crawled into her father’s warm bed and blankets. He then demanded oral sex from his 9-year-old daughter, and when she refused, he demanded angrily, “THEN GET OUT OF MY BED”. 

Such things and more no doubt echoed through the generations to the current generation and my own life. Her obituary said that Leslie had two daughters, but other than their names, I don’t know where they are in the world, but maybe one day I’ll contact one or both of them. I wonder how they turned out.

Now Leslie is gone and I will never have that chance to talk to her. I’m pretty sure that she would have either denied it or gotten angry, not that I would have made that the first topic of conversation. “Hi, I’m your long lost first cousin that you molested as a child” would not have been a good reunion icebreaker. However, who knows what might have happened. My ideal dream conversation would have been for us to both calmly and rationally discuss what had happened and the psychological side effects for both of us, but from what I have heard of that wing of the family, I doubt that would have been the outcome.

I did discover several of her siblings, mostly also now gone, but some perhaps still alive, and perhaps I may yet make some family reconnections on these lines.


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I am still short about $600 this month due to no substitute teaching work in December and January combined with taking even more time off to partially recover from a serious foot infection.

Anything you could contribute would help,

including sending my puppies some canned dog food

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#MeToo #RRfJTG #Molestation



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