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Friday, February 1, 2013

Raw notes from 1995 journal found in a box in 2012

(Notes from when we lived in San Francisco.)

I just had a conversation with Tom Economus from Chicago.  He’s the head of Link-Up, a group that has opened lines of communication with the Chicago Archdiocese on the pedophile priest issue.  Evidently there was a rash of these cases in Illinois.  The town of Bartlett where my case takes place is in the Chicago Archdiocese. 

I called Economus before 8 AM to avoid long distance phone rates.

“I know the Archdiocese is covering the cost of therapy for survivors,” he told me.  “I've helped facilitate several of these cases.” 

Tom tells me he’s still a priest and that Linkup is like his church.  I give him my priest’s name and whatever data I have for his database. 

“Thomas Berry [sic] Horne,” I tell him spelling it out. 

[It's actually Thomas Barry Horne, but I did not find the correct spelling until years later]

In another early AM call, this time to Rhode Island, I’d learned how to track down my priest.  The Official Catholic Directory going back around a hundred years is available in most big city libraries.  So I went to the library downtown San Francisco and got the dates and addresses of Father Horne’s career as a priest.

I told Tom Economus now:  "I found his name first listed in 1953, when I was five years old.” 

I continue:  “From 1953 to 1968 the directory lists an address in Chicago, after his graduation from Mundelein Seminary in 1932.”

“Hmm,” says Economus, “730 North Wabash.  That would be downtown.”  He sounded vague, and I wondered if I should even trust him, him being a priest on the phone from Chicago. 

[In 2013, reading these notes, I look up 730 N. Wabash online and find it is just around the corner from Holy Name Cathedral and apparently is the address of what used to be the rectory for Chicago Archdiocese priests.  Strange, isn't it, that Economus didn't recognize the address. ]

Over the phone he seems to be taking down what I tell him about my perp priest then he asks, “Is there a lawyer involved?”

“No, I haven't gotten to that yet.”  [I never wanted to file a lawsuit.  It wasn’t until 2010 or so when I realized the only recourse the pedophile priest victims have is to file a lawsuit that I found a lawyer and took that action.  Apparently my delay ruined any chances I had of getting a settlement or closure. If only I had been a more litigious person ]

(More from my notes from the conversation with Tom Economus: )

He says, “The church is not the way it used to be.  It's beginning to recognize that it has to acknowledge the survivors, the victims.”

He said there is going to be a conference in Chicago this September.  “They may even fly you there.” 

“That would be great,” I say.  “I could go out to Bartlett, to the church where it happened, talk to some people.” 

[Eerie.  I didn't make it to Chicago and Bartlett until 2008, paying my own way. ]

MORE FROM 1995 journal:

Again I'm living my life a mile a minute, filling up each hour of the day, reading myself to sleep, sleeping six hours at the most, then up again.  I'm scrubbing the walls and scouring this apartment trying to make it less inviting to the mice.  I have twenty dollars to last until Saturday.

What I want is a job, a 60 or 80 thousand dollar a year job, some way out of this slum.  I want to be able to support my family.  Maybe I do want a settlement.  Maybe it is possible.  Economus said he’s helped facilitate several himself.

He spelled out his name, and I said, “oh, like the keeper of the coins, huh?” 

Someone said there are no coincidences, only miracles, in God’s world. 

But why did it bother me so much to talk to Tom Economus?  He was the hesitant one at first.  So I filled in all the conversation by pouring out more and more of my story.  There was something about his reticence.  That's an interviewing technique that I have yet to master, shutting up so the person you're interviewing feels like they have to keep talking. 


(These are notes from a phone conversation I had in 1995 in my kitchen while cleaning up from breakfast)

I met a woman at a SNAP meeting whose story sounded similar to mine, so I arranged to meet with her.  We scheduled a phone conversation for this AM.  I've been running around trying to beat the parking police last two days, then took Brooke to swim class, got myself back just in time to place the call. (Lizzie's nickname was Brooke at the time, long story.) 

The woman survivor I met is a long distance away and a very busy professional but I knew I needed to talk to her, to compare notes.

I started with, “I'm still just starting to retrieve these memories.  But when you mentioned a ritual in connection with your abuse, I – I have this feeling we might have similar stories.  So can you tell me your story?”

I'm plaintive and speaking carefully as I told everyone at the SNAP meeting that I'm a journalist as well as one of the victims and I want to write about the pedophile priest crimes.  I don't want to come on like a writer doing a sensation piece for a tabloid.  So I try to keep the grease out of my voice over the phone as I write down everything she says. 

“I don't have a fully recovered memory of the incidents myself,” she says, “and I don't want to.” 

She continues:  “In fact I asked my therapist to help me forget the memories.  I had her hypnotize me so I could do the opposite of what people claim we do, to block the memory.” 

She has a lot in common with me also in that she’s also a single parent.  She says, “I couldn't function recovering the memories.  I had my kids to support.” 

“I know what you mean,” I say to her.  “One time in Eureka [where we were living up to 1993 when the recovered memory came in] I was sitting on the couch and all these details started coming into my head.  I'm wailing and crying there and my daughter runs in from outside.  I have to pull myself out of the memory, push it back.”  I add, “I'm using a lot of prescribed drugs right now, anti-depressants, pain killers, muscle relaxants.  They seem to block the memories from coming in.” 

She answers, “Well I didn't use prescription drugs, but I know what you mean. You have to be there for your kids.  And as I started remembering, I couldn't function.  I’d get suicidal, re-feeling the experience.” 

“Do you have body pain?” I ask her.  “Because for me, recently I had an experience where the pain I'm having became directly related to the experience.  It was a night when we were still in the CCR [homeless shelter where me and my daughter landed when we first arrived in San Francisco in 1994] and I was trying to get off the Imipramine, an anti-depressant I’d been prescribed.  So I wasn’t able to sleep and the pain was really bad, and I was bawling, crying. 

“There was this wooden door with 1930s style filigree, where a part of the door stood out.  I had my back up against the filigree, and my knees bent, rubbing my back up and down against the door, and it resembled a sexual movement that connected with the body pain and made it change, to a sort of sexual feeling.  I just knew at that moment that the molestation at age six was the source of the body pain I'm experiencing today.”   

That was a really bad night in the CCR where this memory came in in the early morning hours.  I continued:  “The thought that came to my mind was ‘they hurt me and they didn't mean to hurt me.’  I even felt sorry for them.”  [Sorry to say, that as I type up these moments today in 2013, I do not know what I meant by “they."]

“Imagine that,” I continued over the phone. “They were worried I was going to die there.  And the guy rubbing my back was having the exact same effect as I was having going up and down rubbing my back on the door there in the middle of the night.  I saw faces.  There was more than one priest, and they were smoking something.  Opium?  Did they use opium or hasheesh or anything like that with you?”

She answered, “No, but I've heard other people talk about it.  Or things like that.”

“In the Chicago Archdiocese?” 

She had to think a moment.  “There was a lady in Minnesota in the 1920s.”

“I’d like to hear her story.”  I'm back in journalist mode, writing down notes.

“She’s pretty private about it.” 

Getting back to her own experience, she added, “As the memories were coming in, I’d get physical sensations that were painful, especially in the groin area.”

I filled with horror, thinking of the unnecessary hysterectomy I’d had about a year and a half ago, when the pain started, but I hadn’t recovered the memory yet.

She continued, “And there was a part of it that I kept experiencing, a feeling like I was being choked.” 

“Ayyyeee,” I responded.  “I have a distinct memory of rope burn around my neck, and that memory came in at the same time as the priest memory.” 

This conversation took place while I was in my kitchen rinsing dishes.



In the summer of 2012 I got this rash on my neck and on the skin all around it.  The rash turned out to be a reaction to St. John’s Wort, which is an herbal anti-depressant that it turns out causes a “severe reaction to sunlight” just like pharmaceutical anti-depressants.  I’d been spending a lot of time in the sun,

As a result of the rash, I was up all night several nights in a row, and as the raw burning got deeper around my neck, I started having this same deep visceral memory of something from way back in my childhood, when I was pre-school aged. 

There had been a rope burn on my neck then.  Part of the memory is my mother’s reaction to how horrible the rope burn looked.  What I perceived then was her disgust with me, but it was probably disgust with something or someone else. 

My mother, the atheist married my father the Catholic not knowing what she got herself into. 

Somewhere in the back of my mind is a memory of something that happened when I was four or five years old and it involves a rope around my neck. 

But I really don't remember any more about it. 

[Then as I type in these notes in 2013 my neck starts to itch.]


As I go through this box and find these journal entries from the mid 1990s, a story is breaking in the news about the pedophile priest documents from the settlements with the L.A. Archdiocese in 2007 finally being released.  It may be that story that prompted me to finally go through these old journals. 

But at the same time, I'm not feeling any sense of happiness at the release of the L.A. files.  I hate to admit it, but what I'm feeling is, I'll never feel any kind of closure in my case.  In Illinois the news is about a gay marriage bill going through the state legislature.  Several times in the past few years there has been an effort in Illinois to get a window in the statute of limitations on sex abuse crimes opened for one year as they did in California in 2003, which caused the flood of lawsuits that led to this document release. 

I don't think I'll ever get any kind of closure or release of documents from my case here in Illinois.  Strange, since SNAP was started in Chicago, you’d think there would have been more progress in this state than we've seen.


(Another journal entry from c. 1995 in San Francisco.)

It just dawned on me that if you don't leave any food or garbage out, there’s nothing to attract the cockroaches.  If there is no food around, instead of going away, the vermin turns to you, goes into your bedroom to feed on little bits of hair or perspiration in your sheets.  Maybe I should just feed the cockroaches, put food out for them as far away from the kitchen as possible to keep them under control. 

Everyone laughed recently when I suggested we just put out some food for the rats and roaches like we do for neighborhood cats.  Shoot, it would be better than finding mouse gnaw marks on your cereal boxes.  They leave behind a little trail, little black oblong dots,  wherever they go.  Evidently they emit feces as they run around your food storage shelves. 

I've countered the problem so far by putting all the fruits crackers etcetera in baskets that hang from the ceiling.  I have this image of frustrated rats slipping and sliding as they try to climb up the walls and grab onto one of those baskets.  One morning I may find one, trapped in rat heaven with all the corn flakes he could ever want.

My shrink said I should go easy on the work.

[MediCal used to cover our health care in the 1990s, not anymore]

I told him about my mandate from God to uncover the pedophile priest organization that evidently existed in the Chicago Archdiocese.  I told my shrink I had been praying in my kitchen at the sink, when I heard what I thought was God’s saying “This Can No Longer Go On.”  Then there in the kitchen I felt like it is my life’s work to help stop it.  But now I'm finding that everybody in the pedophile priest survivor community is writing a book. 

Also as I write this journal, I'm reconnecting with my professional journalist identity, a little bit at a time.  I'm going to write and send a notice to the Bay Area Guardian about the new support group for pedophile priest survivors that is meeting in San Francisco. 

Had a provocative experience in my shrink office the other day.  He kept asking me, “what is it that you don't want to face?”  For an instant I had an imipramine flush, then images of sweaty standing over me with penises in their hands rushed in.  It was awful. 


I cried there in the little U.C. San Francisco medical center office. 

“I have a head full of these horrible memories,” I said.  “I want to exploit my own life.  Maybe I could keep writing my story and then sell it to the movies for an R-Rated release.”

My shrink said, “Don't push yourself so hard.  You're should be working on your own healing.”  

Yeah, that's it, right now I'm healing.  And it's slow.  And creating a 12-hour a day frantic job out of it isn't contributing to the healing.

[Eerie to read this in 2013, knowing that I wrote it in 1995, and City of Angels Blog, which I wrote mostly from 2007-2010, was another way to keep myself working 12 hours a day and avoid healing. ]

Whenever I take Lizzy Beth [another name I used to call Lizzie] to the SF rec center, I come straight back here to “work,”  I set up my coffee pot and erasers and take position in front of my Smith Corona.  Then I write.  My head ends up running several ideas through my brain and what I write ends up being irrelevant garbage, but I keep writing. 

I need to write it as it comes up.  Keep the Smith Corona perched here on this dresser we found when we were furnishing the apartment by digging through dumpsters. 

We are so broke.  I'm thinking I could try walking down the street with my blender trying to sell it, like a thief who raises a sleeve to show a row of watches up their arms. 

“Psst!  Want to buy a blender?”


[It's now 2013, and poverty still dominates the life of me and my daughter, now in separate states, struggling.  Both of us are sick and untreated because we don't have health insurance.  I never did write that movie, the blog is dead.  I left L.A. in 2010, took this trip across the country to do "investigative journalism" on the pedo-priest crimes nationwide, but got immobilized, literally, from having no car.  How do you do a stakeout on foot?  Or follow a suspicious character around the suburbs using pubic transportation?  During the hours I'm not at work?  It's weird reading these journals and realizing how little things have changed for me in 20 years.  Thanks, Cardinal George, for spitting in my face when I came to you for help, real Catholic of you.]

-Posted by Kay Ebeling living today in hiding. 

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