Here is young Carolyn, pictured with her younger sister Claudette and her older brother Alexander. Carolyn’s eyes show the pain of a child who suffered unthinkable sexual abuse by her father, yet today she holds no resentment toward the man…in fact, she even remembers him lovingly saying “Well, he did call me when I was grown and said he was sorry for all the hurt he caused.” Just to hear those words from him meant so much to her. And what does that say about Carolyn’s capacity for love and forgiveness? Where does she get that strength and insight after enduring so much childhood trauma? Even adding, “my father had shrapnel in his head from the war.”
Then there is her brother Alexander who worked hard even as a youngster and grew up to be a successful bread maker. As far as Alexander, she has only wonderful things to say about him. Yet when it comes to the women in the family, not so good. While her father was sexually abusing her, it was her mother who would prod Carolyn to go over to him. Even though young Carolyn tugged at her mother’s dress because she didn’t want to go, this made no difference and her pleas fell on deaf ears. Imagine a little girl crying and begging her mother “No, I don’t want to go” (the father was forcing her to give him oral sex). No child should ever have to beg a mother to protect her like this. That was just the start of it though, as her mother was so high on prescription drugs that when little Carolyn knocked on the front door to be let in, the mother was too out of it, and little Carolyn found her way to St Matthew’s Church in Brooklyn. There she slept on the last pew, as she gazed at the image of Jesus on the stained glass window. This was her first memory of feeling comfort and security.
Regarding her younger sister Claudette, she instantly remembers how she would steal Alexander’s money he earned from working a job, and then turn around and deny it. She said “why deny it, you know you did it, you bastard!”
That’s the thing about Carolyn, you can’t put anything past her. Maybe growing up in an abusive home lay the foundation for the street smart kid she grew up to be, from necessity so to speak!