“Experts” discounted stories of incest… (excerpts from Ragdoll Redeemed)

The Way We Never WereSANDWICHED BETWEEN TELEVISION shows touting moral values, such as Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best, were coffee tables acceptably littered with girly magazines like Playboy Magazine. So it seems odd to me that the 1950s is still considered to epitomize the generation of the ideal family, when just beneath the “happy family” façade was often an atmosphere of violence, terror, and alcoholism. We’ll never now to what extent this occurred, since women who reported it in those days were thought to merely be having sexual fantasies. “Experts” discounted stories of incest, giving it a one-in-a-million probability. Battered women were often thought to have provoked their husband into abusing them.

I don’t recall the exact sequence of events, or which man came first, but for a while I allowed myself to be passed around the neighborhood like a sexual ragdoll in exchange for cookies and candy.

One of these men was the kind, old, Presbyterian minister who everyone loved because of all of the good he did in the neighborhood. By all appearances, he seemed like a trustworthy man of the cloth. He didn’t scare or hurt me, like some men had; he only required that I stand still while he placed his hand down my panties. First, he slowly and ritualistically unwrapped two chocolate bars, placing them in each of my hands while saying a prayer. Hungry as usual,and with candy being a rare treat, I was more than content with the exchange. The minister rubbed me while touching  himself with his other hand, and made little sounds like dogs growling. I disconnected my mind by eating my candy bars and dreaming about roller skating. I would just let the top half of my body and the bottom half remain disconnected. Besides, by now this kind of touching was beginning to feel good because I was linking the actions with a reward.

Stephanie Coontz book, ” The Way We Never Were” was required reading when I was attending Seattle University for my degree in Pastoral counseling. This is a must read if you are interested in the true about our cherished beliefs about how family values used to be.

“Stephanie Coontz discusses guilt, anger, and a sense of betrayal as the common reactions that people have when they realize that the reality of their lives doesn’t match the myths they have been led to believe. The cherished illusions of the so-called “normal”, traditional marriage are just that – illusions. But they shouldn’t be cherished.”

Ragdoll Redeemed: Growing up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe at

The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Were by Stephaine Coontz at


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