Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day Twenty-one - Don't tell

I continue as my cat jumps up on the desk and into my lap demanding my attention. She sometimes cradles her head in the nook of my arm to hide from any unforeseen danger. She completely trusts me. She knows I will do no harm. She knows she can count on me to protect her. I think it is interesting how animals can sense these kinds of things.

Don't tell....... So for years I didn't tell. I'm thinking now it was because of several things. First, I wanted to be accepted. Telling meant being isolated. Polar opposites. Also, I was afraid. Afraid of what? Alienation. Same thing, isolation, alienation.Afraid of being the person who rocked the boat; tainting a school and it's legacy. Afraid of being labeled a nutcase. Afraid of being looked upon as soiled goods. And most afraid of not being believed, not only from people in general but from friends and especially my own family.

Just last week, my dad, sister and I met in Mississippi to conduct some legal business. While my sister and I visited my dad different stuff came up about our past. I was teasing my dad about criticizing me during high-school about my weight - I was always on a diet!! My dad proceeded to talk about how I dressed in junior high and high school and how inappropriate it was. I think we all dressed pretty similarly, but primarily it was the mini skirts, the mid-drifts and the bare backs. For once, when this subject was brought up I was able to reply with, "Daddy, You have to remember where I was during this time and remember what influenced me." Studies show that children who are sexually abused act out in different ways. Some dress promiscuously, some act promiscuously, some withdraw or act out and others hurt themselves. My dad responded with a nod of understanding and seemed to realize this was something he didn't recognize before but now does. That meant a lot to me. It just takes time to figure it all out.

Thankfully, I have been able to forgive not only Jack but also my parents and others who let me down by not noticing the signs, not wanting to accept the truth and wanting to protect the facade. I am still struggling with those who are not interested in the truth and are afraid of what the truth might do. I'm so sorry if this harms their interests. I'm really not interested in their interests. Especially if it continues to cause us to not tell.....

Later, I will start writing about the Miyake volcano eruption in the summer of 2000 and how that affected me.

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Day Twenty - Continuing with some interesting insite

My sister corrected my previous post about my brother's award at the Houston International Film Festival. She writes, "The film was called "The Strongest Link", I think...Oddly enough, it was a film about the excellent Houston Emergency Medical System and how well it runs and also the emotional aspect of some of it's workers. So there it is, another "connection" with your ambulance heroes."

Thanks for the correction, CACD.

Today, I was hopelessly trying to finish up some work on the house we are doing because of the hurricane that devastated our community last year. We had a limb of a large oak tree crash into the left side of our house causing about $40,000 worth of damage. Many in our community suffered much worse. We are very grateful that no one was hurt. But, we still have some unfinished business and we have a group of people from the school coming to our house on October 5th for an Open House for the school. I have to get it at least presentable.

It's amazing how moving a paint brush up and down causes some kind of therapy. I'm by myself, contemplating everything going on in my life. I think about my son who is "playing" football but isn't really because he is second in line for his position. I see the pain on his face when the coach neglects to put him in even though the team is up by 100 gazillion points. I contemplate my life and why I am actually painting instead of having someone else come in a do it for me. It's a matter of choice, I suppose.

As I was painting today I asked myself why it has taken so long to share my story. I was thinking about other people who have been abused and the fact that you really don't see a lot of stories shared out there. Why? One thing I was thinking was that the people who have been or are being abused are already vulnerable. That's what makes them a target. Then couple that with a general public who doesn't want to know, that makes it even more difficult. Look at the guys who were sexually abused by the priests!! I can't imagine something more sinister or evil. Using your faith as a draw for young men. But it happened and look how long it took to come out. Being in a predominately Catholic community I occasionally see a car drive by with a bumper sticker that says, "There are good Catholic priests". No doubt, but the message I get from that is, "Don't tell." It would be the same if all of a sudden up popped a bumper sticker that said, "There are good teachers." If it was geared toward me, I would feel the same, "Don't tell." Don't tell the truth because it causes all of us to be accountable. Don't tell the truth because I don't want to believe that the person whom I confess my sins to is molesting a young boy. Don't tell the truth because the activist teacher I love is molesting little girls. Don't tell the truth because it makes me look bad because I didn't do anything about it.

Don't tell. Don't tell.

I shall write more later, however, my body and brain is required to change into another frame as we are attending an Engagement party for a friend.

Don't tell......................................................................................

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Day Twenty - From the height of joy to the depth of despair.

There is a brief respite in sight this coming week. The temperature is supposed to break down into the 80's. Hallelujah for small blessings!

I talked about the difficult delivery of our forth child in April of 1995. I stayed in the hospital for five days. I lost so much blood but the doctor said that because I was in really good shape they didn't have give me any blood which was fortunate. We came home on May 3rd. My parents were in route to North Carolina after a brief stint in Dallas and subsequent drive to Houston to attend the International Film Festival with my older brother and oldest sister. My brother had been nominated for an award for a documentary he produced and directed about the US Coast Guard. (Help me get this straight family.) My brother and his wife, my sister and her daughter and my parents all attended the festivities. As they sat there at a table of PBS producers/directors and others my brother thought that the nomination/award was so small that they chose not to mention it during the awards so he was ready to leave and go back to the room when my sister urged him to stay.

They continued to listen to the different nominations and subsequent awards being announced, people coming to the stage accepting their awards and reciting their acceptance speeches. It got down to the very last award, the Grand Award for Best Film and Video in 1995 for the Houston International Film Festival and I can imagine the drum roll, the anticipation, the sweat running off people's brows when they announced none other than my brother's name. My sister jumped up and began screaming and whooping and hollering. I'm doubtful that my mom and dad did, however; I can see them quietly sitting, smiling and holding their heads high with pride thinking quietly to themselves, "That's OUR son."

Wow, what elation. That was phenomenal. From the height of joy..........

I don't exactly remember the sequence of the film festival and my delivery but it was all around the same time. After I got home from the hospital and settled in for a day or two, the children were all in bed, the baby was next to me in his bassinet and we were all in a deep sleep. You can imagine the fear and anticipation we felt when the phone rang around 2:00 in the morning. It was my oldest sister. She was frantic, trying to find my mom and dad. She said, "I think Jared died. I have to find out where Mother and Daddy are. Do you know?" Jared, my middle sister's oldest child had suffered a heart attack. By the time the paramedics made it to their house he was gone. He was only twelve years old. I called my parents who were staying in a hotel nearby and woke them up. They had just arrived in Nashville to spend time with us since the baby had been born and to help me at the house while I recovered. That morning they arrived at our house at 6:00 a.m. making arrangements to drive back to Dallas that day to be with my middle sister and her family and to help in funeral arrangements.

From the height of joy and life to the depth of despair and death.

How can you explain God in all this? Why is there so much suffering? Why did Jared have to die so young? Why did my son live? How can one family have so much joy and without even a glance so much pain within days if not minutes? There have been many books written on this subject and without reading most of them I can take an educated guess that each writer has his or her own opinion and none of them are the same. The only response I can give without going into a diatribe of my own personal opinion is to quote from John 6:68b. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

God is good. All the time.

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day Nineteen - Still muggy in South Louisiana

It's almost October and our air-conditioner is still going full steam ahead. There is little relief in sight. My hair is frizzy beyond recognition. I look like a person who stuck their finger in an electrical socket. Yikes!! People beware out there.

I shared with you my experience about the Impatient plant on my last post. God continued to show his faithfulness in our marriage and our lives in many different ways. Our third child and second son was born in November of 1992. He was a source of many happy and delightful days. I was working part time by now and by the end of January of 1995, my husband and I agreed that it was time for me to stay home with the kids.

Right out of college I went to work for CocaCola USA in the Southwest District office in Dallas, Texas. I was the Marketing Planner and worked with statistics and primarily market share for our region. I traveled a little bit in the region. I really liked that job. After Dallas we moved to Austin, TX for a few months and then to Tenneesee where my husband began his career job. For a few years after our first two children were born, I worked in the computer industry selling CADD or Computer Aided Drafting and Design systems to local architects and engineering firms. I actually sold the first AutoCAD - PC based system in our area. That was just when PC's were entering into the marketplace. Prior to that most firms had large mainframes and used either Intergraph systems or other engineering based systems. I later went to work for Johnson and Johnson as a Baby Product rep, which was a part time job, only 25 hours per week. This allowed me to be home in the afternoons with my kids. It was a good job. When summer began looming in the future and the thought of paying for three children's childcare, we realized it was better for the kids and for our finances for me to stay at home.

I loved being at home with the kids. It became evident that they really needed me, too. My oldest son was struggling with concentration issues and consequently behavior issues. His first eight years in school were filled with constant problems. It was good for me to be home. Also, it gave me time to spend with our daughter and our other son. In 1995, our forth and last child was born. I had problems with this pregnancy from day one which was rather strange because all my other pregnancies had been fairly uneventful.

Early on in the pregnancy I had some minor issues that could have become bigger but didn't. At some point in the first to second trimester my doctor did a series of standard tests and one came back with a strong indicator that this child might have Downs Syndrome. At the request of our doctor, we did an amniocentesis to either confirm or dispel this possibility. We didn't think about the possibility to abort, however, my doctor said there were things they could do to help along the way if he tested positive. After two grueling but God focused weeks - God was faithful to grant us peace during this time - we got the tests back and it had just been a scare.

When I was five months pregnant I got sick and stayed sick for about a month. After being on several weeks of antibiotics my entire body started hurting. I felt like a knife was stabbing me in the back. It just so happened that this particular day was a Saturday. Have you ever called in to the doctor's office when you are pregnant to tell them your back is killing you? Well, don't. Evidently, I didn't tell the answering service the correct information because I never got a call back. She was probably thinking, "A pregnant woman is calling in because her back is killing her? Give me a break." Finally, later in the morning when I realized no body was going to call me back I called back again and described my pain. The on-call doctor finally called back and told me to go to the emergency room. My husband was gone to an event for his brother so I drove myself to the hospital and went through triage. The triage nurse listened to my lungs and my breathing and said, "There's nothing wrong with you but since you are here we have to let the doctor see you." The doctor comes in and listens to my lungs and breathing and says, "There's nothing wrong with you but just in case, let's do an x-ray."

I had double pneumonia. They checked me into the hospital and I stayed on medication and fluids for several days. I just wish doctor's would listen to the patient sometimes.

My due date was around May 15, 1995. My first three children had been two weeks early so as the end of April came around, we started thinking we were going to have a baby soon. One afternoon, the sun was high in the sky and the day was warm so I decided to lay out and let my big belly get some exposure to the sun. I had done this several times and was developing quite a nice tan. Funny looking, yes, but not as funny looking as a big white belly. As I was laying out in the sun a wasp or hornet started circling above me. I laid very still, hoping it would fly away. Just when it took a nose dive for my belly I jerked to keep it from landing on me. Right after I jerked and a sharp pain permeated my body. About that time the phone rang and a very good friend was calling to check on me. As I was talking to her, I felt what I thought was my water breaking. She encouraged me to call the doctor and my husband and got off the phone. I proceeded to do both but then noticed what appeared to me to be an extraordinary amount of blood. My friend called back to see how I was doing and I described this problem to her. She suggested I call the doctor back and I did. They told me to call 911 and I did.

First to arrive was the fire truck, then the ambulance with the paramedics. My husband and children were behind them. When the paramedics arrived they got me down on the foyer and began attempting to find a vein for an IV. They also had some antiquated machine to get the baby's heartbeat. I kept on asking, "How is the baby? Don't worry about me, how is the baby?" After this I became somewhat euphoric and calm. I was told later that it was because of the tremendous amount of blood I lost. They couldn't find a vein so they got me into the ambulance and began working on me all the way to the hospital. When my husband arrived with the children and saw the fire truck and ambulance he told them to stay in the car. He says he walked into the foyer with paramedics all around and saw all the blood and thought we were having the baby at home. It wasn't until a few minutes later that he realized we were in a critical place.

Those paramedics were unbelievable. They treated me with utmost care. To this day I will be the first person to pull over for an ambulance. They drove me from Brentwood to downtown Nashville's Baptist Hospital in record time and got me into the hospital in time for the doctors to take over and put me under. This was the only c-section I had and it was quite scary. Later we were told that I had an abruption of the placenta. We also found out that our baby had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Had I delivered naturally there was a good possibility that he would have died during childbirth.

Several things took place during this time that I should make note of. One was that my third child was taking a nap upstairs during this entire fiasco. My neighbors all came over to see what was going on and they proceeded to take care of cleaning up my mess, talking care of my then 2 1/2 year old sleeping upstairs and doing whatever else we needed. They were incredible. My oldest was excited when he saw the fire truck and ambulance and yelled, "Are we going to be on 9-1-1?" As I mentioned, the paramedics were great. And our church. What can I say about being a part of the body of Christ? We had food and other things for one entire month. I think our grocery bill was $50 that month. My friend who talked to me on the phone came over for the first two weeks everyday and took care of me, washed my clothes, cleaned the house and made cookies for my kids. It was amazing to see people come together to help my family during this difficult time. My daughter wrote an essay in her class remembering how the paramedics saved her mom's life. We delivered it to them one day with some goodies and a big thank you. God is good, all the time. Or is he?

Our forth child was born on April 28, 1995. The week after his birth many different things happened to the Calcote nuclear family.

We went from the height of joy to the depth of despair in just one week.

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day Eighteen -

It's been a long day. I worked most of the day and into the evening and then sped off to my 16 year old's football game. Wow, I'm sick of football. It would be different if he got to play more but right now he's sitting in the 2nd string QB position. Unless they are beating the other team by 100 the coach won't put him in. Can't quite figure that out. The only way I can bear to sit through the games is to chant over and over in my head, "All things work for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose." Sometimes I really question whether or not God really knows what he is doing. It hurts me when I see my son hurting.

It reminds me of some similar painful things I experienced in high school. Being a teenager really stinks. But it is a process of growth and learning. If you learn the most when you are in pain then my son is really learning a lot. God bless him!!

After attending the reunion in Long Beach I returned to my "normal" life as a wife, mother and employee. In 1992, eight years after my daughter was born I became pregnant with our third child. He was born in the fall of '92 in Nashville. Through out our marriage, my husband and I had our ups and downs, as do most marriages and this was somewhat of a down time. We began going to therapy and our counselor suggested we attend this week long seminar at a local Presbyterian church. We both agreed and it pretty much transformed our lives.

We began attending Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville. One of the things that drew us to that church was their music program and their children's program. Both my husband and I were very interested in music. My husband has a beautiful voice and I enjoy playing the piano. We joined the choir and started becoming involved in the church. We also joined a small group, which, to this day, I know I can go to anyone from that small group and they would welcome me as family.

Our choir director was fun and crazy. He was also very talented. We had choir practice on Wednesday nights from 7:30 to 9:00. Because of the size of the choir (over 100 people) he implemented an "on time" award. If you arrived on time for choir you could submit your name into a common pot and at the end of choir he would draw out of this pot and pick different people who then got different fun prizes. One night I remember very well. It was after my husband and I had gone through a particularly difficult period. We went to choir, both were "on time" and thus we in the "pot" for the on time award. This particular evening our choir director rolled out a table full of 6" plants. If my memory serves me there were about 20 - 30 6" plants. As he started to pull names out of the pot the plants dwindled down. It's funny how we, even as adults, want to conform to the "on time" awards as many people made it into the pot. As he continued pulling names I sat back realizing that he was getting down to the end and neither my husband nor I had been picked.

All the plants were being given away to those drawn out of the "on time" pot. We got down to the last two plants. I began praying - remember, my husband and I had gone through one of the most difficult times in our marriage - "God, please pick us." The choir director drew the next to last name. He began to read it. As he spoke the name of my husband, my heart jumped and I knew this was a sign God was giving me to continue to trust in him. There was one plant left. I knew that plant was for me. This was a sign God was giving me showing me that he was in control of my marriage and my life. I should trust in him. As the choir director drew out the last name, my heart was beating so strong. I knew this plant was mine. I knew he would say, "Janet Simmons." As he began to read the name and I heard another person's name my heart sank. I was devastated. God had betrayed me. He didn't want my marriage to prosper. What was wrong? While I was so quick to judge and so quick to express my anger and frustration, God was still at work trying to get my attention. Our choir director pulled out from underneath the table one more plant. This time, however, it was a huge hanging basket with beautiful flowers. He put his hand into the pot and drew out a name. As he began to recite my name, God said to me, "Janet, your expectations of me are too small. You are impatient. (It was a beautiful New Guinea Impatient.) You desire me to satisfy your marriage with a 6" plant, when I can give you this beautiful, full, flowering, enormous plant." That night, God spoke to me like I never before experienced. I felt his comfort like I had never experienced before.

This was in the fall of 1992 or spring of 1993

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Day Eighteen-Long Beach 70's Reunion

My two sisters, their spouses, my nephew and niece, my husband and me departed from Jackson, Mississippi airport and flew to Los Angeles. My parents lived in Mississippi and were kind enough to take care of my two children and my sister's three. My younger two had not yet been born. Our trip to Los Angeles was uneventful at least to my memory. We enjoyed each others company and looked forward to seeing friends we had not seen in a long time.

I really didn't know what to expect. I hoped that friendships would be rekindled, at least I thought so. Upon arrival at the hotel we saw many familiar faces and had the initial, "Hey, how ARE you?!" "Gosh, has it been 14 years?" "You look SO good." "You haven't aged a bit!" You get the picture. Of course, many of us were still quite young and still had the world before us. Since the reunion spanned over a decade there were people who graduated in 1970 all the way to those who graduated in 1979. My three sisters and I all graduated from ASIJ during that era. My older brother graduated in, I believe, 1968 or 1969, and my younger brother graduated in 1980.

At this point in my life I still had not shared my experiences with Mr. J to anyone except my husband. At least I didn't recall that I had. My parents still didn't know, neither did either of my sisters. So, going to this reunion for me was simply a way to reconnect to friends and have a good time.

One afternoon I was sitting at the pool with my older sister when up walked two people I recognized. One was someone I had admired from afar. Very attractive. She had a wonderfully gentle spirit. One of those people you wish you could be like. The second person was someone who I had not counted on seeing. You see, she was the girl who let me put my mattress next to hers. That was when the abuse stopped. I was delighted, excited, overwhelmed, and really words can't express what I felt. We spoke and I asked her if she remembered me. She didn't really seem to. I thanked her for protecting me during a very difficult time. I think I explained to her what she had done, but she didn't seem to remember and that was that.  Her name is Michele Connor. She seemed to be in another world.

The reunion went on. Because the reunion committee had pulled the nomination of Jack from the Favorite Teacher award, no mention of him came up, at least not openly. I'm sure there were conversations going around with people saying, "Wow, I thought Mr. Moyer would have won that." Any other conversations I was not privy to. This is also my memory of the event and there may have been other things that happened I just don't remember. Besides, this is only my story and without a doubt there could be a whole lot more shared by others.

I do remember two particular things that happened during our stay in Long Beach. One morning I went down to the lobby to get coffee. It was pretty early and I was hopeful that I wouldn't run into anyone. I proceeded to get my coffee out of the common coffee pot that was in the lobby for hotel guests when a Japanese lady came up and began asking me a question in broken English. So I said something to her in Japanese - can't remember what. He reaction was hysterical. Her face lit up and she first responded with a long, resounding, "OOOOOOOOOO." Emphasis on the "O" as in the japanese "go". She then said, "Gaijin ga, nihongo shabere masu?" - translated - "The foreigner can speak Japanese?" I started laughing and said, "Koko wa America desu. Watashi wa Gaijin janai desu. Anata wa Gaijin desu." - translated - "This is America. I am not the foreigner, you are the foreigner." She just laughed and laughed. I've told this story time and time again to different people and every time all involved get a big kick out of it.

Another memory I have is when my oldest sister and I were running one morning and I began telling her about my story with the reunion committee about Jack being one of the favorite teachers. As I was telling her I could tell her body was confused and we stopped running and she asked me, "Janet, what happened?" It was then I realized, no one else knew about what had happened. I guess I thought that all my family knew. How? I don't know. So, I began telling her my story. I don't know exactly what she did with it at that point but I finally was getting comfortable to talk about it.

This was in 1990 - twenty years later.

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day Seventeen - Insecure

As I continue to write about all that I experienced, for me, it becomes so present. But for others, I'm sure it becomes mundane. As a result, when I feel alone in this process it becomes difficult to continue. But, now that I have started the process, I know I must continue. I will once again post a notice to those who are reading. If you have any edits to my story, please use the comment box in the blog so that all can read it. Many people are commenting on Facebook but it doesn't necessarily make it to the blog. If you would like your comments to be attached to this blog, please do so on the blog page.

One comment I received on my Facebook page really took me by surprise. It was from a someone younger than me who experienced life in Japan and at ASIJ as well.

"Hi, I have been following your blog and appreciate very much what you are doing. I haven't posted a comment yet - I suppose because it feels like "mid-story" and I'm waiting to hear how it all happens. I also don't know what to say. My heart just aches for you - now, and for who you were at that age.

I wanted you to know that when I first heard about your bringing the story out a few years ago and becoming public - I had absolutely no hesitation in believing you. Since I live pretty removed from ASIJ now I couldn't follow all the activity too precisely - but I was sure you were telling the truth. Part of this is because I had odd experiences with Mr. Moyer myself - kind of on the opposite end from you. I was a pretty good kid, worked hard in school, did pretty well, was well-liked by other teachers - and almost shunned by him. I was not one of the chosen ones - I did not get a special invitation to Miyake on one of the non-school trips. Although, I did go for the 7th grade class trip, and again as a senior to be a counselor for the 7th graders - I never received any attention whatsoever from Mr. Moyer. As I said, he almost wouldn't acknowledge me. This was very painful at the time. Several of my close friends did receive special attention - he gave them nicknames, extra attention, etc - but not me. Now I know that I was lucky for this. And even though this was very difficult at times - I remember crying once about it, and being very confused -- I also just knew there was something very wrong about how he played serious favorites, and how close he was to a few chosen girls.

I knew, without a doubt, that the horrible story you were sharing was true. I wished with all my heart that it wasn't. Thank you sharing your courageous journey, so more girls will not travel the same road. I now have children of my own which makes me all the more thankful."

This message to me was so encouraging. I know there are many others out there who either experienced what the writer described or experienced what I did. There are those out there also who experienced Jack as a loving and devoted teacher, encouraging educational development and advancement without any of the shunning or any of the abuse. I believe these are the skeptics. They wonder why I am doing this. Why would I talk about someone who in their memory was so wonderful and encouraging to them? Why would I burst their memory of such a wonderful experience at Miyake?

You know it really is interesting. I wonder about all the people who are reading this post, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. People who I thought might be supportive or encouraging but haven't heard from at all, but I know are reading. It's amazing how we want to protect our image of an institute but not those who mean the most to us. It's amazing how we want to preserve our memories as long as someone else s memories don't poison our recollection of what was. I'm sorry to burst some bubbles. I'm sorry to make good memories false, but if someone doesn't break that cycle, it won't ever be broken. We have to be willing to see things as they are, not as we wish them to be.

Don't you know that with all my heart I wish my life and my memories of my childhood could be wonderful and unrealistic. The reality though is this, no one has a perfect life. No one has a perfect childhood. Some of us suffer from sexual abuse, some from physical or emotional abuse, some from neglect of one parent or another, some from not being able to live up to our parent's expectations. We all suffer from some sort of pain or another from our childhood. So, why not admit those things and then be able to be vulnerable and start getting better and growing up so we can protect others who are being subjected to these same horrors? If we don't talk openly about these things then the possibility of the cycle being repeated is so much greater.

The other reality is this. I know who I can depend upon. I know my supporters. I know where my strength comes from. I know who will see me through the end. Thank you for holding my hand!

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day Sixteen - On a roll

I can tell you a lot about my life but I'm choosing to share mostly the parts that I believe were impacted by the relationship I had with Jack.  Although, I am who I am today, good or bad, because of this experience.

In the summer of 1976, I graduated from high school having just turned 17 the previous February. There was only one person in my class younger than me. My last two years of school came with a great deal of fun and full of really great memories. I was a cheerleader, a member of the gymnastic team, had a lot of friends and seemed to get a long without many issues. Some of my classmates might remember a little differently.

Upon graduation, as did most students, I prepared to leave to go to college in the States. My parents weren't coming with me because back then they were only able to leave the mission field once every five years. We had just returned to Japan in 1974.

I left the Tokyo (Haneda)  airport leaving my mom, my dad and my little brother heading towards bigger and better things or so they said. I gave them each a hug and noticed that my dad began tearing up a little, my mom, however, remained stoic. I cried all the way down the walkway to the plane. I arrived, by myself, at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). I had to go from the international wing of the airport to the domestic wing by myself. This task to me seemed incredibly enormous, especially for a 17 year old who really didn't have a home in this land and was alone for the first time in her travels. 

I flew to Washington, D.C. to visit my brother, my sister-in-law and neice for a short time. I then flew to North Carolina to visit my friends from my sophomore year with hopes to rekindle a relationship that had ended due to distance. From North Carolina I flew to Mississippi and joined my sister who was attending Mississippi College.

My first year at Mississippi College was miserable. I dormed with a stranger who was from Shaw, Mississippi. I didn't even know there was a Shaw, Mississippi. I struggled immensely with many different things. I couldn't call my parents because in 1976 the international phone rates were extremely unreasonable. A five minute call could cost up to $20.00. We didn't have $20.00 for a phone call.

That fall my dad experienced some difficulties with his heart. His doctor in Japan didn't think it was prudent for him to stay in Japan and urged him to immediately return to the States and receive medical treatment there. Fortunately for me, they came back to the States and stayed in Mississippi at my grandmother's house only one hour away from me. I don't know what would have happened to me that year had they not come home. They stayed until January of 1977 when they returned to Japan with my little brother.

During college I struggled with several different things. I worked at a local pizza place where all the law students met and studied. They became my friends and I started hanging out with them. One of the law students started to pursue me. He was 30 years old and I was 18. He bought me presents, took me out to dinner but I wasn't really interested in him. He would not leave me alone. One night at a party, he stopped me in the corridor and told me he would give me $2,000 if I would date him. He proceeded to put 20 $100 bills in my hand. I looked at him and said, "What, do I look like a prostitute?" Eventually, however, he was able to wear me down and I ended up dating him. As you can imagine, that relationship was a very unhealthy. We dated for a little less than a year. He expected me to conform to his 30 year old status while I was still experiencing youth. I wanted to go to a movie, he wanted to go to an antique auction. I wanted to go out and dance, he wanted to go eat at Shoney's. You get the picture. While in this relationship I developed severe anorexia. I went from a size eight to a size three and that was even baggy! I would run five miles everyday and eat virtually nothing. I still thought I was fat. It didn't help that my boyfriend would say things to me that caused me to think I was still fat. He did things that humiliated me. He alienated me from my friends and family. I was isolated and alone. He wouldn't let me communicate with anyone who cared about me.

That first summer after my freshman year I returned to Japan for my one trip provided by the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board.  I continued to struggle with anorexia and managed it by swimming, walking, and running, eating very little and using laxatives.  My poor mother struggled with her weight and I obviously was very judgmental because she saw it necessary to hide her cookies when I entered the room.  While in Japan, my 30 year old boyfriend wrote letters to me and I to him.  This was before all the modern technology of skype or cell phones or even email.  I returned to the states in August for my second year at Mississippi College.

After living in the dorm the first two semesters, I petitioned the school to allow me to live off campus.  In the 70's school policies were designed to discriminate against women.  If the school closed over the holiday's, one of the men's dorms remained open for those men who were exchange students but there were no women's dorms left open. That meant if you didn't have any place to go you were stuck.  So there were several holidays that I slept in my bosses car, office (on a sofa) or on a bench at the pizza parlor.  Often, when people found out where I was staying, they would offer for me to stay in their home.  Because I didn't have transportation, I couldn't drive to my aunts house one hour south of me, nor did I feel that the relationships I had were appropriate for me to ask if I could stay with anyone during the holidays.  So, in the fall of my sophomore year, I moved into a small one bedroom duplex next to the laundry mat and pizza parlor.  

Upon my return to Mississippi that fall, I finally convinced him to take me to a movie. We were sitting in the movie and I remember him saying something to me that made me mad. I must have said something to him, don't remember what, when he jabbed me in the ribs with his elbow. That was it!! He drove me home and I broke it off. He couldn't understand why I would break it off. For at least a month he harassed me, sending me flowers, and even proposed with a diamond ring!

To get away from him, over the Thanksgiving holiday I went to visit my older brother who then lived in Cleveland, Ohio. That was the weekend of the Jim Jones massacre in Jonestown. It happened on November 18, 1978. I remember watching the news fascinated and scared because I really couldn't grasp what was happening. Here was this master manipulator walking his followers to their death. Unbelievable! How could anyone be so vulnerable to someone like that? I didn't realize that only 7 years before, I was being manipulated and subject to something similar, only thank God not that!!

I came back to school after the holidays only to find out that this guy I had broken up with went into my apartment and took the letters we had exchanged the previous summer out of the trash and placed them all over the apartment. What I didn't know was my duplex mates had asked him to stay in their side of the duplex during the holidays while they returned to Florida. It was then I decided that in order for me to continue to function I had to leave. After the first semester of my sophomore year I moved to Gainesville, Florida to live with my two sisters.

While I lived in Gainesville, I gained back all of the weight I lost. I worked at a local restaurant waiting on tables and allowed my body, mind and soul to heal. I couldn't have done it without my two sisters. I considered transferring to Baylor the next semester but at the end decided to return to Mississippi College.  As soon as I began thinking about returning to Mississippi I started loosing weight again.  When I arrive back at Mississippi College I was once again a size 3.  Slowly, during that year I gained back some of the weight and began living a little more of a stable life. 

Upon my return to MC, I felt stronger and able to make it on my own. I found a little apartment for $75.00 a month. It was perfect for me and provided my own little place to finish out my schooling. I knew that I wanted to get a degree and by this time had switched majors from music to business. I excelled in the business school and finally graduated in 1981.

My old boyfriend?  When I got back to Mississippi he was married to a woman who had five children.  Go figure.  

In 1980, I fell in love with my soon to be husband. We married in September of 1981 in Dallas, Texas. We will celebrate our 28th anniversary on Saturday, September 26, 2009. [Now 34 years] We lived in Dallas, Texas for a while where our first son was born. We then moved several times, first to Austin, Texas then to Tennessee where my husband began his career job. We had three more children all born in Tennessee.

During our time in Tennessee, my husband was a member of the Rotary club that met once a week. Once or more a year they would invite the spouses of the members to lunch. This particular day they had a woman speak to the club about child abuse. She was explaining how rampant child abuse was and began stating statistics. She asked, "Did you know that 25 % of all Americans have been sexually abused?" I was listening to her and started thinking, that's one out of four people. That means at our table of eight, two people here have been sexually abused. That's when it hit me. I was one of the statistics. I had been sexually abused. Wow, what a revelation! Although, I guess I knew it before, I really had not defined it in those terms. But, even with that revelation, there really wasn't anything I could do about it now. I went on trying to live my life, attempting to be a good wife, mother and friend.

This was in 1983 or 1984. I was 24 or 25.

In 1990, while still living in Tennessee, my husband and I flew to Los Angeles to attend the first "70's" reunion held in Long Beach, California. We attended with both of my sisters. I was so excited to reconnect with old friends. During the planning stages of the reunion we received information about different plans for the reunion. We received the schedule and another request in the mail. This request was to vote for your favorite teacher. I don't remember exactly what I did, whether I voted or not. I do recall, however, realizing that there would be a very good possibility that Jack Moyer would be nominated and possibly win the nomination. I didn't think I would be able to stomach that.

So all of my excitement to reconnect with friends was now replaced with fear of his nomination for favorite teacher. I decided to covertly contact the reunion committee and tell them a little of my story. I did let them know that if he was nominated that I would have to say something at the reunion about it and expose him for who he really was. I didn't know at the time that he had won the nomination and they had already told him.

His secret perpetuated even into 1990. Unbelievable!! The reunion committee some how explained to him that they had to withdraw his nomination. I don't know exactly what happened, what they said, or how he took it but somehow they did it. I do believe that the school finally knew, without being officially told, that they had a pedophile working for them.

You see, anytime I had any contact with the school, be it at a reunion, receiving literature in the mail, or getting on the website to look at the content, I was reminded about the three years of abuse. His name and successes were constantly at the forefront. Even after the school was notified via the reunion committee he continued to work for them. It is amazing to me how people can turn a blind eye to sexual abuse only to preserve the benefits they are receiving by doing so. He was a famous teacher, worked with Jane Goodall, published several important science books, saved the islands from destruction. Exposing him would expose them.

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Day Fifteen - Diving back in

So, I've digressed for several days now. I think it just might be that way when you are trying to communicate such inner secrets.

I went back to Miyake several more times. I don't remember the exact number of times but I can remember different people who were there. One time I went with two more girl friends. I don't remember a lot about the visit, however; I do have some incredible pictures reminding me of how beautiful the island was. Several of the pictures depict a secluded beach surrounded by severly tall cliffs. In order to get there we had to drive to another part of the island and park quite a distance from the beach. We then trekked through the forest into an assembly of huge rocks which we then carefully climbed or crawled depending upon the severity of the rise of the rock. As we decended toward the ocean, displayed before us was a beautiful, quiet sheltered jet black beach wrapped by these tall jagged cliffs. It was incredible. I don't remember how long we stayed on that beach that day, but it was just the three of us and Jack. [Later, I was to find out that both of these women had been sexually abused by Jack as well.]

I finally mustered up the courage to go the the shrine. This particular night there was a full moon. It wasn't as dark as usual and I was determined to master this feat and overcome my fear. Jack told the story of the old women who haunted the woods around the shrine. If anyone can remember the story, I would welcome it, either in email or as a comment to my post.

Because we listened the Aretha Franklin and Sly and the Family Stone (amounst others) all the time, I could pretty much sing the lyrics of all their songs. Sly and the Family Stone's song, "You Can Make it if You Try", was my song of choice that night. I walked all the way through the forest up to the shrine, found the wooden spoon and brought it back. I now remember that one of the girls who spent a lot of time on the island actually slept on the steps of the shrine one night. Yikes!! I don't think I could do that.

During other trips I remember there might be one but rarely two guys that went with us. Generally, the guys were the boyfriends of the young marine biologist who frequented the island to do research.

Jack and several other students would go scuba diving and spear fishing during the day. Because I didn't have my scuba license I wasn't able to officially dive, but I was able to use my prescription mask Jack purchased for me to experience the beauty of the marine life surrounding the island. I believe I just remembered why he purchased the mask in the first place. We went snorkling one day and he gave me the spear to spear an eel. He kept on showing me where it was on the bottom of the ocean floor, not realizing that I couldn't see it. Because my vision has been extremely bad even and a young child, I couldn't see a thing with out my glasses or contacts, thus the need for a prescription mask.

Another memory I have is in the kitchen. I recall we all worked together to cook. I don't remember much about the food. I think whenever we went to Miyake we had to give Jack some money but don't really remember what it was. I do remember that we would have the cassette player blaring out music as we prepared the meals each day. I also remember that on the back on the house was a small tatami floored office with all the information from the marine biology study housed in it.

My last memory of visiting Miyake is the night when I placed my mat on the floor in the girls room. I don't know how it happened, I don't remember anything else from that particular trip except that as we were getting ready to go to bed, Either I asked one of the older girls who was there if I could sleep next to her that night or she knew what was happening and asked me if I would like to sleep next to her that night. She welcomed me with open arms and carefully secured a place on the floor next to her mat. She then protected me from the visitor in the night. That was the last of any physical contact I had. To her I can only say, "Thank you for holding my hand."

Jack was furious. When he saw I placed my mat in the other room and I was safe and secure, I guess he realized that I was finished. This was in my freshman year in high school. I was now thirteen or fourteen.

From that point on, I don't recall going to Miyake again. Possibly because that following summer we went back to the States on furlough. In the summer of 1973, we moved to Wake Forest, North Carolina for a year so my dad could attend seminary and get his Doctor of Ministry Degree. We stayed in North Carolina until the following spring. Upon our return to Japan, the first thing I wanted to do was to find Jack and let him know I was back in town.

I called the school to find out when he would be returning from Miyake and return to the school. They told me, so I went out to Tokyo Bay where the boats docked and met him on the pier heading out to the boat. He began walking toward me and I noticed he didn't seem to see me. I called out his name, "Mr. Moyer, Mr. Moyer." He saw me and as he walked past said, "Oh, hi Janet," and continued on his way. I had not seen him for a year. I now understand but was then quite confused and deeply hurt. I thought we had a special relationship. I didn't know what happened.  His dismissal of me hurt me so deeply.

After that, I went on my merry way, only to see him occasionally in the halls, interacting with other students and continuing his JLAP course with the seventh grade class. I don't recall having any other significant contact with him. At this point in my life I didn't know that I should have told someone what had happened to me. In fact, no one knew but me and after being rejected by him at the pier I didn't want anyone to know.

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.