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The shame of gang "rape"-1955 (10-11)

I was “raped” (no underpants)


They were called the Royal Ambassadors. A bunch of Baptist boys, mostly my age, were enough to fill a school bus.


First time to the ocean

Somehow, even though I wasn’t Baptist, I was invited to go along for my first trip to the ocean. A day-long bus ride gave us restless boys many opportunities to come up with entertaining things to do. At first, there was a spitball battle. I loved this and felt I was pretty good at it. I had a raincoat to help protect me from “damage.” 

A new terrible game

Some of the boys began to tire of this spitball game and I heard one boy yell out, “Let’s pull down Johnny’s pants!” I froze in my seat. I thought this was a cruel and humiliating game. I wanted nothing to do with it and was very thankful that I was not Johnny. I scrunched lower in my seat. To no avail. I was the next victim. “Let’s take off Stinkler’s pants.” As my family name was Minkler, I was often called Stinkler, perhaps because we had no running water and I only took a bath once a week. 

I fought and screamed as hard as I could

They grabbed me and I fought and screamed as hard as I could, but six boys together were able to hold me still enough to pull down my pants. And then they discovered I wore no underpants. I never developed that habit until I was well into my teens. They teased me and I felt so humiliated about that also. 


The adults didn't protect me

Although I could partially understand the boys' behavior, what I couldn’t understand and was shocked by was the fact that the two grown men at the front of the bus did nothing to stop this game. Perhaps there were thinking, “Boys will be boys…no harm done.”

I never told anyone about this until I was in my late twenties

My shame about this was so deep, and I kept things pretty close to my chest anyway, emulating my mother, that I didn’t share this incident with anyone until my late twenties.


I did consider sharing it with my mother, but I knew it would just make her furious and she couldn’t do anything about it anyway.

More trouble with the Royal Ambassadors


I was fascinated by the ocean and the sea plants and creatures that I found on and near the beach. I so much wanted to take them home with me. We were housed in a dormitory with bunk beds and an adjacent toilet room. The only feasible place to store my finds were in tin cans filled with seawater that I put against a wall in the toilet room. But my plan failed. Some of the boys peed into the cans. I was livid and felt so helpless and lay crying in my bed. 

Learning that masturbation is wrong

My father had never spoken to me about sex. My mother did all that, until my father noticed that, during some horseplay in our pajamas, that my penis was noticeably hard.


Man-to-man talk

So he decided it was time for a man-to-man talk. I remember three things about that talk while we sat on the porch steps outside our country home.


First, he said, avoid sex with’s bad. Second, if you’re getting too turned on by a girl, excuse yourself to the bathroom and splash cold water on your face. Third, be a good boy and don’t masturbate. Since I felt no attraction to boys, I didn’t see avoiding that as a problem. And since I didn’t know what masturbation was yet, it didn’t seem like a problem to not do it. That was the first and last time my father ever spoke to me about sex. 

Discovering masturbation six months later

When I did discover masturbation, maybe six months later, just on my own, I thought, “Oh, my God! This is why people talk or want to talk about sex. Now I know!” But, remembering what my father said, and perhaps picking up some general vibes from my mother about “sex without love,” I felt guilty and promised myself I would not do it again.


I kept promising and breaking my promise over and over until I was nineteen

That pledge last one or two days, then I would masturbate again. I would feel guilty again and promise again. This guilt-filled world continued until I was nineteen years old and reading Kinsey’s books on male and female sexuality and discovered that masturbation was healthy and nothing to feel guilty about.


Mama didn't think masturbation was wrong; it just did occur to her to mention it

Years later, as an adult, I asked my mother what she thought of masturbation. She said it was fine. I then asked her, why didn’t you tell me about masturbation when you were telling us about sex? She replied, “It just never occurred to me.”

Pre-masturbation fantasies


Considering myself sexually literate since my mother taught me about sex since I was five, I knew that to “mate” (the word my mother used) with a girl I would put my penis inside her vagina. That’s it, I thought, since my mother didn’t mention any more details. In bed at night, during the winter, lying on my back, I would hold my hard penis wrapped in a bit of sheet warmed by the electric blanket.


Sex without pubic hair, I thought, was better

Since, I had no public hair myself yet, my imagination swooned with the idea of my penis being inside the pubic-hair-free vagina of one of my pretty classmates, holding each other in a tight embrace. I would have felt quite guilty if this had been a reality. My mother said I should be married first before having sex. The idea of “mating” with one of my pretty classmates was my ever-recurring daydream. 

How I got out of my chores

With my mother “no” meant no and “yes” meant yes...with one exception that I discovered and made good use of. 

My mother never got along with her nine-year-younger brother, Art. Consequently, she would go out of her way to support my sister and me in having a good relationship.


When I was supposed to be doing some chore, like digging out a tree stump in the yard, I knew that if I said to my mother, “I want to play with Karen,” she would allow me to do my chores another time. Even though I didn’t always relish playing with my sister, it often trumped doing my chores. 

First-ever career idea


I decided I was going to be a beef cattle farmer. I joined the FFA (Future Farmers of America) at school.

A culture without so much violence?


I had some awareness that adults seemed to live in a world where the possibility of everyday violence was small, unlike the subculture that existed in my neighborhood among boys my age and under. I looked forward to entering that adult culture.


Later, of course, I learned that some subcultures of adults could also be violent...and that, living in a lower-middle-class neighborhood at that time, the subculture of boys was likely more violent than in more middle-class neighborhoods. 

Dateline 1955

“The Seven Year Itch” with Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell premiered.


The classic television show "Gunsmoke" made its debut on CBS on September 10th. I watched a lot of this.






Polio vaccine


Jonas Salk's polio vaccine is declared safe and effective in April.

"The Mickey Mouse Club"

"The Mickey Mouse Club" debuted on ABC. When we got a TV, I loved watching this show.

Disneyland opened in California on July 17th.


The war that kept going forever

The United States begins its involvement in the Vietnam conflict.


Ray Kroc started the McDonald's fast-food restaurant chain.

Elvis Presley causes riots

The first riot at an Elvis Presley concert took place in Jacksonville, Florida.

World population


Reaches 2.77 billion.

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