Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Some thoughts --- haven't blogged in a while, so this is what I come up with!

------ ENTRY ------
Date:    2015-06-03
Words:   827
Minutes: 19

I have absolutely no idea what brings me to this thought whatsoever, but at this current time, I am engrossed with it. Chip Mize. The man that stole my childhood. Not for the reasons you think. There was no rape or incest or molestation involved. I really didn't even know the man personally. I had a relatively happy childhood. But I say he stole my childhood because he rocked what it meant to be a child. I was 12 when he committed his unspeakable act. He was 23. He turned my world on its head. There comes a point in every child's life where they realize that the world is not a good place to live. It takes some children longer to get to this realization. Because my family was not religious at all, God did not exist. So this has nothing to do with the presense of God. But I was raised in a family where I trusted people. I was fortunate to grow up with two loving parents, a (realtively) normal brother, and a supportive community of friends from various activities around Atlanta. I was a suburban pre-teen. One of my favorite places in the city was Tucker Recreation Center. I went to summer day camp here every summer from the time I was 5 to the time I was 16. They even gave me  my first job when I graduated high school and this is where I realized I had a passion for early childhood education and working with children. But that's besides the point. What happened on that day in 1994? I will remember it like it was yesterday. Which is ironic because I don't remember yesterday at all. I hate when people say that. My best friend at the time, Anne Schipani, told me that she had some disturbing news. I didn't know what disturbing news was. (I told you I'd lived a charmed life up until this point!)

Anne told me that someone we know had done something awful. OK. I had no idea what to do with this information. Her face was so pale, and she didn't continue until I wouldn't go away. I didn't press her for details, but she evenutally let out that her mom had read something horrible about the karate instructor at Tucker Rec Center. I didn't really know the man, but I knew of him. He was a camp counselor, and he was in my room at camp. I had gone to Six Flags with him, and he had led some intense soccer games. I wasn't a student of Karate, but I knew kids who were and loved him. He was so fun! Anne continued to tell me of this article her mom had read. It said that Chip was a murder suspect. He had killed his dad and stabbed is mom a number of times. I went silent. I don't remember what I thought or said after that point. Knowing what I know now about psychology, I went through all the stages of grief. First was denial: no way. Not Chip. Not the guy that was so friendly all the time and let all of the girls hang all over him at the pool. Then came anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Or whatever order those come in. I may or may not have made a C in Psychology 101 sophomore year of college.

I don't know when I accepted this. I don't know if I ever did. I don't know even what makes me think about this now. But I do know that this was the exact point in time that I went from being a carefree child to one that doubted the existence of good in the world. This was the exact event that made me believe that people did evil things. And it rocked my world entirely. He was an adult I trusted. And though he never did anything to me, I was in shock that someone could do that....before now, in my pleasant little town of Decatur, GA (and my small smiley elementary school) no one ever had. I still have a hard time trusting people, and it's not all because of Chip. This event happened before the advent of the Internet (the Internet was to come ten years later) so it left a lot of children and adults with a lot of unanswered questions....) and I have recently learned way more about this case that I will share in later posts with you, but upon thinking about it now, I definitely know more than I ever cared to know. Ah, internet, you never cease to disappoint that way. I will share those details and my thoughts probably in a future post. But until then, do you remember the exact point when you lost your childhood innocence? When you began to question authority and everything you'd been told? What did that feel like? What would you tell your childhood self today?



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