A couple of months ago, E. H., the youngest son of one of my parents’ friends, was diagnosed with Leukemia, a fairly advanced stage, with the only possible cure a bone marrow transplant. E. who lives in southwest Iowa is my oldest sister’s brother-in-law, a couple of years younger than she and nine years older than I.
A slight and skinny man, rail thin, with a face that has always seemed diminutive to me, this 79-year old man, cannot speak or hear. And he was never taught standard sign language; from what I understand, a decision made by his parents. Over the years, E. H. created personal hand gestures of his own that was accompanied by various sounds and he learned to read and write some. His mother and father were friends of my parents long before my older sister and their oldest son married, a marriage that lasted until the children were grown.
E. H.’s oldest brother, my sister’s ex-husband, was a hard-drinking man during his years in the service and more so after he returned from his tour of duty in Vietnam. After he and my oldest sister divorced, my sister eventually moved from what was their home on Flathead Lake to Kalispell. After a drunken rampage during which her ex-husband shot and injured a man whom he thought was an intruder, my ex-brother-in-law moved from Montana back to his home town. Years later, after he died, his children returned from Montana to help clean up the house and ready it and the contents for sale, but it was no use. The building was in such sad shape that it had to be demolished. But there is so much more to the story.
I remember not being very old when E. H. first pestered me when his parents came to visit When he became a teenager with desires, I became the object of his somewhat ineffective and juvenile sexual intentions. When I was four or so, playing in a sand box that my father had made north of the house, and E. H. was age 13 or 14, E. H. would expose himself to me. I would be frightened and run and hide. Going to my mother and father was useless, for they understood that one doesn’t become upset with someone who has and always will have an immature mind. Even when I was adult, even during both of my marriages, E. H. would gesture to me as if he pleasuring himself. At the same time he would rapidly point at me and back at himself to indicate we should make a connection. I would shake my head no and walk away, which was often whenever he was around.