**********The City of Angels is Everywhere*********

At age five, 1954, "The Bishop" (Card. Stritch) stood over me and said, "Stop babbling about what Father Horne did to you." It took me 40 years to talk about it again. Now, I babble. - ke
In 2009 our ongoing coverage of the pedophile epidemic in the Catholic Church will be at http://cityofangels5.blogspot.com/ .

Read more stories by Kay Ebeling, LA city buzz Examiner at http://www.examiner.com/x-1960-LA-City-Buzz-Examiner

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Recovered memory was Reconciliation for me. It explained everything, even lies I told as a spokesperson for NASA.

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By Kay Ebeling


People wonder about recovered memory. I can understand why. I would wonder myself about stories like mine that are part of the clergy crisis in the Catholic Church, if it hadn’t happened to me. Even as a teenager, I was drawn like in a fugue state to movies like Sybil and parts of The Chapman Report that dealt with suppressed memories, and their effects on a person in adult life.

What people don’t realize is how the person having the recovered memory knows the memory is real. In my case and in Peter Saracino’s whose story we posted yesterday, a Reconciliation came with the recovered memory.

Funny to choose the word for the sacrament that comes with Confession, since the perpetrators of our crimes were Catholic priests, but the word Reconciliation really works. For me and others, recovering a long suppressed and affecting memory is like a gonging bell has been going off in your head for decades, and suddenly SPRROOONNNG the bell stops clanging and everything in your life falls into place.

What I created in my mind to remember instead was what any 5 year old child would create if a Catholic priest was towering over them conducting sexual activity.

I thought I had been visited by Michael the Archangel.

I went from age five through teenage and then adult years all the way to age 45 thinking, deep inside to myself, that I had some special sexual thing about me, because of this very special visit i had had from a horny archangel at age five.

Through the 1970s and 1980s therapists told me over and over again that most people remember a few things from before age six. I could never remember anything - ANYTHING - from before age six.

If you can’t remember anything from before an age it is a sign something traumatic happened at that age. I didn't remember anything from before age six.

Then there is the part about the bishop. I’ve pretty well identified him as Cardinal Stritch, who ran the Chicago Archdiocese in the 1940s and 1950s.

The strongest and most vivid memory that was not suppressed but just there in my head my whole life, was that “bishop” standing over me, in a dark room, his face was almost all you could see, and he was saying, “Stop babbling about what Father Horne did to you.” I said to him all of six years old, something like, wouldn't that be lying? And he answered “Sometimes you have to lie in order to protect a greater good.”

Sometimes you have to lie in order to protect a greater good.

That line of dialogue is all over the place in my journals.

It is also all over the case files of the LA Clergy Cases settled in July 2007.

I actually used the bishop and his lying techniques as a spokeswoman for NASA later in life

More decisively, I actually used the persona of that bishop in the Chicago archdiocese later on in my adult life.

I was working at NASA in the Public Information Office, aka Newsroom, at LBJ Space Center in Houston. It was early 1980s, the space shuttle had a lot of design problems, but especially the tiles. That's what is eerie about this connection to the lies of the bishop in Chicago, because it has to do with the tiles, the low-cost budget saving tiles that were put all over the space shuttle airship to protect it on reentry.

Lots of news people were questioning the safety of the tiles back in the late seventies, writers from places like US News and World Report and ABC and the New York Times. First launch of the space shuttle had been delayed for months, into years, and in the press room, we kept putting out stories with later and later projected launch dates for STS-1.

The tiles on the space shuttle were a serious problem as far back as 1978.

Journalists who specialized in aeronautic and space topics were causing the public information office at NASA in Houston a lot of problems.

We found ourselves having to defend a design flaw that a lot of us knew was really a flaw. A more expensive safer technique of protecting the space shuttle on reentry had been shot down, where they would spray one layer of ceramic over the entire ship, with with potential cracks. People blamed it on Nixon era federal overseers.

Journalists who specialized in aeronautic writing were asking, won't the space shuttle burn up in re-entry if there is the slightest nick in a tile.

That is exactly what happened on February 1, 2003, when Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, with the loss of all seven crew members

The tiles cracked like people said they would in 1978, and the Columbia burned up leaving a trail of debris over Texas.

What does that have to do with Cardinal Stritch and my recovered memories?


At NASA we knew the shuttle could burn up in reentry because of cracked tiles back in 1978. Some public information specialists in the newsroom did not even want to deal with questions about the tiles. That is probably how I, the lowest on the totem pole of the group, ended up making any kind of comment to the press.

Probably the journalist worked his way down the office hallway until he got to my door, and since no one else would say anything, he asked me:

Won't the space shuttle burn up on reentry because of a small crack in these tiles?

I’d been briefed by Rockwell. There was a tainted but true message that Rockwell PR had suggested we use when explaining the tile problem to the media. Most of the staff in the PIO balked.

I had no problem at all giving out this almost true information.

I knew deep down inside it was okay to lie for the protection of a greater good.


I donned the persona of the “bishop” from Chicago circa 1954. As the reporter asked me about the tiles, my voice changed, became melodic and higher pitched, and a little sarcasm and condescension entered the tone-

I looked down through my nose and said to the reporter in this melodic voice.

“They have tested these tiles over and over again. They don’t chip. If they do chip or crack, it will not be a problem for the astronauts to repair them during the mission. The space shuttle tiles are not really that big a problem, you are listening to alarmists who just want to keep finding something wrong.”

Something like that. The words aren’t important, because it was me adopting the persona of the bishop. I had to in order to do my duty and tell a lie for the protection of a greater good. . .

Seven astronauts got killed in the Columbia disaster. I knew some of them, though I was long gone from NASA by 2003.

I don't adopt personae anymore. Ever since I experienced that “reconciliation” or ever since the clanging of the bell in the bell jar stopped, I have not needed to adopt persona to make it through life.

Before the recovered memory, I don't think I ever was truly myself.

When I went to work at NASA in 1978, I was adopting the persona of Faye Dunaway in Network. As a hippie mom my persona was a fantasy female in long skirts, flowers in her hair, always graceful and at peace - unless someone brought up the Vietnam War. Then I became a female version of Jerry Ruben. There were years as a yoga instructor, years as editor in chief of a tacky magazine. Through it all, I adopted personae to make it through life.

Recovering the memories caused the clanging to stop. I know I’ll probably never win a lawsuit or get any kind of acknowledgement from the Chicago Archdiocese, as I could never prove my case in court - unless some other victim of Father Thomas Barry Horne in Bartlett Illinois 1950-53 comes forward.

That would be my Confirmation.

Since I can’t prove my case to the constraints of a legal lawsuit, the Catholic Church, ever in servitude and worship of civil law and authority, does not have to acknowledge my case, or give me any help at all.

So now I'm sixty years old.

I was not myself from age 5 to age 45, I was adopting other people’s personalities, lives, mannerisms, speech patterns, not to mention physical appearance. Until age forty-five when the memories came in.

It is hard not to get stuck mourning the loss more or less of 40 years of my life. I have to appreciate that at least I get these “golden” years, to be myself for the first time.

All the behavior that was tormenting me as an aging adult, wondering with no explanation, why did I do this, why did I say that. Plus add the element of sobriety. I had been clean and sober for two years straight, probably the first time in my adult life. Plus in the story add the element that my daughter turned the age I was at the time of the molest, which is such a young age that it’s understandable the memory was suppressed.

I know who I really am now. That is something.

Onward. . .

4 comments:

city of angels lady said...

To You
NASA is one of many jobs I've had. You show your ignorance saying the news staff at NASA are not journalists.

city of angels lady said...

Comment below is meant for the person whose comment I rejected.

Healingtrees said...

Just to let you know I was raped by the Franciscans in Sydney Australia as an 11 year old boy in 1967

healingtreesformen.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm glad you've been made whole. Now you own your life, not some unspoken, unknown shadow. Keep up your good works, please.


Kay