Muggins

I am always amazed how blog posts awaken a memory.

Lottie’s post about being mugged brought back two.

The first happened while I was on holiday in England at the age of twelve. Always underweight and small for my age I would have easily passed as a ten year old. Until now I had forgotten or buried the episode deep down in order not to remember.

While walking along a quiet country road two boys pushed me to the ground with a bicycle. They held me on the ground and although I struggled, they managed to remove my panties.

I won’t go into details but as I think about it today with a shiver, I suppose they were only checking out and testing what they had learned or talked about behind the bike shed at school. Those were days long before sex education was introduced into the school curriculum. It was a terrible experience and one I would not wish happen any girl, young or old. I was in tears when I reached my Aunts house and she called the police. There were endless interviews and questions, in a way I was glad the boys were never found because if they were I would have had to go through it all again in court. After that holiday the topic was never raised. My parents never spoke about it and to this day I have no idea if my aunt ever told them.

The second was when I lived in Germany in the early 1970’s. My apartment had a communal front entrance with a buzzer system of entry. The Penthouse suite contained an apartment and offices for the owner. A gentleman I met through friends became infatuated without reason. Our paths crossed several times at social gatherings, I was courteous but gave no encouragement. Somehow he discovered where I lived and he began to stalk me. One evening the internal doorbell to my apartment rang. Thankfully it had a peep hole viewer and when I looked through it I saw it was my ‘stalker’ I didn’t open the door. It was before we had mobile phones and I did not have a land-line phone installed at the time.

Needless to say sleep evaded me that night and indeed for several weeks. He was still sitting there in the carpeted hallway outside my door all warm and cosy when I went to bed. I have no idea how long he stayed as I resisted the urge to get out of my bed to check. Thankfully in the morning he was gone. I knew the time my neighbours left for work, so I made sure I was walking down the hall at the same time. Several nights later the same thing happened. I followed the same procedure and when I returned from work that evening I made it my business to speak to the caretaker. He said he would have the owners send a note to all residents reminding them not to let anyone in as they opened the front door. All visitors were supposed to buzz the person they had come to visit and only gain access on invitation.

Originally I had gone to see about a ground floor apartment and was surprised that the owners would not let me rent it. They explained that they would not rent a ground floor apartment to a lady living on her own and showed me around an empty one on the first floor which I agreed to take. Many times later I was to feel thankful for that decision. It was a lovely compact home for me in a nice area and I walked through the park to work each day. I did not want to move and nobody was going to push me out. After the third visit I reported my uninvited guest, who had a wife, and I then discovered a history of this kind of behaviour. The last I heard he was admitted as a patient to the Psychiatric Ward of the hospital where I worked.

Thankfully that was the only down point of my time in Germany and there were so many happy times to make up for it. Like the first incident above I buried it deep and moved on.

Now that apartment living is so prevalent in Ireland, just stop for a moment and think before you hold open a door for a stranger. If they are a genuine visitor they will understand why you ask them to press the buzzer!

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16 thoughts on “Muggins

  1. God that’s awful! Both events. I was blessed and never had any nasty experiences in childhood or adulthood for that matter apart from the odd heavy breather over the phone . . they were fixed by a good blow . . .on a netball whistle down the line!

  2. Oooh! Grannymar

    I feel sick in my stomach after reading of both those incidents. Poor old you 😦

    And Lottie’s experience was pretty awful too.

    Your parents probably thought you’d forget about what happened when you were 12 by never mentioning it again but instead, their silence left you to carry the burden alone.

    I also had a horrible experience in Germany while doing a summer job aged eighteen. I left my accommodation to go shopping one day and walked the mile or so alone to town. I soon became aware that I was being stalked by two men and no matter how hard I tried to shake them off by moving location within a shop or by changing shop, they kept following me. I never felt so alone in all my life and with the language barrier, I was too scared to ask for help. I eventually escaped out the side entrance of a shop and ran for my life stopping only once to hide while I caught my breath. Sickeningly, the men followed in their car in hot pursuit and drove up and down the road several times looking for me. I was completely terrified by this stage and stayed put for a long time until I plucked up enough courage to make the final dash for home where I collapsed in a heap to recount my ordeal. I never reported the incident but I was in no doubt that I’d been a target for abduction. I had nightmares about it for a long time afterwards but thankfully can laugh about it now.

    Grannymar – do you charge for this therapeutic service? 😉

  3. Reminds me of a few times when I held the door for some others trying to get into the on-campus accommodation block.

    Kinda makes me glad we were the only apartment on the top floor – no-one ever came up unless they really were coming to visit or they lived there!

  4. @Baino – After the stalker episode a friend gave me a military rescue whistle… now I wonder where I put it?

    @Steph – Poor you! 😦 I am glad you survived unscathed from the episode and hope it didn’t sour your time in Germany.

    @ChrisD – Next time you hold a door open…Think!

  5. Stalking must be one of the most terrifying experiences for the person on the receiving end. I suppose ultimately it’s about wanting power and control over someone. You’re right that people in apartment blocks are too casual about letting people in. They’re too trusting and it probably never occurs to them they could be letting in someone malign.

  6. oh wow, so sorry about what happened. i have been luck so far, as being from brasil the harshest thing that ever happened to me was to be robbed by 2 guys carrying guns, but i was unharmed.
    it makes me sick though to think that men (of any age) still think they can take advantage of women because they are stronger…

  7. GM thats terrible.

    As you say memories awakened by blogs. I had a similar experience to your first one when I was about 9 when my curious next door neighbour decided he wanted to know what “boobies” felt like. I ended up landing in an ants nets trying to protect my modesty. There’s a lot more to your story than mine and yours sounds horrendous you poor thing but it was a scary experience and one I am even a little embarrassed to admit to. Silly isn’t it!

  8. @ Lottie

    You’ve just given a whole new meaning to having…

    “ants in your pants” 😆

    It’s not a laughing matter, I know. Boys have a lot to answer for!

  9. @Nick – Stalking is a horrible experience, but no way near as bad as the first one.

    @Tatoca – How awful for you to be faced with men with guns. I am pleased you were unharmed.

    @Lottie – How awful for you. At 9,12, 18 or 20 I had no ‘boobies’ to feel! 😆 Thankfully we were able to leave these incidents behind and get on with our lives and find love and true happiness.

    @Steph – *smack* Ants in your pants are no fun! 😆

  10. @Steph – Don’t they though!

    It was awful actually because my mother went storming in to the neighbours screaming at the mother to come see what her son had done. I of course was screaming that the ants were still on me and my mum had me in my panties in the back garden hosing my down with the garden hose. The mortification continued.

  11. Grannymar,

    Once, we rented an apartment in Florida for a holiday. At 10 P.M. one night the doorbell rang and I opened the door but left the chain on.

    There was a pizza delivery man standing there with a pizza box in his arms. I told him we had not ordered anything and he confirmed the address. I said that’s the right address but not our order.

    At that he said that he could not go back to the shop with the pizza so we could have it free. Just open the door so I can give it to you. “No, thank you”, said I. “We do not eat pizza”. “Well, said he,” Can I use your phone to call my boss and tell him what has happened?” He was determined to get into the house.

    At that point I simply closed and locked the door and called the police who later called back and told me that they had picked him up at another person’s house using the same story to gain entry. Not only did he not work at the pizza shop, THE PIZZA BOX WAS EMPTY!!!!!

    As the cop on “Hill Street Blues” used to say, “You be careful out there!”

  12. I had a childhood incident, but tattle-tale that I was, I told my Mom and the guy was obviously confronted, because he avoided me like the plague after that. Mom never mentioned it again and it would have been so helpful if I could have talked it out. I just think adults didn’t know how to discuss things like that with children.

    I also had a boyfriend who turned into a stalker threatening to kill me. He did try to choke me and I was terrified. I know now that his threats were probably a power play and he wouldn’t have actually done the dirty deed. I finally got rid of him because the man I was dating (who I later married) confronted him and threatened him. Like all men of that ilk, my stalker was basically a coward and I never saw him again.

  13. @Lottie – That young man’s mother should hav put him sitting in the ants nest!

    @Nancy – I regularly have fast food deliveries to my door – never for me. I don’t open my door at night unless I recognise the person’s voice or an expecting someone to call. Friends usually call first, especially on dark winter nights.

    @Darlene – When we were young, children were not thought to have feelings. In many cases they were not believed. Thankfully nowadays things are different and children are allowed to have feelings, talk about bereavement and abuse.

  14. Oh dear, my sympathies to you Grannymar and to everyone else with similar horrible experiences.
    There were quite a few incidences of dubious types trying to con their way into the ground floor flats (including my own) when I lived in Amsterdam. We always informed the police and one day they brought us all an envelope containing ‘protection information’, which largely consisted of telling us to ‘never let strangers in’ (duh..); a large sticker with ‘beware of the dog’ on it to put in the front room window(!) and an invisible ink marker pen, to write our house number and post code on all our valuables (assuming the crooks made it inside after all)!
    I always slept with pepper spray next to my bed (not legal, but what the heck! ).

  15. Good advice, Grannymar, and I know you must have been scared by both events. As a child (and also as an adult) I have had 4 different men expose their privates to me. It is a very scary thing and not something that a child should have to deal with, since understanding why it happens is impossible to a child, and not much easier for an adult.

  16. @Geri – Thank you. I know someone who carries a can of hairspray in the well of her car in case she is ever attacked. Not sure it is legal… but enough to sting the eyes!

    @Judy – Growing up in the middle of four brothers, dangling privates were not unknown from time to time, so had I come across ‘A Flasher’ I think I would have told him that they were nothing to write home about and to cover them up quick!

    The other alternative is to just point and laugh as loud as you can!

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