I knew I wasn't losing my mind. I knew it was around here somewhere.
I have written about the Goler Clan before. They are the inbred family in the Annapolis Valley (well, technically, the South Mountain overlooking the Valley) whom "normal" folk ignored for decades until, in 1984 or so, one girl in the family complained to the right person that she was being molested, and an awful lot of them were arrested and went to trial.
It was a very big story at the time. Then, it was over; and since the details were so salacious, and embarrassing to the hoity-toities who didn't want to hear about it, since it made them squeamish and made them look bad for not doing something sooner, the story was filed away.
Fast forward to 1997 when a couple of journalists, along with that girl who reported the abuse (Donna Goler), produced this book:
There were many tv interviews about the book, and at least one damning radio call-in show featuring the late Terry Thomas interviewing Donna. Who should call in, but her mother, attempting to refute everything that had been proved in court years before. I have that call-in show and must re-digitize it from the native cassette, as the CD I produced from it went astray some time ago. I likely have one or two of the TV interviews, too, on vhs. Good luck finding the tape, so I can digitize its contents.
But I digress.
I bought that book for my sister for Christmas in 1997. As far as I know, it still sits on her bookshelf. I waited until the following November to pick up the paperback. Somewhere along the way, I thought I had lent it to Patricia, but she denied it. The book disappeared into the ether somewhere. A couple of years ago, I bought a replacement copy. I think it's a hardcover. 20 bucks or so. I wouldn't have sold the original. I wouldn't have given it away. But I knew not where it was.
Until Monday evening.
I was sifting through some ephemera Monday evening in anticipation of putting it in a clear plastic bag to go out with my recycling on January 5th, when the book revealed itself to me.
Now, I officially have two copies of the book again. And since the details in the book are so raw and emotional, and since it names names of both the accused and the victims (a definite no-no in 2015 Canada, where privacy rights overrule common sense) there is no way this book could ever be reprinted, not without changing a great deal of the content, starting with the subtitle of the damned book.
I am not sure what to do with the extra copy. I know of a woman who runs a used bookstore in Upper Tantallon who has a copy of the book in hardcover and wants 60 dollars for it. Eventually, she will get that 60 dollars.
I am reluctant to lend the book, or any book for that matter. Too many people are irresponsible with books lent to them, thinking it is their property to do with as they wish; underlining special passages; folding back the pages to use as bookmarks (because they have never heard of bookmarks); placing the book on a table or whatnot, open, destroying the spine; reading it in the bathroom and inadvertently pissing on it; or what have you. Or my favourite. I lend a book, and the person denies ever receiving it, or thinks it is a gift, the way Putin claimed Robert Kraft's Superbowl ring as his own. I don't like to lend books, and now you know why.
So, I guess I will keep this second copy of the book. Some day, I will read it all the way through, and then take multiple showers to try to get the stench of it off me.
Maybe, just maybe, I will wish I hadn't found that book on Monday night.
See you tomorrow.
I interviewed the authors when that book came out. One of the things that they talked about, and that was in the book, that I found interesting was how spooky they found the drive up the south mountain from that road across from where Horton High School used to be. I was creeped out by that drive every time I made it -- we used to go that way sometimes to get to Lumsden's Dam -- and never knew why. It wasn't like I'd never seen run-down houses before -- though maybe not quite that run-down, and I almost never saw people. There was just a sense of it being a bad place, a place to get out of quickly. I thought when I was reading it that it was strange they'd start out with the geological history of the Annapolis Valley but it has over time come to make sense to me. We are in many ways shaped by our environment. I only ever read the book once, and that was enough. Still have my copy, though.
I hate the phrase "this is an important book", but I guess this one is. Any book that makes you realize that you are lucky and that there are a lot of people who have it worse, that they live hellish existences, is probably "an important book".
I am glad they did this book. I am glad they did it when they did it, because it could never be published this way again, because of privacy laws. Better that we know their names than to have them covered up.
I know what you mean about the road up to Black Rock being creepy, though. I always felt uncomfortable driving up that way, and to this day, I don't go up there unless I have to. And I don't have to.
One never hears about the Golers any more, though. Have they finally died out?
Unfortunately, I don't think so. I think the lucky ones changed their names and moved away but some are still there.
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