Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop ~ Childhood Fears

In 1975 I was five years old. My sister was and still is, five years older than me. In 1975 she was a Girl Scout. She was in a troop that occasionally met at the homes of the girls. I can’t honestly say that I remember a lot of that time because I was five but I’ve heard so much about the event that I’m going to describe that I feel like I remember. I can’t separate what I actually remember from what I’ve been told or seen on TV over the years so I just stopped trying.

While I may not remember the actual event, I remember seeing so much about it on television for years that it ended up being a big part of my childhood. I certainly remember the feelings that surrounded the rape and murder of a girl in my sister’s Girl Scout troop.

Marcia Trimble left home after school one day to deliver Girl Scout cookies to a lady across the street from her house and never came home. She didn’t take her jacket because as she told her mom on the way out the door, “I’ll be right back!” The lady who she was delivering the cookies to swears she saw Marcia and two others in her driveway and went to get her purse so she could pay for the cookies but when she came back to the window, no one was there and her cookies were never delivered.

There was a crazy hunt for this 9 year old girl around Nashville and it was on the news all day and night. She was missing for over a month and I remember there being all kinds of theories as to what happened to her. I remember a reporter talking about how she had been carrying a bag and the bag had her name on the outside and they theorized that that could have been used by someone to lure her away. I guess acting like he knew her name to trick her into going with him. Now I don’t even know if she had a bag. You know how people on the news like to make shit up sometimes when they should just be reporting but this stuck with me for some reason over these last 35 years and it’s because of this that I refuse to let my children have backpacks, bags, t-shirts or hats with their names on it. I made one without thinking for Owen when he was younger that said “Hurricane Owen” but once I remembered this, I got rid of it. It just isn’t worth the worry that something like that would bring for me. I don't know if this is a rational childhood fear or not and I don't really even care. It stuck with me all these years so it's ingrained. It's kind of like when I go to Sears, I think about Adam Walsh every time I walk through the door. Every single time. While I hate thinking of such horrible things, it makes me more vigilant with my own children. Maybe that is the legacy of murdered children. Maybe they've made my children safer by leaving such terrible memories for everyone.

On Easter Sunday in 1975 they found Marcia Trimble's body in the back corner of an open, detached garage, under an overturned blue plastic swimming pool, less than 200 yards from her home. They'd searched the garage once before and found nothing. I don't know if that means that it was poorly searched or that she wasn't there the first time but at the time this was a upscale all white neighborhood. The only reason I mention that is because I remember a lot of people saying that it would have had to have been a white guy that did it because everyone would have noticed a black man in that neighborhood. Perhaps it's that backwards thinking that took so long to find who did it.

It took almost 35 years for them to arrest and convict the asshat that did this and this is him, then and now:

I can't imagine that this brings much solace to her mother but perhaps knowing that this man will die in prison helps. He has a long history of assault, rape and molestation and had just been paroled from serving a 60 year sentence for rape. I think he'd been out less than 30 days before he murdered a Vanderbilt student and then Marcia Trimble.

So, yeah, this is something I've carried from my childhood. How could you not? I've kept up with this story over the years wondering if they'd ever figure out who did it. I would check once or twice a year and then more often once I got a PC in my home all those years ago. It came up again today while I was searching for a tote bag for my son's first day of preschool. The only ones I could find were ones that came with his name embroidered on the outside and I refused to buy one of those so I asked my friends if they had one we could borrow. One of them asked me why I didn't want one with his name on the outside and to me that's such a natural thing that I was surprised at her question but if this hasn't been your experience, maybe you just don't think about it. I envy that.

I was glad to see that they'd arrested someone and that the DNA, which was handled poorly because it didn't mean as much back then, matched this person who is the best definition of a career criminal. I hope if nothing else, it gives her mother some peace. The last 35 years must have been nothing short of a nightmare. I think there are many things that you want for your children but having their own Wikapedia page, just isn't one of them.

Mama's Losin' It


  1. That is so tragic. I can imagine that you would carry that with you your entire life being as close to it as you were. Visiting from Mama Kat's.

  2. What a terrible thing!

    I understand your fear and agree fully! I never put my children's name on anything that people can see. It's just to dangerous and sadly enough you can't trust people anymore.

    Stopped by from Mama Kat's.

  3. Oh yikes... that would instill the same fear in me. What a horrible thing to know as a child... I think this is every parent's worse nightmare.

  4. Wow.. that is horrible. I never even thought of the fact that stuff with a kid's name can help a stranger lure them over.. So scary.

  5. WOW. Such a tragic story. I'm glad they found out who did it.. even if it did take them so long to figure it out.

    And I'm the same way about my girls. Their names are on NOTHING they own. Skylar has her's written on the BOTTOM of her backpack, in case it gets lost. But I was always taught as a kid never to have your name on anything you wear, and why.

    Great post! Stopped by from Mama Kat's.

  6. So very tragic. It is stories like these that make me very protective of my children. In today;s world you can take no chances. I'm very glad they caught this guy, but my heart goes out to the family.

  7. Wow, that's quite a story, and I can see how it impacted you. I had a boss who never let otherwise trusted drivers drive her children around, even if it was sprinkling, because a relative had been killed by sliding off the road in a rainstorm. We live in Florida -- it rains a lot here! But when you have a fear, you have a fear ......... maybe sharing it with all of us will help you in the tinest way!

  8. What a story. I can understand your fear because children dont know how to digest this stuff. I am glad her murderer was caught.
    Visiting from mama kats