Part 89: "He's a Dishonest Slob," she wrote
When we were living in Hollywood, Jan and Riley were walking down Vine Street one day when a man came out of the shadows and followed them. He began stroking Jan’s long brown hair. She bashed him with her purse and yelled “pervert!”
“You didn’t have to hit me,” the pervert said over his shoulder as he ran off.
Riley turned on Jan, he stood in the street, bellowing that she was going to get him in a fight.
“He’ll do anything to stay out of trouble,” she said.
Jan told me that story after I confided that I'd been molested on the sidewalk and Riley didn't do anything. My relationship with my father was altered after that event, and it plays out in my diaries from that year.
After our car accident, Jan had several surgeries on her crushed leg and was on the mend from a massive head injury. She didn’t remember anything from around that time. She’d sometimes read the same book over and over, saying she didn’t remember what she’d just read. Before the accident, she was into science fiction, but after, it was all Harlequin romance books. Maybe those stories were easier for her tired brain to follow.
Riley had an office near Main Street, and he spent a lot of time there, working on the encyclopedia, and connecting with locals. At one point, he told me he was investing in real estate with some guys he’d met, but that never went anywhere. My diaries are full of promises he made, and other entries, all disappointments and anger. It’s funny, Riley was the one who encouraged me from a young age (I started at age 12) to keep a journal, to write everything down, to notice everything. But he didn’t count on how the journals would become a testimony and history to his lies and bad behavior.
Jan began to complain about him more, and that’s reflected in my diary. I refer to Riley as "Hub Cap" for kissing up to the big wheels in town.
On July 11th, 1981, I wrote:
Did you know Hub Cap has cheated on Jan? God knows how many times, but Jan told me at least with 2 women. I had a feeling he had even before she told me. He’s a dishonest slob. He used to take Jan’s money and bounce checks and he still would if Jan hadn’t gotten smarter on how to handle him.
More shit later.
Later I wrote, “Hub Cap got a job, but I’m not supposed to know about it.” I have no idea what that means.
When I got my driver’s license, I ended up going to a party at my friend Tim Baker’s house. He was a teenager, but he had his own house, it and that blew our minds. Anyway, a bunch of kids were parked in front of his house, and when I went to leave, it was dark. I drove a huge white station wagon my parents bought. I tried to back out, to dislodge the giant station wagon from the surrounding cars and ended up gouging out the side of Rhonda Doyle’s little Honda.
I went crying to Riley. There was no insurance. Somehow, he managed to get the cash (did he borrow the money? Did he sell more "shares" in one of his projects?) to pay to have the dent fixed in Rhonda’s car. I felt terrible and was no longer mad at him. I couldn’t stay mad at Riley for long, no one could. I've noticed that since I began interviewing the people who knew him, no seems angry, even if they were at one time.
Between my screw up with the car, and all the money he had to get together for my plastic surgery, he was in financial trouble, and I knew it. When I was 16, he was 63. He had to take out his social security before age 65.
Around this time, he began selling shares of songs to people, not just in Porterville, but in surrounding towns as well. He sold shares in the encyclopedia, as detailed in part 60
There was a man named Jim Valpy, and another man named Ted Ensslin. Ted was mentioned in the Hidden Brain episode. I have no idea how many other "investors" Riley had.
At school, I was on the yearbook staff, an editor of the school newspaper, and active in choir and drama. I spent more and more time with friends, often spending the night at their houses. I wanted to be with other families, with their "normal" seeming problems.
Speaking of friends, my pal Mark Staben fixed up that old, damaged image from the last blog. He cleaned it up real good. Thanks, Mark.