Chapter 2   -  From Bad Billy to Dr Hugh

Chapter 2 Illustration

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   I was named Hugh William Harmon, but everyone began calling me Billy early on. I was not initially wanted by my father, but I was loved and revered by him after my birth. I never felt a real closeness or bonding with my mother, perhaps a result of the near fatal diarrhea I suffered the first few months of my life. I could not tolerate milk or soy milk substitutes and was slowly starving and dehydrating to death. Dr. Paul Popono, a renowned naturalist and writer, happened to visit the family. After taking one look at my dehydrated, starving body, he gathered dates from the palms in our front yard, stewed them in water, and put the resulting inverted sugar water in my bottle. After that I thrived, and though I grew up during the depression, I seldom lacked for anything. My grandparents were doting, my older brother and I were close, I had lots of friends, and, perhaps best of all, I raised my very own horse. From the outside, it was an ideal childhood. Yet, I never really felt a sense of completeness within my family, maybe because from the inside it was less than ideal.

    My father and mother suffered through so much dissension between them that by the time I was in high school they hardly spoke to one another and although they continued to live in the same house they were rarely in the same room together. I became determined never to marry, terrified I would end up like my father - locked in a dead relationship with a controlling and domineering woman.

    My mother was strong, but controlling, domineering, and manipulative. She could and would force us to do anything she needed or wanted done. For me, the worst was when she made me "take care of" the animals. We had a large property in a very small town and people would often dump unwanted pets and strays on our land, knowing the Harmons would take care of them. We did. When the animals got to be too numerous, which never took too long, mother would tell me the animals were slowly starving. She insisted because I loved animals it was my responsibility to take them to the desert and shoot them. I was eight years old when it began. I loved animals deeply. But it was my job to destroy them. Mother convinced me that it was my job and there was certainly no bucking mother in anything. It nearly destroyed me, and I began searching for a way to save the animals.

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(Published 1998)

The Act of Creation
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    The only way, really, was to keep them from multiplying. I already knew I could communicate with animals mentally. By using my mind and thinking what I wanted them to do, I could usually get them to do it. So, in my mind, I "told" the females to stop going into heat. It seemed to me there was a change - shorter, less frequent heats, and smaller litters, but they still over-multiplied. However, I was convinced I was communicating better and better with their minds. Such was the beginning of my lifelong interest in the mind and the powers of the mind.

    The second major influence on my life´s work was my sexual development. My first sexual experience was when I was four years old. I was in my bedroom playing with my toys when an eight year old relative came into the room and began playing a different sort of game with me. One that led to mutual masturbation and oral copulation. I was intrigued by our play and participated willingly. What we were doing felt good. Then he fiercely warned me NOT TO TELL! I wasn´t sure what I wasn´t supposed to tell or why and I was at an age when secrets were very difficult to keep. I began to feel very burdened by the need for secrecy and wanted to stop.

   He would not let me stop, and that confused, scared, and upset me. Now everything felt bad ~ my tummy hurt, my genitals were sore, and my head was aching. I wanted to cry. He began to moan, then he ejaculated. I was terrified. I thought I´d hurt him terribly. Laughing at me, he said he had "done it right", but I hadn´t. He continued to tease me, and I began to worry there was something wrong with me. I didn´t know who to ask though, because I couldn´t "tell". When he left, I was feeling a lot of heavy feelings for a little boy.

    Now, it is not unusual, abnormal, or wrong for children to experiment with each other physically. Sexuality is meant to be a process that unfolds gradually and naturally within ones peer group at a pace and level that is comfortable and unforced. It is when one is manipulated, seduced, betrayed, or forced into any activity for which one is not prepared - whether emotionally, mentally, or physically - that it becomes abusive.

    My next sexual encounter was when I was six. A playmate, an eight year old girl, pulled me aside, whispering she knew a "good game". The game was vaginal penetration and was of only mild interest to me. There were a lot more fun and interesting things to do and after our brief "play" we ran off to do them. Unlike the experience when I was four, I carry no negative thoughts or feelings from that experience. I hadn´t been forced into it. I was able to stop when I wanted. And while I knew it was a "secret" I shouldn´t tell any adults, there wasn´t much I did by age six that I would tell an adult anyway, so I wasn´t burdened with guilt or shame. It had been just another silly and naughty thing we kids would do behind the adults´ backs.

    When I was eight and a half years old, I was manipulated into sexual activity by an army Master Sergeant living on the Army Air Corp Post near us. I liked being on the Air Corp Post. I also liked the gifts and privileges I was given by the Sergeant and didn´t mind too much the favors I had to do in return. Those favors were sexual. He often had me watch while he masturbated himself and sometimes he would masturbate me manually or orally, though he was a very gentle man and made a game of it. I´d been taught to respect adults and the Master Sergeant told me what we were doing wasn´t bad. Still, I felt inwardly that something was not right. Perhaps because we always hid in the mesquite bushes and he was always very nervous upon our return to his offices.

    This arrangement continued until an Army Provost Marshal, who knew of the man´s reputation, began to notice our friendship. The Provost Marshall was a friend of my family and, after restricting me from visiting the base, he told my parents of the Sergeant´s reputation and his suspicions of what might have been happening to me. My parents only comment to me after hearing this was, "The Sergeant doesn´t sound like a very nice man, perhaps you´d best not see him again."

    When I was eleven, I met another man who, like the Sergeant, began to shower me with attention. He was quite a famous actor, with a large, lavish ranch, and he flew his own airplane. I loved it at his ranch. Things were always happening there to excite an 11 year old boy, including lots of parties with famous, and infamous, Hollywood actors and actresses. Best of all, he started taking me up in his PT 19 Army Trainer and teaching me to fly. Unfortunately he, too, began to require sexual favors. I disliked this activity, but I was reluctant to give up the flying lessons and the fun I had at the ranch. As the favors began to escalate, however, I decided the fun and the flying weren´t worth it. I just wanted to end the association.

    My mother, however, made that almost impossible to do. She was thrilled such a famous person was taking an interest in me and she was hopeful he would make me famous. I could already sing and dance and I could mimic anyone or anything. One of my early childhood playmates had been Shirley Temple and my mother had dreams of my becoming a star like her. I felt quite betrayed by mother. She must have known the man she was pushing me towards was a homosexual. He lived openly with a well-known author and playwright, a man whom everyone knew to be homosexual. I did try to tell her about the things he was making me do, but she would refuse to discuss my relationship with him beyond insisting I promote it as much as possible. She must have known what was going on, especially considering my previous experiences with the Master Sergeant. My sense of betrayal by my mother would continue to haunt me for many years.

    When my mother would not listen or help, I turned to another woman. She was a sophisticated woman, a friend of my family and a friend of the actor in question. Though well aware of his sexual orientation, she refused my request for help. Laughing, she told me to "act like a big boy" and handle it myself. Her ridicule shamed me and her refusal to help hurt me. With no one else to turn to, I did "act like a big boy". I told the actor that while I liked him and enjoyed our adventures together - and while I DEARLY loved learning to fly - I wanted to end the sexual stuff. That ended that. I lost my beloved lessons in flying, as well as a great deal of trust in the adults around me.

    Years later I would interview a police detective assigned to cover "chicken hawks", the name given to those adult males who sexually prey on young boys. He said he´d spent his life trying to educate parents to the astounding number of "chicken hawks" in their children´s lives. "Camp counselors, YMCA instructors, boy scout and cub scout leaders, sports coaches, teachers, priests, even policemen - no field is free of them. Naturally, the hawks will go where the chickens are," he said.

    Parents - and other trusted family members ~ must establish and encourage, from a very early age, open communication with their children. It is SO VERY easy to manipulate and coerce children, as most children have been taught to respect and obey adults, no matter what. It is very easy to convince a child that what is happening (especially if it feels good at some level) is the child´s "fault" or that the child "asked for it" or that the child will "get in trouble" if the child "tells". It is important to teach children to respect adults, but to know that NO adult has the right to do anything that the child must "keep secret". It is my strong belief, and the belief of many in my field of work, that the "secrets" people keep - from themselves and others - brings illness, disease, addictions, and destructive behaviors.

     Sexual abuse and molest are powerful secrets that people often feel must be kept. That idea is slowly dying. Sexual abuse and molest are not more frequent today. People today are more willing to talk about it. Being more willing to talk about it encourages more and more of us who have suffered from it to tell our secrets.



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