Month: October 2019

Happy Halloween!

… Happy Halloween from the Orchid Thief.

My memories of Halloween are all warm and pleasant. So much of my childhood was tainted, save for some reason, Halloween. I wish you all a safe and fun evening.

John Laroche Halloween 1967
October 31, 1967

Disneyland – Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House

This played on the “Hi-Fi” every Halloween.

Thank God, I’m a Heathen!

… in which Mr John had to choose between Jew or Jesus and chose none of the above.

A short story about religion, God, and a confused child: child abuse can come in many forms. This one was pretty bad.

Growing up, I was raised as a Jew. I went to Hebrew school, and my mother took me to the temple. She spoke often of her relations who remained in Poland and died in the Holocaust. I knew a fair bit of Hebrew and peppered Yiddish into my conversations.

My great uncle Kajetan. The most amazing mustache ever. Sporting medals earned in WW1, died in 1942
Will Laroche, studying to be a priest
Why he left was a mystery.

My adoptive father was Catholic. This wasn’t a bad thing, as we got to celebrate Christmas AND Chanukah. As I grew older, (and this was explained to me later), my father wanted to go to church. He was, as it turned out, profoundly religious, and at one time had studied to be a priest.

So, one day, we all went to church, followed by Sunday school. This was a long time ago, and all I remember was confusion and anger and being scared. Being tossed into the deep end of a religion with no explanation is pretty traumatic; even more so if it’s Catholicism.

Jesus died for your sins” – I sinned? When? How could Jesus know if I cheated on a test? I wasn’t even born when he died. It makes no sense.

Jesus rose from the dead” – I knew about zombies, and I was having a hard time dealing with God being a zombie.

In the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost” – GHOST! What ghost?

Me with Xmas Present
Another Happy Kid on Xmas

Go up and get Communion, It’s the body of Christ” – You mean that is a piece of Jesus’s corpse? Yuck.

Each weekend for years, I went to the temple on Saturday and church on Sunday. At Sunday school, I was introduced to the “real” nature of Zombie Jesus, The Holy Ghost, and my Eternal Soul. To me, it was stifling and scary.  At Hebrew school, we learned about all sorts of cool stuff, memorized and recited prayers, baked Challah bread, and it was fun.

Sadly, the longer this went on, the more I became disenchanted with both religions. Kids discovered I was practicing both faiths. The Jewish kids, who had once been my friends, now teased me about Zombie Jesus and the Holy Ghost. The goyim (catholic kids) called me Christ Killer and Jew Boy.

At one point, it was explained to me that the parents wanted me to experience both of my heritage religions, and this could guide me to make my own choices later on in life. However, moving forward, though, we would be a Christian family. I was gutted. To further drive home the point that I was now officially Catholic, I was sent to a Catholic middle school.

Under the council of my friend, Suzy (I will formally introduce you to her later), I was persuaded to “go with it,” “keep to myself” and stick out the two years. She was convinced that when High School came around, I would be allowed to go to North Miami Beach High School (where she went), and everything would be great.

This advice was ignored. I was an angry, rebellious asshole, and so I entered “Jesus school” with an impossibly lousy attitude.

I remember early on being asked to write a paper on “What Jesus Means to Me.”  I concocted a narrative.

The nuns did not appreciate this at all. Back then, corporal punishment was the rule, and I got bare-assed paddled until the welts bled. That afternoon I was given detention with one of the few teachers that weren’t a nun. She convinced me that blending in was the best for me and to “go with it.”  I still contest that there is no wrong way to answer “What Jesus Means to Me.”

It took a while for me to get the message. Once, during some talent thing, I selected stand-up comedy. I wore nude pantyhose under my pants with a giant cock and balls drawn on them. I started my act my dropping my pants and announcing, “I’d like to share something with you all that I am very proud of.”  I was drug off stage by the ear and beaten yet again. They just never got my humor.

Eventually, I was assimilated into the Catholic culture. They made me an Altar Boy, and I read the pre sermon thing. I also discovered dope. The second year of middle school was much better. I kept mostly to myself and learned that the wind blew just right behind the outdoor bathrooms, masking the smell of a joint. Add in some quaaludes, and middle school became acceptable. I didn’t have a girlfriend, but I did deflower a few girls. I had my first great crush, but the fact she had a 17-year-old boyfriend meant anything with her was off the table.

As my sentence (the school term) was coming to an end, I looked forward to joining Suzy at North Miami Beach Senior High. These hopes were dashed, though. My parents were so proud of how I had become such a good Christian student they were going to send me to a Catholic high school. They wanted to protect me from “the bad influences.” They didn’t know that I was “the bad influence.” I went to high school, and no one had any clue about my “origin story.” The “Offical Story” was that I was a Catholic, and that was it. Easy, straightforward, no conflict.

After high school, after marrying a Secular Pagan, after seeing all the horrible things people do in the name of God and their religions, and all the horrendous things that have I dealt with my life, I have settled on Apathetic Agnostic.

I didn’t know that was a thing until recently, but it fits how I feel; no debate without the word faith involved can prove or disprove “God.” To that regard, if there is a “God,” then great. If not, then that is fine as well. “God” has no direct effect on my life. If there is an afterlife, then “Yay,” otherwise, I will just be gone.

In spite of all my heathenistic and sinful ways in my past, today, I choose to live with only one goal; to be kind. If kindness were the predominant goal of corporations, bureaucrats, and individuals, most of our problems would be solved, and life would be joyous and beautiful for us all.

The Dandy Warhols – Godless

“Let’s keep God and criminalize religion.”

Why Would You Do This to a Kid?

… in which Mr. John talks about the formative influence of mental abuse

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” This adage, popularized in the mid-1800s and enforced on boomers and late boomers like me, was supposed to help steel you from verbal abuse and bullying. Verbal and mental abuse is like death by one thousand papercuts. It changes you, twists you into something you barely recognize.

John at Five
John at Five

Here I am at 5, enjoying a pretty care-free life. I didn’t know I was being abused. I was innocent and just thought that this was normal. My abuse at this age was “knowledge.” Knowing things that no little person should know.

The freak. The strange kid.

Pee Wee
Pee Wee. My First Great Love.

As a youngster, I knew the word “suicide” and that my Mommy tried it twice. It makes for some fascinating playground talk until a parent gets wind of it and tells their child to avoid “the weird kid.” I had a puppy! I loved to play with bugs and snakes and climb trees! I wasn’t weird!


When the Librium bottle was out, all bets were off.

As early as I could remember, my mother would wake me up in the “middle of the night,” which as a kid, could have been 9 pm or 3 am; the result was the same. We would have a “Party.” Sleepy eyed, I was greeted at the kitchen table with cookies and milk. Then I would listen to “tales from my mother,” otherwise known as “how to mind fuck a little boy.”


She shared all sorts of things that a little boy shouldn’t know; how my sister died, how my “real father” was a dick and did all kinds of horrible things to her, stories of her childhood and how her parents beat her.

Betrayal and Anger.

As an adult, I know now that she was stoned, drunk, mentally ill, and venting to a captive audience. I wish my father had stepped in and put an end to it at the time. He had his issues and drowned himself in his job, so he either couldn’t see what was around him or could pretend he didn’t.  I do not doubt that she made his life hell too.


The Pennsylvania Hotel
The Pennsylvania Hotel Hellertown, PA, My Mother’s Childhood Home.

One gruesome and scarring story was about a pet puppy she had. Supposedly it was a dachshund puppy, and her parents made her keep it in the cellar when she wasn’t playing with it. According to the tale, one night, the little puppy was nosing around behind a large refrigerator. It stuck its nose through a grate and had the tip cut off by the compressor fan. She woke up in the morning to find the pup dead, having bled out from its wound. The story continued that she was beaten for the incident and denied pets moving forward.

An epilogue to the story was that she later found a lost kitten. Her mother made her put it in a sack and drowned it in a well.

She talked of cutting the heads off of chickens, being raped, and more things that I successfully pushed from memory over the years.

Unwanted Accident. Anger and Guilt.

4th of July 1970. I still remember that red and white check shirt. I need to go back in time and tell me to get that hand off hip

One revelation that I can’t forget is her announcement one evening that she didn’t love my adopted father. The consolation was that she was learning to love him, but she married so that I would have a family. I was unplanned, and she made this great “sacrifice” for me. In 1962 Wilfred was 41, and Mother was 28.  Now I am older. I realize how fucked up this was.

Night after night, this continued for years.

Broken Mother.

Sand Art as a Metaphor
Sand Art Bottles

One night Mother went away, and I stayed with neighbors for a while. When she returned, the green and black pills were gone. Years later, I figured out that she had overdosed on the benzo and anti-psychotics she was on and after had a time out in a mental facility.  After that, things were better for a time, at least.

My abuse over the years wasn’t neatly layered upon me. It came in waves, sometimes subtle, others violent and painful.

Data visualization was one of my specialties when I was an application developer, and sand art in a bottle is a perfect visual aid of how my abusive childhood was.

Our story of this angry child will continue.

Pink Floyd – Mother

“Mama’s gonna make all of your Nightmares come true. Mama’s gonna put all of her fears into you.”

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén