The blow of a whip causes a welt, but a blow of the tongue crushes bones.
~(Ecclesiasticus 28:17 )Apocrypha
The Jordans moved to Colorado in the spring of 1987. Jacob was in fourth grade. Kermode had been transferred from Digital. The Jordans were in good shape financially. That year they made $130,000 and they had sold their California home. With the difference in property values they were able to purchase one of the nicest houses in Sunnywood Manor. They paid cash for a Dodge Ram and bought a lot of furniture. Pamela was finally able to achieve her dream of being a housewife. For approximately one and one half years she stayed home, enjoying her spacious residence, her soap operas, and a life devoid of work schedules and outside pressures.
Jacob was dismayed by the change in Pamela’s routine. She only made his and Charles’s lives more difficult. All that extra time didn’t make her a more loving mother. It simply gave her more opportunity to meddle. For example, the first year they moved to Colorado, Jacob got in trouble on the school bus. Pamela refused to sign the “down slip” so the driver no longer allowed her son to ride. For nearly half a year Jacob pedaled his bike to and from the elementary school, which is approximately four miles from the Jordan home. Part of his punishment took place during the winter when ice covered the road and huge piles of snow obliterated the shoulder, making any journey dangerous. Pam wouldn’t let him cross the street or go to a neighbor’s house supposedly for fear of what might happen, but she ordered an eight-year-old to travel eight miles a day because she was mad at a bus driver? No wonder Jacob lamented that she was totally inconsistent. To him, her actions made no sense. But they didn’t have to.
During Pam’s vacation from work, Jacob felt he couldn’t breathe without her looking over her shoulder. Throughout the school year she volunteered at the elementary building just to watch him, he was sure. The teachers loved her, but the kids said, “Your mom’s a bitch.” Jacob and Charles had always gotten spankings for any unsatisfactory grade, but now Pam was so close with the teachers that she knew Jacob’s grades before he did. Thus, his hell stretched out for weeks instead of just report card day.
Summers were worst because he couldn’t escape to school. Pam even chose what books he and Charlie could read. Children’s books were unacceptable. Rather they had to read something from Kermode’s collection and write reports on them. They weren’t allowed to go to the local library because Pam said it was too much trouble to drive the 2.5 miles and get the boys a library card. Forget about friends coming over. Every time Jacob did something to displease Pam, he was grounded for the entire summer. At this rate he’d be ninety years old before he could do anything.
There was another reason that Jacob didn’t like having his mother home. Charles swears that the sexual abuse with Kermode stopped for him after Colorado. He believes it did for Jacob, as well, because Charles no longer heard him crying in his bedroom when he and Kermode were together. Jacob vehemently insists that nothing could have happened to him on Ridge Drive.
In a curious statement, he told me, “Don’t you think I would have blown them away right then? Kermode knew better than to approach me sexually because when Mom and he read about homosexuals in the paper or talked about them, I said, ‘I’d blow them away.’ Kermode would have had to consider that a warning.”
“How did he respond?” I asked.
“’You don’t have the heart to kill anybody.’”
But there are indications pointing to continued sexual abuse. Jacob still sat in Kermode’s lap until he was twelve or thirteen and “it just didn’t seem right.” When Pamela’s mother visited, Grace was appalled to see how Kermode cuddled Jacob, the “hooded look” that came into his eyes, and how he abruptly hurried to the bathroom. During a Colorado visit when Jacob was nine or ten, Lupe also observed Kermode and Jacob’s odd interaction. Kermode stroked his stepson’s thighs and buttocks the same way he did Pamela’s when she sat on his lap.
“It was as if Jacob was his wife,” she said.
But whether or not Kermode quit molesting Jacob in Colorado, one thing is certain. His mother didn’t.
“This is a memory from early Colorado when Mom wasn’t working, Charles was somewhere. It was summer, late morning, one of the few times I actually penetrated her. I was 11 ½ to 12 years old.
“I was downstairs, (I don’t remember what I was doing) and my mom called me upstairs to her room. When I got there, she was naked, standing in the middle of the room, about four feet from where I’ll kill her later on. I knew instantly what was going on. I embraced her and we kissed. She got on the bed. I undressed and started to caress her and eat her… Anyway, I was hard, so I did what came natural, and stuck it in. After I was done, she lost her ‘loving motherly sweet voice and manner,’ so things went back to normal. Not too many times after this time, the sex stopped.”
Outside corroboration of Pamela’s perversion and predilection for young boys is provided by Lupe Thorson’s own son. Before the Jordans settled in Colorado, the Thorson family had re-located to Minnesota, where Chet Thorson opened a lumber yard. That summer Lupe and her family visited. Her son Eric was fourteen. Lupe had long sensed that Pam disliked Eric, but she couldn’t figure out why. How could you not like a child? So she dismissed her feelings, and when Eric made derogatory remarks about Pamela, Lupe insisted that he treat her best friend with respect. Lupe even ordered him to call her “Aunt,” something Eric refused to do.
Eric hated Pam. He had never forgiven her for slapping his mom right in front of him when he’d been small. And she was so mean to her sons. Eric had also seen other things, like the time when the two families went camping together in the Jordans’ motor home. Charlie and Jacob, who would have been around eleven and seven at the time, had been out playing in the sand. Before being allowed back inside her immaculate motor home, Pam ordered them to take off their clothes outside and get cleaned off. She insisted on personally cleaning their genitals. Perhaps because Pamela always disregarded children, she felt comfortable doing this in front of Eric. And what Eric saw was not someone cleaning genitals but fondling them.
During that same vacation Lupe also observed some disturbing behavior. Kermode got drunk and stripped down to his jock strap. He lounged on the motor home’s couch in front of the boys and made lewd comments to everyone. Pam didn’t seem bothered by his behavior—though why Lupe expected better she didn’t know. Only hours previously, Pam and Kermode had made noisy love separated from the other six people by a few feet and a flimsy door.
“Why do you put up with him?” Lupe asked Pam, after scooting her children safely away from Kermode’s grotesque display.
“He doesn’t drink that much,” Pam responded. “He just has a chemical imbalance that affects him differently.”
Eric kind of liked Kermode but he really, really didn’t like his mother’s best friend. If Pam was in one room, Eric always made it a point to be in another. So imagine his surprise when during the Thorsons’ trip to Colorado, he should have his own personal encounter with Pamela Jean.
After Eric entered the guest bathroom one afternoon, he unzipped his pants and readied to urinate. At that moment the door opened and Pam entered. Without a word she walked over, reached down and grasped his penis.
“I was stunned,” Eric told me later. “I didn’t know what to do. She was so mean and I was afraid of her. So I just finished my business.”
Pamela then ordered him to fondle her chest, which he did. They were interrupted by someone coming up the stairs. She ordered him never to tell anybody and walked out.
Eric kept his secret until six weeks before the trial, though the event so traumatized him that he went into intensive therapy soon after.
Lupe noticed something else during their infrequent times together. Pamela’s increasing regimentation. Pam had always been structured, but even though she wasn’t working, she didn’t relax her rules one bit. She had a time for everything. Weekends were taken up by cleaning, and the boys had chores every evening after school. Pamela was proud of the fact that the kitchen closed promptly at eight p.m. The boys had better not even enter afterward. Every morning Pam laid out their vitamins and orange juice. She told them what to wear, how to comb their hair, when to speak and what to say. The boys reminded Lupe of automatons. While Pamela echoed her earlier comment about Lupe’s own parental laxity, “Someday you’re gonna be sorry,” Lupe was stunned by the look of absolute hatred that flitted across Charles’s face once when Pamela corrected him. Charles’s expression chillingly fit the saying, “If looks could kill.” Lupe never saw that look from Jacob. He just hung his head or disappeared. Like the magician, David Copperfield, her little Jacob-beaner could vanish right before your eyes.
Kermode’s job at Digital, while good, couldn’t afford a $1300 a month house payment and a $500 motor home payment, in addition to other bills. The Jordans were living beyond their means. Pamela tried to ignore their negative cash flow. She loved staying home. Although she had always refused to touch her investments, she started cashing in her stocks and bonds from Pacific Bell. Maybe the money could last until Kermode received enough raises to support the family.
Finally, however, Pamela had to face the truth. Another dream shattered. It wasn’t fair. She had done everything right and they’d been in such great financial shape when they’d moved to Colorado. She had relished writing huge checks—six thousand dollars for furniture, twelve thousand dollars for the Dodge Ram, and even that hadn’t depleted their savings. How could it all go to hell in less than two years? Pamela was furious, but she knew she had no choice. She had to go back to work.
 Looking back, Lupe believes that that wasn’t the only incident with her son. She fears Pam molested him from the time he was two, when Eric suddenly developed severe speech problems. She and Eric also differ as to whether he ever told her about the incident. Lupe swears he didn’t. He believes he did. He definitely did tell his therapist, who, because of confidentiality, kept the incident a secret from Lupe and Chet.
Must we go to bed indeed? Well then, Let us arise and go like men And face with an undaunted tread The long black passage up to bed.
~Robert Louis Stevenson – Northwest Passage, 1, “Good Night”
Chapter 22 (Click to entire chapter.)