Chapter 8 Jeopardy


One night I went to a bar downtown with my friend Arlene. Neither one of us was 21. But we both had a fake ID. I still remember my fake name. It was Beverly Colangelo and she was 28. I looked about 15. We went to this place called the Cheetah lounge. The doorman barely glanced at my fake ID. I had one drink. I wasn’t a drinker back then. Around midnight Arlene and I left and began to walk home. It was very common at that time to walk everywhere. A boy I knew named Billy Cerra asked if he could walk us home. I said we're good, we don't need you to do that. I knew he had gone on a few dates with another friend of mine, Carol. But I didn't know him well. He was from the other side of town. He insisted that he walk us home. We got to Arlene’s house first. I said Goodnight to her. My house was maybe four more blocks. When we got to Brook Street, which was a very steep hill, he said, “Oh, let's run down this hill. It will be fun.” He grabbed my hand and next thing I knew we're running down the hill. You can't stop running once you start, it's just that steep of a hill. He held my hand tightly. When we got to the end of the hill, there was an alley that went behind my house. I’m not going to go back up that steep hill, so we turned into the alley. As soon as we entered that alley, he punched me in the face. There were rocks on the ground. He picked one up and held it over my head. He said scream and I will kill you. I have never been so terrified in my life. Somehow, I had the presence of mind to say, “My Dad’s garage is right in the middle of the alley. Why don't we just go inside the garage instead of doing this outside”? He pulled me up and we began to walk towards my garage. He still had the rock in his hand. Suddenly he stopped and said, "You are trying to trick me." My basic instincts just took over. Suddenly everything went black and I was screaming. It just occurred organically. I didn't tell myself to scream. I just started to scream. The neighbors put their heads out the window and two of them came outside. These two men started to chase him. Unfortunately, they did not catch him. Mercifully, I was not raped. It still was a very traumatic night. My father insisted that I call the police. I didn't want to. I was pushed to go through the whole process. The nightmare of testifying to the grand jury. It didn't even make it to court. I had two witnesses that saw him running away but they couldn't be sure who he was. Even though I knew his name. He denied it was him. Years later I ran into him in The Globe Department Store. He walked up to me as if we were buddies and he said hello. I said “Don't you know who I am?” You could see the light come into his eyes as he remembered. I guess I was one of many. Since I was in his presence, I decided to ask him how did he get away with it. He looked at me and said, very matter of fact, “Well, it cost my parents a lot of money.” I took that to mean that somebody got bought off. I guess the DA. Later, Karma got him because he got arrested several times for rape and attempted rape. Although they never seemed to be able to convict him of rape charges. Eventually he was convicted of robbery and sent to jail for few years. The rape attempt was very traumatic. I spent days in bed incredibly depressed. Jack's mother came to see me and gave me a pep talk. She motivated me to get out of bed and on with my life. Around the same time my father and my brother Joe went to Reedman’s in Lancaster to buy a new car. They came home with a 1969 Black Thunderbird. As soon as my mother saw it, she pulled my father aside. She told him that this was not an appropriate car for our family. I offered to buy it from my dad. He agreed to let me give him monthly payments. That car really cheered me up and it attracted the boys. I couldn’t wait till that Friday to drive to Papa Joes in Archibald. Of course, the boys all went crazy. They asked me to take them for a ride. When we got on Route 81, I sped up. I don’t know what got into me, but I started to go faster and faster. When I finally looked at the speedometer, it read 100 mph. Looking back, I think it made me feel powerful, a feeling I had never experienced before.

A few days later, my father took the Thunderbird to run some errands. When he returned, he told me our deal was off. That car was too fast for a young girl like me, I was furious at the time. Now I thank God because I know he was right.

"She'll have fun, fun, fun until Daddy takes the T-Bird away" The Beachboys

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