Spectral Evidence: The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth on Trial in Napa Valley

By Moira Johnston | Go to book overview

8
The Christmas Present

Darn it, Holly's going to have a real birthday. Betty was determined. "I felt so sorry for Holly." Her twentieth birthday was coming up on August 16. Holly had moved in with her grandmother at the end of her sophomore year, in May. "She was staying with me and I only had one bedroom. The poor kid was sleeping on the sofa and she was so good." She worked so hard, did what she had to do. Always worked and helped pay her way. And she didn't complain. Betty wished she would sometimes. Betty's niece Barbara O'Connell had got Holly a part-time job in a psychiatric hospital -- billing, filing, using computers, managing. It was a scheme concocted by the aunts to help her learn how to run her own practice when she became a therapist. They loved Holly at work. They loved her at Unisys, where Betty was a senior secretary, whenever she came by. They saw her, as Betty did, as the most honest kid in the world. They believed her. They invited Betty and Holly to things, to little parties, dinners.

But there was hostility out there, too. It hurt Betty that, with most people, the first response to Holly's story was: "Her father worked so hard all his life. He lost everything." They never thought about the children, about Holly. And she was amazed at the number of friends who now came to her with their stories of molestation. She had had no idea how many women out there were holding secrets or how sheltered she and Stephanie had been. She didn't worry about Kelli. Kelli was widely capable. Heading off to the University of Colorado, she'd be taking business courses, qualifying as an aerobics instructor, studying to be a private investigator, having fun with her friends. But Holly's life was so lonely. She had good days, bad days. She could

-141-

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Spectral Evidence: The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth on Trial in Napa Valley
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue the Memory Wars 1
  • A Perfect Family 11
  • 1 - A World of Women 13
  • 2 - The Birth of a Salesman 34
  • 3 - The Family Table 51
  • 4 - Flashbacks 76
  • 5 - Confrontation 96
  • Discovery 105
  • 6 - A Family Falls Apart 107
  • 7 - A Mother Knows 122
  • 8 - The Christmas Present 141
  • 9 - This Thing Called Repression 155
  • 10 - The Gathering of Evidence 172
  • 11 - The Gathering of Witnesses 189
  • 12 - The Memory Lesson 210
  • The Trial 233
  • 13 - Courtroom B 235
  • 14 - The Great Recovered Memory Debate 256
  • 15 - The Power of Suggestion 270
  • 16 - Holly's Day in Court 290
  • 17 - The T-Graph 317
  • 18 - The Debate Continues 333
  • 19 - Verdict 351
  • Epilogue the Impact 379
  • The Process 401
  • Notes 404
  • Selected Bibliography 428
  • Acknowledgments 434
  • Index 436
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