Giles Corey And Me

Not many people know this, or probably even want to know this, but when I was in high school, besides babysitting for the kids down the street (they had a pool so it was a cool gig in the summer!) I also was a tour guide on The Salem Trolley. How in the world would that come to be, one might ask themselves? The woman who owed the trolley company was also the mother of the kids I babysit down the street. One of the useless perks of this job is I am a fountain of knowledge regarding Salem History. I know you are all hashtagejealous. It was a really cool job once I had the memorization part down. Occasionally I had some humorous slip of the tongue’s and no doubt doing anything in Salem in October is a blast. I loved it. Most of the time.

Since I was a wealth of Salem History knowledge, I was very aware of the Witch Trials. One particular story from that time period has always fascinated me. It was about a man named Giles Corey. His baptismal record has his name spelled as Cory but once he came to America it was changed to Corey. The similarities in our lives, aside from living almost 400 years apart, are intriguing.  We both have birthday’s in August. Both birthdate can be added and divided down to 3’. We both have been married 3 times. Both two women named Martha. Just kidding. Both of our second marriages happened in April. His second wife died the day before my birthday, in August.  And both of us, had the worst day of our life on a Monday in September.

For poor ol’ Mr. Corey his Monday in September was a little more crushing than mine. Giles wife, Martha, was accused of being a witch by those bratty kids that had nothing better to do than kick dust in someone’s eyes. Martha became a target because she vocalized her disdain for the girls and that she did not believe that anyone was a witch. Quickly the girls turned on her, stating that she “afflicted” them. Of course,. Giles was not going to stand for his lady being thrown in the clink, especially given that he had beaten one of his indentured servants to death and didn’t see the inside of a jail cell once. He made a point to also throw a #TrumperTantrum in public square. It wasn’t long before those girls began telling stories of how he forced them to write their name in the Devils Book. I mean, who am I to judge since I wasn’t there but come on? Really? Were people really so ignorant that these tales sounded reasonable and logical?

Anyway Giles was brought on charges of Witchfulness or Witch-y-ness or maybe he was a warlock, but he refused to plead. In the world of 1640(ish) if a person did not claim guilt or innocence, they could not be tried. He sat in a jail for a while, until they decided that the only other resource available to them inside the law was a Pressing. At his home, in front of anyone who dared show up, he was laid down with a board on his body. Large boulders began to be placed on top of him. This was to “press the truth” out of him.  Mr. Corey was a wily bastard though, because he would not say anything. This torture went on for several days, at one point his tongue was pressed out of his mouth and a guard used a cane to push it back in and still, he would not plead. He was asked time and time again, and his only words during this three daylong event, was more weight. He was given three mouthfuls of bread and water during this time, and several times the sheriff would stand on top of the boulders on top of Giles, staring into his bulging eyes to ask if he was going to plead innocent or guilty. More weight was the only response he got. On the third day, Giles Corey died.  Side story: It’s been said that Giles Corey’s last words were cursing the Sheriff of Salem. Many reports of his ghost roaming about have been documented along with several Sheriffs (before the jail moved to Middleton) having died or stepped down/retired due to health reason. All cardiac. That is not confirmed however, I believe it. If someone crushes me to death I am so going to haunt as many people as I can. Also, no matter how I did, I will haunt as many people as I can.

Clearly, I am not dead and I have not been crushed to death. Also, I don’t have any dead ex-spouses. So our lives differ in that way. My Monday in September was extremely different but equally as life changing. Finding out JoDee was a heroin addict was and still is, the most shocking thing I have ever experienced. I can recall that meeting with her therapist so clearly it feels like it was yesterday. There was no yelling or screaming or a village full of people watching me be hauled off to jail. It was unseasonably warm that day. Once we knew that McLean’s had a bed and would take her, we went home to pack then drove to Belmont. It was surreal. AC met us there. Even on the lonely drive home I didn’t react. I was shell-shocked. What I find so interesting now is that I still am, sometimes. JoDee has friends that are graduating college and moving on toward careers. Before too long there will be weddings and babies. I have no idea where she will be then. I can’t imagine what her life will look like. Physically I know where she is now but I have no idea mentally. She doesn’t seem happy or as though she is enjoying life as a whole.  I don’t know where she goes from here or  how she will get there. I feel like she is passing time. Not really living, not actively trying to die, not really making decisions, but not making progress.  It’s so difficult as a parent to want the very best, to see a bright future, to see the potential in your child but not be able to relay those things in words or actions.  She is not hiding out in some 60 year-old perverts house drugged out and shut off from her family, so I am grateful for that.  I am not convinced that I won’t find her dead in her bed someday. Neither one of us are there, yet.

I can relate to Mr. Corey. I can relate to his refusal to pick a side. I feel that’s where I am now. When someone asks me how she is I don’t want to say not good and I don’t want to say not bad because the truth is both. Sometimes not doing anything or saying anything, is taking a stand. I can feel the weight of addiction on our house, on our souls and on our hearts. It’s definitely crushing.

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