“Ballarat or Bust”…Chapter Twelve…

Ballarat-CharlesManson-TheMansonFamily Days flowed into nights, and nights into days, and soon Paul Richard was born and Sharon felt real joy for the first time since August 9th.

Charlie, of course, wouldn’t accept Sharon’s chosen name for her baby boy and in a layman’s ceremony, in the old porcelain bathtub out by the pool, Charlie christened him Scorpio, a short form version of the venomous spiders which made Barker their home and with which Charlie was so enamoured.

Sharon accepted the name – how could she refuse -  and all the girls fawned over this new little life that they were calling their own.

In yet another yelling match that Charlie and I had, and on yet another banishment to Ballarat for rice, I overheard on a trucker’s radio an emergency APB for Sharon as the police knew her delivery date was near and was urging the public to come forward with her whereabouts.

I never told Charlie nor Sharon of the news. Ignorance was closer to bliss in this regard, I felt.

But then again, I shied away from anything that gave Charlie reason to get angry, as I was getting awful tired of the trek to and from Ballarat, always in fear that the next banishment might be permanent.

Gypsy and Squeaky seemed to take charge of this new little boy in our lives forcing Sharon to the sidelines, only allowing her close to their charge  while nursing.
To take her mind off the forced separation from Scorpio, the girls soon got Sharon involved in all the domestic activities and mining chores Charlie assigned to them. Sharon became head chef as well, as her knowledge of cooking and her inventive use of spices was far superior to that of the young runaways. And, as a result, dinners became culinary events once Sharon reigned over them. Candles were de rigueur as were table manners and this newly found air of refinement Charlie had no desire to quash.

In no time after the delivery, Sharon’s energy returned and Charlie soon saw that for her any chore to keep busy, to stop her from thinking of the past, was better than no chore at all.

And to Sharon’s way of thinking, her need to keep busy, to forget everything and everyone in her past, was paramount if she and Paul Richard were to survive. So she reverted back to her tom-boy ways, as she had done as a child with her Father all those years ago on camping trips, and actually relished getting down and dirty in the desert sun.

Since Scorpio’s birth, Cupid was flinging his lustful bows at Sharon like there was no tomorrow. He had patiently waited by the sidelines for this beauty to give birth and to see if Charlie would claim Sharon for his own, but when the birth came and Charlie showed no interest, Cupid jumped at his long awaited chance at being her new paramour. Cupid’s target practise must have been less than perfect for Sharon rebuffed Bobby without even a moment’s hesitation and instead began to spend all her free time with Bruce.

Yes Bruce! Surprised me too! Surprised us all…including Bruce!

Charlie’s lack of interest and Sharon’s rebuffing of Bobby paved the way for private chats between Bruce and Sharon; and although Sharon had been renamed Moonbeam by Charlie the day after her arrival at Barker, to Bruce, she remained Sharon, in secret and in whispered tones. They would go for sunrise and sunset walks along the bluff over-looking the ranch. He would point out coyotes and bald eagles to this city girl and she would make rings of wild flowers to wear in their hair as they walked. No one knew what was said between the two quiet souls, but both seemed rejuvenated and refreshed from one another’s company.

On scorching days when the heat brought all labour to a standstill, Bruce and Sharon could be seen frolicking in the fieldstone pool, laughing and giggling, as if what brought them there had nothing to do with murder or suffering. When Charlie was on a buggy run or napping, Bruce would steal Scorpio from the girls, so that Sharon could have him by her side, in that make-shift pool, to cuddle and to hold, to splash and to laugh with, to kiss and to teach as only a Mother can teach her son.

Days flowed into weeks, and months soon ebbed by and Scorpio was now a sturdy toddler who looked instinctively to Charlie for the answers to all his youthful questions. And Charlie was so calm and collected in his presence, an entirely different man. No longer the ex-con, the hustler, the pimp nor the peddler, now a Father and a Teacher and a man capable of showing unconditional love. When a coyote had strayed into the camp, dying of rabies, Charlie shot the tormented animal at once, skinned the carcass and made a furry mask and body suit for the little Scorpio in which to play dress-up. Scorpio became Charlie’s living embodiment of Nature, his symbol for everything good and pure in the world and Scorpio obliged not knowing any different. The two would go rock-hunting together, hunt prairie dogs and desert rats and Scorpio began to embody the characteristics and mannerisms of Charlie, even down to his curly golden locks being allowed to grow long and untamed.

Life at Barker was settling into a routine and outside forces didn’t disturb this ideal way of life for the Family. No more news of the murders, no more news of hunting for Sharon, no more news period reached the gates of Barker. And for a time, all that was bad was seemingly forgotten and we lived in the Now. Charlie and The Family had finally reached Now.

But the past was still lingering in the mind of Sharon and a plan for the future to regain her past was slowly forming from nothing, as a Dust Devil forms from nothing in the desert.


courtney said…
Wow, Barb - I really like this - how strange and yet how possible.

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L to R: Charles Manson - Charles "Tex" Watson - Bobby Beausoleil - Bruce Davis - Susan Atkins - Patricia Krenwinkel - Leslie van Houten