We moved from Wappingers Falls, New York to California in 1978. My mom and her third husband, John, worked for IBM in Poughkeepsie and were transferred to the San Jose IBM. Of all the wonderful communities in Northern California, some realtor talked them into purchasing a home in the town of Gilroy. Not the Gilroy of today, that bustling suburb of San Jose, full of retail and things to do. This was the Gilroy of yesteryear, maybe 20,000 strong, a pure small town disaster waiting to happen. Not the armpit of California, but the crotch. Future Farmers of America, low-rider clubs like “The Royal Emperors”, and kids in home-made hot-rods stoned out of their minds, just waiting for a family like us to move in. Imagine four teenage girls and one poor unfortunate step-brother much younger than us being taken from New York and dumped into this nightmare of a small town. We assimilated quickly, at first being called whores and sluts by the jealous local girls and then being fully embraced by same said girls when they found out we smoked pot and were willing to try cocaine. The local boys discovered us as well, and we became very popular in our new environment. We had little choice. Desperate for friends, our former sophistication fast on the wane, we lapped up the attention like starving kittens.

One of my first friends was a girl named Esther. Her nickname was “Esther the Molester”. This should have been my first (and only necessary) warning, but Esther intrigued me. Dark brown hair, green eyes, tight Dittos and tighter Hang Ten t-shirt, Esther was beautiful, athletic, popular and slutty. This girl was single-handedly able to obtain the keys from any guy’s car with only so much as a wink and a smile. I found out much later that she would put out too, but it was just for fun, not for the use of the car. My awe of her gift reached pure astonishment when she was handed the keys to a mint condition orange 1965 GTO four speed from her “boyfriend” Tony. We spent our freshman and sophomore years driving these cars around, screaming at every cute boy we saw, cutting school, and persuading unsuspecting males to hand over to us the keys to their prides and joys. I should probably mention that we were fifteen, neither of us in possession of so much as a driver’s permit.

Esther and I could not have come from less similar backgrounds, but it seemed we each wanted a piece of the others. She lived out in the more rural area of Gilroy, past the enormous fields of garlic and tomatoes. Her family was of Mexican/Italian descent, and Esther's father ran a large farm. Her mother was a housewife. In her home, on the stove, always a pile of fresh tortillas, a pot of homemade beans. I loved them. Esther loathed them. My house was a classic Arcadia tract home, smack in the middle of town, near the high school. My stepfather was a mid-level manager, my mother, the same. In the freezer, a collection of Swanson pot pies, frozen dinners. I couldn't stand them. Esther loved them. We spent nights at each others houses and shared the secrets that only best friends do.

This all came to an unfortunate end when I finally learned first hand how she earned the title of “Esther the Molester”. One of my neighbors had a brother who was barely fourteen, but he had a great dirt bike and she wanted to ride it. She deflowered the poor child and took the keys to his bike, which he handed over without a whimper. He was in love. We took the bike and drove all over the residential streets of Gilroy, laughing and having a fabulous time.

Well, this young fellow had a mother, and upon finding out that two older girls took advantage of her darling boy by “stealing” his motorcycle, she proceeded to call the police on us. She did not, and hopefully to this day still does not know of the deflowering, as I am sure she would have had us arrested. The police found us and pulled us over, the mother pulling up in her car right behind them. This happened exactly ten feet away from my house. We were given tickets by the police for driving without a license and a complete and thorough lecture from the mother on the consequences of our evil ways. The mother had one crossed eye, and while I was scared to death, Esther was turning bright red trying not to laugh. She did not succeed, and proceeded to burst out in hysterical laughter, angering the police officers, who threatened to take us in, and the mother, who was ready to commit justifiable homicide. To make matters worse, my parents chose this exact time to pull up from work and see this high school horror taking place in front of their house, involving their daughter and the police.

I was grounded for months, had to go to court, and was strictly forbidden from hanging out with Esther. On the other hand, I don’t think Esther’s parents ever even found out about it, which was always the case. Having little adult supervision, she was one of those friends that got away with everything while I always seemed to get caught. I used to be envious of this, until I realized she must have hoped someone, anyone, cared enough to catch her.

More like this:


CuddleFish Dec. 11, 2009 @ 8:47 a.m.

Great writing, fabulous story, MsG! Wow! xxxxxxx


CuddleFish Dec. 11, 2009 @ 11:01 a.m.

When did you move away from there, and do you ever go back?


PistolPete Dec. 11, 2009 @ 11:03 a.m.

Grat story, MsGrant. Esther sounds like a few of the girls I knew way back then. Loved 'em then and love 'em still today. ;-D


MsGrant Dec. 11, 2009 @ 11:16 a.m.

Thanks, Pistol!! Things were a LOT more fun in the pre-safe-sex era, huh?

CF, I left as soon as I was able. My mom and stepfather moved to San Jose after we graduated. I never go back. Once, years ago, my sister and I were visiting our mother and we went wine-tasting around that area. We took a drive through Gilroy to get to the winery, and we were like, oh my GOD, can you ever believe we lived here? I did not keep in touch with a single person from high-school.


PistolPete Dec. 11, 2009 @ 12:48 p.m.

I was just starting to experience my sexual awakening when the safe sex era started. :-( I had alot of fun back then but played alot of Russian roulette as well. Had I realized how unsafe sex could be back then, I would've fooled around alot smarter.


MsGrant Dec. 13, 2009 @ 12:36 p.m.

I just read your older blogs, PP. Jesus. My apologies for the pre-safe-sex comment. I'm a little older than you, and we did not use anything but the pill.

CF - it was 1984. I may have made our experience living there sound more idyllic than it really was. Many of our friends got killed in auto accidents or died of drug overdoses. Our mother was scared to death everytime we went out the door. We could not wait to get the hell out of there.


magicsfive Dec. 13, 2009 @ 1:10 p.m.

this is fantastic, MsG!!!! i also must agree with my friend pete in #4. i was thinking the same thing while reading ;)


MsGrant Dec. 13, 2009 @ 1:31 p.m.

Thanks, Magics!! She was really something..... ;- b


antigeekess Dec. 13, 2009 @ 6:48 p.m.

I was laughing right along with Esther at that cross-eyed mama lecture. Can't imagine how you managed not to.

"I did not keep in touch with a single person from high-school."

Neither did I. About 3 or 4 days ago, my best buddy from back then apparently joined Facebook. What's Esther's last name? :)


I'll bet she's still a blast to hang out with.



David Dodd Dec. 13, 2009 @ 7:08 p.m.

This is awesomeness, Ms. Grant, exactly the type of stories I love to read here. Having been through those towns like Gilroy and Watsonville and Hollister back when they were nothing more than highway intersections with sprinkles of houses nearby, you put me right there again (my paternal grandmother and her sister actually managed the old Hollister Hotel for a while when I was a tyke). And I reckon that most of us have had an Esther or two in the summers of our youth. I really like this story a lot.


MsGrant Dec. 13, 2009 @ 7:32 p.m.

AG - I was petrified. Esther, on the other hand, did this all the time. One time, during class, we got pulled out because she kept looking at me and laughing. I kept saying "shut up!" under my breath, because, of course, we were stoned to the bejesus. They yanked us from class and called the cops in to the principle's office because they swore we were on PCP (this being the height of the PCP era). She busted up UNDER INTERROGATION!! Again, I bore the brunt while she got off scot-free. I can't give away her identity, but I will say that she was one of the gals that got knocked up right out of high school and had a couple kids. Not that that stopped them from partying like rock stars. I wish I knew where she was these days...


MsGrant Dec. 13, 2009 @ 7:38 p.m.

Thanks, Refried! I love that you mentioned Hollister, they being one of our main rivals for sports, and the boys we dated to piss off our Gilroy guys when we were feeling neglected. I remember the hotel!! Watsonville is where we passed through to get to Santa Cruz the back way when cutting school. My sister still has a best friend that lives there. She did not go to school with him, he just happened to relocate there. It's an awesome little town. Great Mexican food. And you are so right - there was nothing there back then. Just a sprinkle.


PistolPete Dec. 13, 2009 @ 7:46 p.m.

Don't worry about MsGrant. I wasn't offended in the least bit.


antigeekess Dec. 13, 2009 @ 7:48 p.m.

"...because, of course, we were stoned to the bejesus."

LOL. Of course you were. :)

I didn't mean you should reveal Esther's true moniker to US, Grant. Just that if you remember it, you should look her up on Facebook or elsewhere.

You've GOT to be curious! Whaddya reckon? Where is she? Prison or politics?



MsGrant Dec. 13, 2009 @ 7:59 p.m.

Oh my God, I will never forget her last name! As a matter of fact, her older sister and mine were fast friends. Her sister died in a car accident at 19, after surviving one at 18 that disfigured one of our other friends. My sister has pictures that still make me cry.

I'm not a fan of social networking. I set up a Facebook account about six months ago and got porned. I was collecting friends, writing and posting interesting (to me) photos and things about my life, and suddenly, I get this e-mail. Well, it's from one of my "friends"!! So of course I open it and all fraking shat breaks loose. I sent porn to my mother, for Christ's sake!! Not that it bothered her, but you get the point. I cancelled my account. Like you, I am a bit of a hermit. I prefer to live my life unexamined. And it is still worth living.


antigeekess Dec. 13, 2009 @ 8:28 p.m.

"I prefer to live my life unexamined. And it is still worth living."

Grant, you are fast becoming our resident Queen of T-shirt Wisdom.


Speaking of t-shirts, I got mine from Cindy's site. In fact, it's this one:


Unfortunately, when I wore it with a jacket, I noticed that it somehow ended up with only the word "sex" peeking out.

(Which would probably explain all the hopeful smiling and overly enthusiastic friendliness I encountered that day.)



CuddleFish Dec. 13, 2009 @ 9:46 p.m.

LOLOLOLOLOL AG, I swear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xxxxxx


MsGrant Dec. 14, 2009 @ 3:51 a.m.

Cool shirt! I want one. Some bitch last week cracked a joke about my Ramones t-shirt. As if I wore it on purpose. She's like "is that a Ramones t-shirt (shrill)?" One of the reasons I left my job. I wanted to punch her. Back to bed.


SDaniels Dec. 14, 2009 @ 4:26 p.m.

MsG, I'm late to the convo, but see that you have gotten the 3am bug like me, I see ;) So yes! I had THREE Esthers in my life, one at age 13 (Rachelle and her sister Rebecca), another at 15 (Lisa), and another at 17 (Sarah), for the span of those roiling, fiercely boiling years of identity soup. I was the foil, the counter, to this kind of bubbly, laughing, fearless girl, who taught me valuable lessons about living in the moment, and a harmless kind of exploitation, using one's natural attributes to gain favors and gifts from the males around us. Rachelle and I were in awe of her 17-year old sister Rebecca, who had bright pink hair and the most angelic face--you know the kind of girl who could wear Doc Martens and shave her head and still glow with gorgeousness and sex appeal? Rebecca had a big white 50s era convertible with those shark fins, the top of which I'd never seen up. She'd drive under Rachelle's window, and we'd scoot from the roof down to the eaves, where we could safely jump into the back of the car. Suddenly, at midnight, we would be speeding away to a destination full of pot, beers, acid, and solemn boys with mohawks and eyeliner, and more holes than jeans.

Lisa was a brief interlude before I met Sarah; these girls liked me because I was willing to play sidekick, stewing in my own seriousness, they loved to tease me out of my funks and pessimistic moods. They must have done much more for me than I for them...Lisa was Esther incarnate, but with the added tragedy that not only was she ignored most of the time at home, when she was not, there was a long history of sexual abuse. No wonder we could smoke cigs and drink beers at her house--they were in fact supplied us. When her stepfather tried to molest me, that was the last of Lisa.

Then Sarah stepped into the void, and she was the best of all. She and her brother enjoyed a suburban childhood of stable, loving parents; Irish immigrants who began a chain of Irish pubs in Orange County. We'd stop by one of the bars, allowed now and then to enter, when her dad joined the band to sing "Puff the Magic Dragon" or an Irish tune about lasses in bloom for us. Sarah was outrageous; the tallest girl I'd ever met, she was nearly six feet of intimidating beauty and aplomb. She wore half orange and half green on visits back to Ireland, no matter what county they were in. She was naturally pale blonde, and her hair swung around her shoulders as she flashed those laughing green eyes, and in phony Irish brogue imitating her parents, she garrulously chided some boy or another serving as our chauffeur for the evening, "Did I shave my muff for this?"


SDaniels Dec. 14, 2009 @ 4:36 p.m.

Hmm, somehow my last sentence got cut off--just wanted to again say thanks for these memories, MsGrant! Let's all raise a glass to that "certain" girl we knew! ;)


MsGrant Dec. 14, 2009 @ 5:44 p.m.

Thanks, SD, for sharing your Esthers with me!! They all sound like a blast. Here's the Esthers of our youth and our younger, carefree selves!! Funny you talk about sneaking out - I tried that once, with Esther, of course, and got completely busted. My mom has radar ears.

Actually I woke up last night at 3:30 or so and saw I forgot to turn off my computer, so I did a last post, hence the fact that it makes no sense whatsoever!!


antigeekess Dec. 15, 2009 @ 8:40 a.m.

"Rebecca had a big white 50s era convertible with those shark fins, the top of which I'd never seen up. She'd drive under Rachelle's window, and we'd scoot from the roof down to the eaves, where we could safely jump into the back of the car. Suddenly, at midnight, we would be speeding away to a destination full of pot, beers, acid, and solemn boys with mohawks and eyeliner, and more holes than jeans."

This is so great, SD. You should blog this stuff. I'm not sure which I'm more envious of -- the car (which sounds like the GREATEST CAR EVER) or the debauchery you minxes got up to. ;)

"Did I shave my muff for this?"

Indeed. Many a woman has asked herself this very same question after a few fleeting seconds of not much at all. It's the modern version of the Riddle of the Sphinx.



CuddleFish Dec. 15, 2009 @ 10:49 a.m.

AG, if for no other reason, I'd read this forum for your comments. :)


MsGrant Dec. 16, 2009 @ 1:05 p.m.

I agree AG and CF!! SD, get blogging!! Your writing is so descriptive I felt like I was in that car! And AG's wit is priceless.


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