Saturday, July 9, 2016


By DAWN SCHILLER, C  2010,  is published by Medallion Press


Dawn's childhood and early teens were colored by absent parents and living in a violent slum environment in Florida. Her mother was a German immigrant who'd married an American GI, came to America, and found herself working three waitressing jobs to support her three children. She and her children were abandoned as her Viet Nam vet husband, who had handled Agent Orange and got disfiguring cancer, became a hippie and traveled. Dad's return to Florida was only to admit that he had another woman and child in Thailand and to ask for a divorce. Oddly the children were asked which parent they would prefer to live with. Dawn and her younger sister chose their Dad because their stressed out hot tempered mother was sometimes abusive and their pot smoking Dad seemed so mellow. They wanted out and he talked California. 

Maybe it was fate but as they drove across the country, they chose to pick up a hitchhiker because he looked safe and like he had some pot. They were right and this hitchhiker took them to the place where he had a woman awaiting him, a loving woman named Harriet, who was unaware he had another woman too. Soon the hitchhiker was gone, leaving Dad to carry on an affair with Harriet, leading her on and making promises he never intended to keep because she provided a roof over their heads.  (Harriet would eventually go after Dad legally for Breach of Promise, having had to move back home with her parents.)

But perhaps what is more remarkable is that it was the mid 1970's Glendale, California, Harriet lived as a renter on a property described as a "court" with small cottages, and in one of them lived John C. Holmes, porn star, and his wife Sharon, who was managing the property, and in another, John's brother David and his wife Karen, who were financially dependent on John. Several of the renters at this property quickly understood that the family new from Florida were near homeless, destitute and hungry. They cared enough to allow Harriet her guests long term, other residents sent over food, and Sharon and John both came up with odd jobs around the property so that Dawn could make some money.

So far, so good, you think.
Then you ask, at what point was it that all this caring and sharing covered over the fact that an adult male, married and a star in the world of pornography, was seducing an underage female?  (Many adults suspected or knew something was up, and John's own brother and Sister in Law knew more than Sharon because they were in on the drug use!)

We know that Mom was left in Florida. Dad is gone a lot. It turns out that after he enrolled Dawn and her sister in high school, applied for government benefits, and went to the local VA for further skin cancer treatment, he also got himself a job and an apartment in Riverside, about an hour's commute south, and imported his long waiting Thai lover to be there. He would suddenly yank Dawn out of Harriet's with the lie that they were all going back to Florida. Dawn's sister did go. By this time John C. Holmes was so involved with Dawn Schiller that he conspired to get her back to Glendale, and he and Sharon helped the high school drop out, get full time work as a nurses aid.

HERE THEN is a progression of seduction, from DAWN SCHILLER's own book.

John, while Sharon was working full time, took Dawn and her younger sister to Zuma Beach - Pirates Cove - which was a nude beach and where Dawn and John were body painted.  (Page 115-116)  (They got naked, no touching.)

"John sees my father's lack of concern for my whereabouts and takes the initiative to ask me to join him for errands alone more often."  (Page 122) (This soon includes going to the beach, mountain hikes, and an overnighter camping trip, that included her sister and sister's boyfriend the first time, at Leo Carrillo State Park near Zuma Beach.)

John sets up her sister, who is a young teenager herself, to have a "private" conversation with Dawn about their age difference and what her true feelings are for him.  "Stunned I am frozen to my spot on the water bed.  John's delighted laugher trails behind him across the courtyard all the way to his door."  (Page 130)  (He's listening in and her younger sister seems to be the more mature one, who says she thinks John is acting like a high school kid.)  (Page 131)

John has her wait in the car as he goes into the Pussycat Theatre where his film THE AUTHOBIOGRAPHY OF A FLEA, a Victorian era piece, is playing, to buy tickets.  She is underage but together they see one of his porn films.  (Page 133)

He takes her to Zuma to "Make love" with him in the van.  While his moves are seductive and even gentle to start, and Dawn's not a virgin, "I close my eyes and silently let the terrible searing pain of finality wash over me with the crash of the ocean tide."  (138)  On the silent ride home, "Everything hurts and I can't walk."  (Page 139)  Three days later, Harriet takes her to a clinic for antibiotics.  Harriet seems to guess that Dawn has had sex.

Then, John gifts her a teddy bear and a birthstone ring.  (Page 141)

He takes her for a weekend to PALM SPRINGS where they stay as "Mr. and Mrs. Holmes" at the Biltmore Hotel in a private bungalow.  (Page 146)  (More sex.)

After Dad announces they are leaving the day before they are to go, he gives John a "murderous stare" and John calls Dad "a son of a bitch"  Then Dawn's sister, who is going back to Florida with her boyfriend, says, "John knows, the whole courtyard knows - what Dad is doing to Harriet... and everybody knows about you and John too."  (page 155)

Back alone to Glendale and the cottages, leaving Dad and his Thai lover in Riverside, John's brother and sister in law, in whose cottage she is staying temporarily, start providing food, and Sharon shows up with a casserole.  John, soon back from France, gives dawn "a thick platinum band lined with three large diamonds." as well as poetry he wrote for her that she thinks is beautiful.  (pages 178-179)

Sharon helps her get work at a local nursing home by providing Dawn some of her own old uniforms, sometimes drives her to work, and they rent her a room somewhere on the property that needs a lot of fixing up.  John brings furniture - antiques that he strips and refinishes.  Sharon brings in towels, sheets, comforters, silverware, dishware.  (Pages 179-180.)


John takes Dawn to Barstow in a van to pick out a Boston Bull puppy to give Sharon as a gift.  (Page 182)

Sharon starts inviting her over to their place for dinner and treats her like family.  Sharon and John surprise her with a brand new 10 speed bike to get to work.  (Page 185)

John takes Dawn to Vegas on a Harley.  Sharon knows and advises them to take some water with them.  Brother David and sister in law Karen will be there too to gamble and drive them and the Harley back to LA.  (Page 187)

Sharon and John lower her rent because she is now collecting rent, sharing in the apartment management job.  (Page 193)

Has Dawn now become legally an emancipated minor?  (It doesn't say but if so, maybe that throws a different understanding into this situation.)  Dawn says in her book that her Mom now knows that John is her boyfriend and that John and Sharon just live together.  Turns out that Mom, her sister and younger brother are moving from Florida to Oregon.  Mom sends her bath mats and towels for her new place.

CHAPTER NINE is called IT TAKES THREE TO TANGO  (It's 1978 and Dawn is now about 18.)

The three of them spend most of their evenings at home, playing scrabble and rummy and listening to classical music.  Dawn is invited to move into their spare bedroom and give up the room she's been renting, and is being mentored by Sharon to pass her certification as a nurses aid. Sharon knows that John and Dawn are still going on weekend trips - the beach - the mountains - Palm Springs - Vegas - and usually declines to go.   When Sharon does go to Vegas with them, she's the one covering for her need for an ID because she's underage and the three of them share one king sized bed, with John in the middle.(Page 214)


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