Daddy No Longer Dear
Marlene was upset that Jim spent little time with her. Marlene thought he neglected her while playing “white knight protector to Naomi.”
Marlene’s one constructive activity may have been her poetry. The following example speaks of her intense feelings of loneliness and alienation:
no one stops
to step into my life
and those in it have long ago
I have been empty for so long.
On the day during which someone who would become most significant stepped into Marlene’s life, she sat on the high school lawn.
Her first LSD trip was a bad one.
Teens teased her.
Then a young man who did not attend the school but frequented its lawn ordered them to leave her alone.
Marlene was grateful to the youth who had just played “white knight protector” to her.
He was Charles “Chuck” Riley, 19, an overweight dropout from that high school who peddled drugs.
Marlene, 15, accepted a date with him.
A Gentle Boy
Born in 1955, he was the first child of homemaker Joanne and grocery clerk Oscar Riley.
Joanne bore a second son, Kerry, in 1957 and daughter Michelle in 1961.
Little Chuck was a happy, affectionate child. Levine writes, “He loved to care for the parakeets and fantail doves he kept at home, and whenever one of Kerry’s rabbits gave birth it was Chuck who would patiently feed the runt of the litter with an eyedropper.”
Oscar often took his sons fishing. The fishing place was close to San Quentin prison. If a boy misbehaved, Oscar pointed to that facility and warned that if they were not good, they could end up there.
At school, Chuck was called “Fat Man” and “Boulder.” Kids snidely speculated that he must have a charge account at a local Jack-In-The-Box.
Chuck stole and dealt drugs, not so much for money as to impress peers.
He dropped out of high school in his junior year and was living with his parents when he met Marlene.