Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Only Living Witness: The True Story Of Ted Bundy

The Story Page 10

Louise miscarried the summer following her May 1951 marriage to Johnnie. Then a daughter, Linda, was born in the last part of 1952. Here was another confusing mystery for Teddy. He didn't know where babies came from or how they were made. But he knew it had something to do with Johnnie, and he believed throughout his entire life that Louise suffered a good deal at Linda's birth. According to his mother, however, the pregnancy was uneventful.

Ted also told us that it was around this time that his parents broke him of the habit of crawling into bed with them when he grew frightened in the middle of the night.

The earliest evidence of Ted's behavior outside the family comes from his first grade teacher, Mrs. Oyster. According to Louise, Teddy was very fond of Mrs. Oyster. On his report card, the teacher wrote Louise that Teddy grasped the numbers one through twenty, knew the meaning of one hundred, was at ease before the class, and expressed himself well. Ted told us he was "unsettled" when Mrs. Oyster left to have a baby and was replaced by a substitute teacher.

However much this affected him, he was definitely upset by his second-grade teacher, who he described as a doctrinaire Catholic named Miss Geri. "She was about five feet tall," Ted recalled, "with the shape and menacing attitude of a cannon ball about ready to explode" Teddy Bundy, a Protestant, felt Miss Geri discriminated against him; and he vividly recollected the day he said she broke a ruler over his knuckles for having socked a classmate in the nose during a playground scuffle.

Ted was about seven or eight at this point, a not-unusual child from all appearances, and so far only minimally affected by his flaw the presence of which he could only sense through the uneasiness he often felt. He sometimes escaped into fantasy, particularly the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans adoption fantasy, a key feature of which was having his own pony and everything else he wanted. His first gesture of defiance was passive, occasioned by the arrival of a black family on the previous all-white block where the Bundy's lived. There were fears that property values would be hurt. Teddy knew that Johnnie was particularly concerned. So he went out of his way to make friends with one of the black children, he told me. "That house," Bundy recalled, "was a warm friendly place, fairly bursting with clouds of pungent odors emerging from the kitchen. Smells that never came from my parents' house and that I just found terribly exotic."

At home, Ted felt deprived. He was jealous of his cousin John, Uncle Jack's boy, and contemptuous of his own family's modest station in life. Ted told me he was mortified by the sensible Ramblers Johnnie drove, so much so that he recalled being "humiliated" to be seen in them. Likewise, from the time he could first walk and talk, little Teddy always pulled his mother to the most expensive racks in clothing stores. The preoccupation with material possessions would stay with the boy and intensify. Even the little Teddy was deeply class-conscious.

With the birth of another child, brother Glenn, in February of 1954, the Bundy's had outgrown their second house. The following summer they moved to a roomier tract house that would be large enough to accommodate the present family, plus the final two arrivals: another daughter, Sandra, in 1956, and a son, Richard, in 1961.

Teddy found this new neighborhood decidedly unappealing. The tract had been thrown up with little regard to esthetics. It looked to Teddy as if every bit of vegetation had been scraped away, leaving ragged clumps of Scotch broom to invade where graceful firs once towered above.

He became close friends with two boys in his new neighborhood, and they would continue to be his nearest pals all the way through high school.

One was a gregarious kid named Terry Storwick. The other friend was a roly-poly youngster named Warren Dodge. Terry and Warren both found Teddy to be great company, even if he was a little aloof at times brittle, even. There was also the matter of Teddy's temper. Behind his house in the field of Scotch broom, the boys played guerrilla war games, using as weapons spear ferns which, when lopped off a foot or so above the ground made perfect missiles to fling at one another. One afternoon in the heat of combat, Warren caught Teddy just below the eye with the clotty, fibrous root that formed the nose of the fern missile. In an instant, Teddy was on top of Warren, his fist cocked. Terry and the other boys pulled him off.

The incident stayed with Terry Storwick, not because the show of anger was so unusual for an overexcited kid, but because the child was Teddy Bundy. "Ted kept himself separate from situations," Terry told me. "So it was something to see him get involved. When he got hit in the eye, he definitely got involved."

Ted's short fuse got him into other boyhood scrapes, too. At Boy Scout camp, he shoved a plate in another scout face for having hatcheted a small tree. On another scout outing, he tangled with a kid named John Moon. "Bundy hit him over the head with a stick," Terry Storwick remembered. "It was a very deliberate attack on another person. The way John Moon described it, he was attacked from behind."

Storwick continued: "It was real easy to see when Ted got mad. His eyes turned just about black. I suppose that sounds like something out a cheap novel, but you could see it. He had blue eyes that were kind of flecked with darker colors. When he got hot they seemed to get less blue and darker. It didn't have to be a physical affront, either. Someone would say something, and you could just see it in his face. The dark flecks seemed to expand."

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