Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Only Living Witness: The True Story Of Ted Bundy

The Story Page 11

Like most mothers, it was Louise, not Johnnie, who took the direct hand in raising the Bundy family. "We didn't talk a lot about real personal matters," said Ted. "Certainly never about sex or any of those things. My mom has trouble talking on intimate, personal terms. There's this logjam of feeling in her that she doesn't open up and explain.

"We never spoke about her childhood, aside from the fact that she grew up in my grandfather's house with my aunts and my grandma. And that she was extremely successful in high school. The head of everything! I read her yearbook. She was president of this, and president of that, a terribly popular person. Her big disappointment was that she had one B in three years of high school.''

Ted reflected for a minute, concentrating hard on this issue. "Then, I don't know,'' he went on at last. "Something intervened. I can remember her having some resentment that there was only one scholarship offered in her school, and the richest girl got it. Of course, my mom didn't have any money to go to school. And she didn't think it was very equitable that the other girl, who had straight A's, got the scholarship. Even years and years later, I detected a strong sorrow in her voice when she told me about it.''

Ted described his own youth as solitary. One of his favorite boyhood pastimes was listening to late-night talk radio. Alone in the dark of his room, he would pretend he was part of a special and secret world. "I'd really get into it," he told me. "As people would be calling in and speaking their minds, I'd be formulating questions as if they were talking to me. It gave me a great deal of comfort to listen to them, and often it didn't make a hell of a lot of difference what they were talking about. Here were people talking, and I was eavesdropping on their conversations."

As Bundy matured physically, he developed into a well-coordinated athlete, and a handsome young man. Yet the mental maturity was not there, and never would come. Ted was extremely self-conscious. He considered himself too skinny to compete with the bigger boys. "I attempted to get on the school basketball team and a couple of baseball teams, and I failed," he said. "It was terribly traumatic for me. I just didn't know what to do. I thought it was something personal."

He turned to solitary sports. Terry Storwick remembered. "Ted really took to skiing. He found the money somehow to buy good equipment. He was pretty serious about it, and he considered himself a pretty good skier." Bundy's costly ski gear was mostly stolen, a fact that would have shocked family friends who knew the eldest Bundy boy as a regular churchgoer with his parents, vice-president of the Methodist Youth Fellowship, and a promising teen-ager interested in a career in law enforcement. They could not have imagined the Ted who, along with several other boys, devised a crude ski-lift ticket forgery scheme that involved the careful bleaching and dying of the color-coded passes. They were never caught.

Far more ominous, however, was the bitterness and hostility, also unsuspected, seething inside him. One day, as Ted explained to me, he was rummaging through some of his parents' papers, where he found his birth certificate. "Unknown" was typed in under "Father's Name." According to an enigmatic letter he later sent us, "It was not an agonizing occasion. I saw it more as an opportunity to make a decision about who I was."

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