Family Members: Mother’s side of the family
My maternal grandmother, Stella Palwick, had a strong influence on my life as she was our Nana, the woman who stayed at home and took care of us until we were in High School since my mother worked in an attorney’s office five and a half days a week. My maternal grandfather worked as a maintenance man in a hotel in north Jersey and did not visit us too often until he was retired when he moved in with us in Irvington. He died of a stroke not too long after he joined us. He and Nana both were born in Poland and came to the US at the turn of the century.
My grandparents had five children: Steve, Joe, Frank, Henry and Ann, my mother. It is interesting to note that while my grandparents had not gone beyond the 4th grade in their rural school in Selicia, Poland, all their children graduated from high school in the U.S.
Steve joined the Coast Guard and left home, spending most of his life in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Joe joined the Air Force and went to live in Florida. Henry joined the New Jersey State Patrol, a job he had until retirement. Frank moved to Pittsburg, married and had a family but we rarely saw him. Family gatherings at our house generally included only Henry and his family as they lived in north Jersey.
My Dad had very little to do with raising us kids. That task was left to our maternal grandmother whom we called Nana who lived with us. My mother worked as a legal secretary in the office of an attorney in Newark, five and a half days a week. As this was the depression her income was a godsend as my father did not work much of this time.
My mother was the intellectual in the family. She was always buying sets of books, the world encyclopedia, the complete works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Harvard Classics, etc. From my earliest memories I recall that every Christmas, probably back to when I was 3 or 4 years old, each of us boys was given a book or two.
Mom was a lot of fun. She loved parties and when we had guests she was the life of the party. But she also was an alcoholic, along with my father and from time to time it got out of hand and fights would ensue between mom and dad. As I got older I always left the house on weekends, going camping out in the local scout camp grounds. When I was able I spent my time out of the house, maybe just exploring the local woods, hunting for arrowheads in farm fields, collecting wild flowers, etc.
When I think back on it I find it of interest that my mother let me “hit the road” as a 16 year old and hitch hike around the nation for the entire summer. I don’t recall even asking my father for permission to take that trip.
At age 18 I left home for good, heading for South America with my bicycle. I never went back to live in the family home again.
Father’s side of the family
My father, Stanley Wilson Drake, was born on 5 March, 1908 in New Jersey. He had one brother, Clifford, born in 1909 and a sister, Lillian, born in 1914. They lived in Watchung, New Jersey. My grandfather, Frederick Austin Drake (after whom I got my middle name of Frederick) was born in 1876 in Morris County, New Jersey and died on 8 August, 1934 when I was but 4 years old. My grandmother Drake (Wilhelmina I. Wills) was born in 1875 in Essex County, NJ and died in 1947. I never met my paternal grandfather but did meet Minnie once. I really did not know her or anything about her.
Accordingly, I have no idea of why I am writing this information here as the Drake ancestors and relatives had nothing to do with my life experiences other that the fact there must be some genes that have been passed on. We had as little to do with my father’s brother and sister and their families as with the grandparents. Why? I don’t know. You will have to ask my father and he isn’t talking.
My father and I did not get along very well. He never finished school, read little except technical books on electricity, radio repair, etc. and comic books. He was a racist and made it very clear that I was NEVER to bring any of my friends of color around the house. He also was a wife beater.
How does one tell the world that one’s own identical twin brother, Roy Allen Drake, S.J., Ph.D., was a pedophile priest who was formally charged with raping a 13 year old? That is only one case. He told me that he cost the church millions of dollars in settlements for his actions.
Should I even bring this up? This is, after all, MY autobiography and I have no need to include him in it. Yet I know that those who have been abused by Roy will search the internet to find out more about him and will find this web site. Three of his victims have already contacted me via the web site. I think my own credibility calls for me to be up front about the matter.
I am posting herewith a letter I sent to Roy following a phone conversation with him in his “retreat” location (a place where the S.J. priest could “hide” from the police and public). I call the Jesuit handling of sex abusers an example of corporate crime in America. Go to the internet and google “Roy A. Drake, S.J.” and you will find out much about my twin brother that is not too complimentary.
In addition I am posting herewith a portion of a letter that I sent to Mavis Drake, Stanley’s wife, in early 2004 with some information on Roy’s behavior even within family. You can see why I had nothing to do with him and rarely communicated or visited with him.
What a delight to hear from you! We have tried to make contact with you for over a year to no avail. Our last letter was returned. When we were in Monterey in September we tried to phone you but were told your phone was disconnected. We searched for phone numbers for any Drake in Santa Cruz but none were to be found. I called Roy to see if he had numbers. He began to weep and confessed that he had “caused pain” for one of your sons and that now you folks wanted nothing to do with him or with me. I was outraged with him and sent him a scathing letter that must have had Rome burning. We have since exchanged notes but nothing personal. That bridge has been broken and will be repaired with difficulty.
Letter to Roy
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Our phone conversation several days ago contained some surprises and then also met some expectations. Frankly, given the extent to which I was aware of your earlier life style, I was waiting for this to happen. The surprise was the name of the person involved, but not really even there.
You are in a deep mess and I feel sorry for you and wish you all the strength possible to face the not very pleasant future. You have a lot of talent and can still render the church and society a lot of good. I truly hope that you will have many opportunities and years ahead in which to do that. At the same time there is now a period of accounting for those earlier actions on your part that were not in the best interests of society, the individuals involved or the church you represent.
Mary Ann and I discussed your situation after we hung up. Given our sharing the womb, being identical twins, what made the difference in our lives that you went one way and I another? We will never know. All I know is that even in high school a lot of folk in Manasquan did not know that we were twins. They thought there was but one of us as we never hung around together, had a distinctly different group of friends and rarely, if ever engaged in joint activities.
I, too, was deeply distressed by the violence and drunkenness at home. That was the reason I spent so much time out in the woods, camping, hiking and on the road hitch-hiking around the ‘states and Canada. On finishing high school I was determined to flee the nest forever and took off for South America. You went to college on church scholarships and we rarely ever met again, intellectually or affectionately. We had as little to do with each other as young men as we had as kids in school. We were miles apart in more ways than one.
I felt one of the most liberating things I did as a youth was to leave the Roman Catholic Church. You, on the other hand embraced it. I have a deep and abiding appreciation of the role of the spiritual in the lives of individuals and society but personally refuse to place my own sense of the spiritual in a box defined by another person. Mary Ann and I agreed that our children would be brought up Christian, but not in a fundamentalist faith. She and the boys are members of the First Congregational Church and I have no problems with that. It is a fairly liberal church. In fact it is open and affirming, accepting gay and lesbian members without judgement.
What contributed to the growing distance between us was your openly gay relationship with students of yours. I deeply felt this relationship was an abuse of the power you had as a priest, as an instructor and as an older person in a super/sub-ordinate relationship. To me it would be just as wrong whether it was a heterosexual or a homosexual relationship.
Do you recall telling me many years ago that the church had to pay over a million dollars damages to the family of a youth you had damaged?” I, of course, was shocked. It was an open admission that both you and the church were aware of the damage that was resulting from your behavior. This information was just one more reason to keep the nation between us. I felt we had nothing in common any more except the fact that we had been brought up as kids in the same family. Aside from that we were total strangers. I really wanted nothing more to do with you. One e-mail and one phone call per year seemed to be enough. I teasingly told my friends that we had agreed to divide up the nation. I would not go east of the Mississippi and you would not come west of it without giving timely warning to the other.
As years went by you “sobered up” and seemed to be on the road to personal and intellectual strengths, helping the needy in prisons, in abuse counseling and in conducting your retreats. I felt it was possible to meet you again in New York City as you seemingly eschewed your earlier behaviors. I thank you for your act of contrition on that occasion. It helped me accept you, once again, as a brother. The problem is, as you are now finding out, that the acts you engaged in as a younger priest are now coming back home to roost. Merely saying “sorry” doesn’t resolve the issue. And there is no place to hide. As you told the kid with the marijuana joint the decision was his to smoke it or not but he would have to live with the results of that decision the rest of his life. And so it is with you.
Our thoughts are with you as is our compassion. We are glad that you have friends and colleagues there who will help give you strength to face the consequences of your earlier actions. Hopefully, at the end of the road there will be closure for you and your accuser.
Peace be with you. With love, your brother,
I was about to close this note with “May he rest in Peace” but have changed the farewell to “May he rot in hell.” The Jesuits may be intellectuals of the highest order but, in my mind, they are criminals for the cover up of child abuse in their ranks and not reporting such to the police. They cared more for the reputation of their organization than for the well-being of the child. Outrageous! Yes, it is a criminal organization in my mind.
Stanley was the quiet one. He and my dad got along quite well as Stanley was good with his hands and was interested in radio electronics and things electrical. He did not finish high school but rather entered the army and got his GED while in the army.
When I headed back to the West Coast for shipment to Korea Stanley went with me. We drove in his car and stopped at national parks and other sites along the way. We had a pup tent and fixed many of our meals over the camp fire. He ended up renting a small unit in Pacific Grove where he met his future wife, Mavis.