In my last post on parent profiles, I talked about the people who raised Adina, Jesus and Cruzita Rosario. Today, I want to focus on James Ezekiel (James from here on in) and Margaret Preston, the people who raised Rhys John or RJ.
The Prestons live in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. James Ezekiel Preston is the third generation pastor of a Baptist church in this small town. His father before him, Pastor Adam Preston, was a promiscuous man who died as the result of a sexually transmitted disease. Some some would say he died of shame as well. The disease went untreated because he believed that it was his penance for having offended God. He believed he had been smited by the Almighty for having committed a mortal sin.
Margaret Preston nee Brown is a former prostitute who has been rescued by a young Pastor James when he was alerted about her being held captive by an unknown man. The former prostitute and Pastor later married.
To the outside world, Pastor James was a benevolent, god-fearing man, but behind closed doors, it was a different matter altogether. He was verbally, physically and emotionally abusive to his wife, and as his son got older he began to do the same to him.
In the beginning of their marriage, Margaret was blindly in love with her husband. She saw him as her guardian angel. In her mind, he offered her a seemingly more stable lifestyle as well as prominence in her new community. But he maintained an attitude of superiority and belittled her throughout their marriage. Because she had nowhere to go, Margaret tolerated his tirades and tried to make the best of a bad situation mostly because of the love she had for the son they adopted together. Besides, this was still better than the life she left behind.
As you know, RJ was born with a physical deformity and as he grew older, the pastor became more and more abusive toward him. He called his son names and messed with his emotional stability. Seeing this, Margaret made it her business to step in and try to deflect the negative attention the pastor paid his son. The older RJ got, the worse it got and he had to find a way to release his rage. He couldn't strike back at his father because he knew that if he did, the consequences would be unbearable for not only him, but for his mother as well if he wasn't successful and he couldn't have that.
Margaret soon became aware of the power of her son's rage when it erupted and she tried to help him deal with it in unconventional ways. They would take camping trips together and she would teach him how to be patient and cover his tracks when hunting. She also tried in vain to teach him how to tamp down his feelings.
The problem is that RJ learned some of his hunting lessons all too well. One day, he went too far and she finally knew what her son really was, but she did nothing but accept it. Eventually, the power of her son's rage hit home and it was up to Margaret to support him. We all know there isn't anything a mother wouldn't do to protect her child.
Both sets of parents in this story have their own unique issues to contend with. What I tried to show here with these sets of parents is how those issues can influence and affect children they are raising.
My question is this: Was there ever any hope for either one of these children? Did they stand a chance at normalcy?
You be the judge.
Up next: Supporting Characters: Mason and Claudia Jones and "God"