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How the President of the United States and the Watergate Burglars Were Set-Up
By Robert Merritt, Douglas Caddy
Trine Day LLCCopyright © 2010 Douglas Caddy and Debbie Man
All rights reserved.
In The Beginning
I was born on June 22, 1944 in Charleston, West Virginia and was controversial even before my birth. I am the great-grandson of slave masters and also the grandson of slaves. I was born and raised as a white man, but at the age of 28 years found out that I was also a Black man, or more aptly a zebra. I am the great-grandson of gentiles but also the great grandson of a Jewish maternal grandmother. So by some accounts, I am also a Jew.
On the day that I was born the nurse handed me to my 16 year-old mother and said, "Here's Butch." Little did she realize the truth of her words: later I became known as being both gay and butch.
I was raised by my material grandparents because my mother and the white man whom I thought was my father quarreled constantly and got married and divorced several times. So my younger brother, Danny, and I were products of a broken home. I witnessed my so-called father on many an occasion cruelly abuse my mother both physically and mentally. Eventually I came to despise him. No one will ever know how happy I was on the day that I found out that the white man was not my father, and that my real father was a Black man. His name was Joseph Booker. He was light-skinned, with green eyes and light brown curly hair. He was killed in the Korean War. Later I received his Purple Heart when what I wanted most was to be with him, my real father.
I was raised by my maternal grandparents in an overly strict, old-fashioned Presbyterian home. I was baptized at the age of twelve with water brought from the River Jordan, the same river that Jesus was baptized in. As a child I was considered mischievous and while I never got into serious trouble, I loved to play the role of a menacing figure. I belonged to the usual community youth organizations, such as the Cub Scouts, 4-H and Jr. Deputy Sheriff's Clubs. Little did I realize at the time that the latter organization was, in effect, a crystal ball that foretold my future.
I loved going to school and had plenty of friends. I was always considered to be the most popular kid on the block. It seemed like everybody wanted to be around Butch. Our family owned a farm that we visited every summer. I found happiness there, and being the outdoors type, loved animals and nature and climbing mountains and going fishing.
My family had a strong cultural and historical background that sprang out of its migration from a plantation in Virginia. I remember hearing the stories of the slaves being freed and the plantation mansion and fields being burned. I also remember the stories of cutting down trees and crossing over mountains, making a trail that later became the famous Midland Trail.
My mother had two brothers and two sisters. I loved my Uncle William and Aunt Anne, but detested her youngest sister, Tiny, who was a real bitch. Oscar, my mother's other brother, was a real wimp, totally useless and never worked a day in his life. I remember my grandmother dreading his presence and wishing that he would leave and make a life for himself. My mother's oldest brother, William, became a professor at the University of North Carolina.
To spite my family, especially my uncles who were ardent Presbyterians, I became a convert to the Catholic faith. This sudden action on my part turned out to be a big mistake. At the age of 16 years, I was abused and raped by two Catholic priests, the first being from my parish at St. John's Catholic Church in Belle, West Virginia.
When I was seventeen I volunteered to work on John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in West Virginia, which was deemed a key state in the 1960 election. I worked at the Presidential primary campaign headquarters in Charleston with Judge James Melon. This was my first taste of politics.
My mother had become an alcoholic because of her failed marriages. This affected my life terribly. It was difficult for me to continue to attend my nearby public high school out of shame and embarrassment. So I switched from DuPont High School to Charleston Catholic High School, also known as Sacred Heart High School. Like my conversion to Catholism, this switch was also a big mistake. I was again sexually molested, this time by a Franciscan priest. This occurred almost every day. I found it increasingly difficult to concentrate on my studies with this priest genuflecting on his knees before me and telling me that he was blessing St. Peter.
All this took place when I was still 17 years old. I was becoming acquainted with the ways of the world at an early age. Although under age I started going to Charleston's only gay bar, The Regency, which was owned by two lesbian lovers. Soon, as my life became wilder, I was introduced to moonshine and to a commercial liquor called "Rebel Yell." However, getting drunk a couple of times with the boys proved to be more than enough for me. I never developed a thirst for alcohol again.
I started hanging out in the red light district of Charleston called Court Street, which was only three or four blocks long. This was my first experience with whores, pimps and every vice of life.
I became fed up with my mother's alcoholism, my two bigoted uncles, my lying and conniving Aunt Tiny and, most of all, being sexually abused by Catholic priests. I found it increasingly difficult even to face my friends. So I dropped out of high school just two months short of being graduated in 1962. Hurt, humiliated and ashamed, I ran away from West Virginia to begin a new and hopefully more peaceful life with a new identity, in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.CHAPTER 2
I arrived in Washington, D.C. after hitch-hiking rides from my home in West Virginia. I had little money, not enough to rent a room or even buy three meals for a day. Like many runaways, even though I was 18 years of age, I ended up at the Trailways bus terminal. I went into the terminal's restaurant to get something to eat. While sitting there the terminal's restaurant manager approached me. His name was Eddie and ethnically he was an Eskimo (don't ask.) He inquired if I were new in town and looking for a job. Of course, I grabbed the opportunity, which included moving in with Eddie in his Capitol Hill apartment. Yes, I knew that Eddie was a classic closet case and trying to put the make on me but I had no other choice but to go along until I managed to get a few paychecks under my belt. I did not want to contact my grandfather for the money that I desperately needed, as I desired to be independent at long last.
After a month or so I managed to save enough money from the job to get my own room on the 1800 block Columbia Road, N.W. from an old lesbian landlady by the name of Miss Crim. I used to call her Miss Grim because she was somewhat weird. She only rented rooms to men. Everyday she would ask me to have lunch with her, which invariably consisted solely of a cup of tea and a small sandwich of cream cheese spread lightly on pumpernickel bread. Even though she was a lesbian, I came to suspect that her secret desire was to have a sexual experience with a young man.
Soon I managed to change jobs at the bus terminal from working in the restaurant to a baggage agent. My immediate supervisor was gay and he quickly promoted me to baggage manager. This did not last long as the terminal manager soon fired me: he was homophobic and constantly made anti-gay remarks. Which led me to send about 12 bus loads of passengers' luggage to the wrong destinations around the country as a means of getting even with him for his smart-ass anti-gay remarks. It really didn't bother me that I got fired because by then I had enough money saved up to live for a few weeks without a job.
In the spring of 1965, I moved to 19th Street, N.W. to share an apartment with a young lady about my age whose name was Sara. Sarah was from Macon, Georgia and had boyfriend by the name of Robert. Sarah was a modern interpretive dancer, while Robert was a manager in the credit department at the prestigious Woodward & Lothrop department store, locally known as Woody's. Robert was head over heels in love with Sarah, which presented a problem because while Sarah was strikingly beautiful, Robert was the classic nerd. Sarah eventually ruined him after she persuaded him to make dozens of false Woody's credit cards using various female names, which Sarah used to charge over $150,000 in merchandise in about three weeks time.
Then in 1966, I met a man who was the property manager of the Envoy Towers. He became very aggressive towards me and offered a free apartment in the Envoy Towers for one year in exchange for sex. The Envoy Towers was a first-class apartment building. I accepted his offer and soon found myself living for the first time in my life in luxury surroundings.
I got a job at a hospital in N.W. Washinton. My job title was post mortem technician or deiner. My task was to remove the hearts and aortas from children up to the age of 21 years. This was for government research on children's heart diseases under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, so essentially my job was under a subcontract from the government. For some reason I found that I had no problem in doing this type of work. I viewed it as a dead-end job, but one that continually offered up unusual experiences.
One of these that stands out in my memory was discovering that a female pathology intern, who was from India and had a painted star on her forehead and wore a sari, was a necrophiliac. Before performing an autopsy she would cover the face of the small cadaver with a wet brown paper towel and run her fingers over the body from head to toe, always spending too much time with fingertips touching the sexual organ. The first time I caught her doing this she tried to explain that this was a custom and ritual in India conducted on the dead. Naturally, I did not believe her because every time she performed an autopsy on a child who was 12 years or older, she made moaning noises and sounds as if she were reaching a sexual climax.
On another occasion during autopsy I opened up the head of a dead but healthy looking six month old child to remove the brain but there was no brain, just red liquid water. I even turned the baby upside down and drained the water through a huge tea strainer and could not find one microplasm of brain tissue.
I had the opportunity to perform another autopsy on a healthy-looking nine month old child but when I opened the chest cavity with the normal "Y" incision to get the abdominal organs, I was shocked to see the heart hit two beats and stop. I was by myself and immediately called for help. By the time doctors had rushed into the morgue, there was no heartbeat. To this day I often wonder if the child was alive or dead when it was brought to the morgue. I remember that when I started the autopsy its little body was still warm. Was the baby alive – did I kill it or did the doctors? The thought of this today often leaves me shaken.
My assistant technician, James, would sometimes work with me. During autopsies he would on occasion eat a sandwich with one hand and use the scalpel with the other hand. He would also smoke a cigarette and use the cadaver's toes as a cigarette holder.
After doing over a thousand autopsies in less than two years at the hospital it seemed to me that the doctors there were experimenting on children from poor families that had no money or insurance. I soon left, but sadly not before conracting Hepatitis B, after accidentally pricking my hand with the point of the scalpel during an autopsy. I became extremely ill. My skin turned a golden brown and my hair turned silver.
When I went to the emergency room at a different hospital, the Washington Medical Center, for the hepatitis, the staff there had to ask me if I were white or Black. I was isolated for three months.
When the hospital finally released me, I no longer had my apartment or any of my belongings. I was forced to go to Saints Paul and Augustine Catholic Church to beg for help. There I met a kind priest, Father Andre, who rented an apartment for me and gave me enough money for food and clothing. He even helped me find a new job. I certainly did not want to return to employment at the hospital morgue. I'd had enough of working with the dead.
The hospital, where I had contracted hepatitis B in its employ, refused to pay for my hospitalization at the Washington Medical Center. I was presented with a medical bill of over $100,000 and had no medical insurance. I attempted on several occasions to telephone the Center's billing office to work out some type of arrangement to pay the bill as I did not want to ruin my credit for something that was caused by a work-related accident. But the credit manager refused to even discuss the matter with me. He was a former detective with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and relished his new role as a gang-busting debt collector. Since there seemed no way to deal with him with principled integrity, I dealt with him another way.
I simply changed my name to Robert Antoine Chevalier and got a job at the Washington Medical Center in the billing department as an insurance adjuster. In no time at all I managed to misplace permanently all of the billing records for Robert Merritt, right under the nose of my immediate boss.
Then in January 1968 I got a new job as payroll clerk for Merkel Press, located right across the street from where I lived on Bryant St., N.W. I soon quit because my boss, Jerry, took up the annoying habit of wanting to work too close to me, and I mean really too close. So I accepted a position at Judd & Detweiller Publishing Company in the color productions departments. The pay was decent but the work was so boring that I soon decided to quit.
In April of the same year I went to work as a skip tracer for a collection agency in Mt. Rainer, Maryland. I found the work extremely stressful as I daily had to deal with countless persons who were suffering financial difficulties. On April 4, the office telephones started going crazy all of a sudden. We soon found out that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated. I lived about 10 miles from the office and no buses or cabs were running. I got home by riding in the rear of a National Guard truck, one of many that were pouring into Washington, D.C. While I lived in a Black neighborhood, I had no fear as everyone there loved me. I had only a small amount of money on me and wasn't even certain where I could purchase food as stores were being burned down. I reluctantly phoned my grandfather and asked him to wire me some funds so that I could survive until the crisis abated. He agreed to help and I set out to find a taxi that would take me to the Western Union office. I found one but on the way we had to pass through an area of the city where the rioters were still looting. One of the rioters apparently thought the taxi driver was white, when in reality he was Black but light skinned, and threw a brick through the windshield. The brick struck the driver's three year old son in the head. I jumped out to avoid other problems for the driver so that he could race his son to the nearest hospital emergency room. I never found out if his son lived or died. I was forced to walk through the rioting area by myself but got through unharmed and found my way to the Western Union office.
In May 1968 I moved to 1818 Riggs Place, N.W. While living there I had a series of jobs. I was one of the first males to work for Kelly Girls, Inc. I broke the sex equality barrier before females started breaking into jobs held only by males. I later worked part-time as a soda jerk for Trio's Restaurant at 17th and Q Streets, N.W. and subsequently as a soda jerk for Schwartz' Drug Store at Connecticut Avenue and R Street, N.W.
I took a job as an orderly at Doctors Hospital located just two blocks from the White House at 1815 I St., N.W. I would run from there to pull a double shift at the George Washington University Hospital where I worked as a clerk in the accounting department. (Years later I returned to work in the hospital's dermatology department, as a histopathology technician making slides for the famous Dr. Braun, a specialist in skin cancer and basil cell carcinoma. The only exciting thing that happened to me there was meeting George Meany, the powerful head of the AFL-CIO. Meany had cancer of the nose.)
I later worked for the Columbia Hospital for Women as a delivery ward technician. I have forgotten the name of the hospital's director at that time but remember her as a beautiful lady in every respect. The head nurse of the delivery ward was Mildred Turner. For some reason I loved that job. I guess it was because I just loved hospital and medical work in general.
Excerpted from Watergate Exposed by Robert Merritt, Douglas Caddy. Copyright © 2010 Douglas Caddy and Debbie Man. Excerpted by permission of Trine Day LLC.
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