In what seems to be the soft launch of “Moms Gone Wild: NEPA,” some pretty mindless broads have been getting their mugs in the local papers and on television. Did I say broads? That’s probably an insult to broads.
Last week, Michele Pace, age 39 and Donna “Mom” Zilla, age 40, were picked up in Wilkes-Barre during a meandering joyride along George Avenue on March 28. Police officials said the women were higher than the price of premium blend gas after they said they snorted bath salts. Also along for the ride were Zilla’s two small children, who probably should have taken the wheel.
On Monday, a Hunlock Creek mother did the walk of shame for NEPA’s press corps. Michele DeMarco, age 33, was arrested after she ‘fessed up to letting her two boys, ages 10 months and 2 years, in a vehicle that was stuck in the mud in Newport Township. She left the tots alone and wandered around until daybreak before being picked up by a motorist. According to a report, DeMarco was at a party on Sunday and couldn’t locate her husband, so she decided to buckle in the kids before taking her Taurus on an off-road excursion to look for him.
If not so tragic, this would be sad. The lack of common sense, parental responsibility and decent human behavior is evident here. We’re not talking about teen moms under peer pressure who act up and have to be corrected here. We’re talking about full grown adult women, some a few years younger than me, acting like they haven’t a care in the world. A check in the backseat would reveal otherwise.
As a mother of three children, I understand that there’s no guarantee that good parenting will yield good results. But, it’s my belief that bad parenting increases the chances of bad results.
My protective instinct for children was formed through a lifetime of listening to horror stories about the evil in the world around us. I’m just wondering if they might have a greater understanding of the fragility of human life by paying more attention to what can happen to kids, some who have had parents filled with good intentions but were dealt a terrible hand.
In the 1970s, I was on the playground at Benton Elementary School when I first heard the names Paul Freach and Edmund Kean, two Minooka boys who went missing. It was terrifying to hear how they were picked up by William Wright, molested and murdered. Wright was sentenced to life behind bars. This is my first memory of what can happen in a world filled with ruthless, evil predators.
In the 1981, I remember the frantic search for two other missing children. Four year old Christopher Ziemba and his eight year old sister, Cheryl, vanished on a summer’s day. Their bodies were found two days later in an Old Forge landfill. A young man from their neighborhood, Joseph Aulisio, was convicted of their murders. He was 15 at the time of the killings. Shockingly, he often spent time in the home of the kids and wasn’t considered any kind of threat to them.
When I was much younger, I was a reporter for WILK and I had two little boys of my own. After work, I took them out in the stroller when my husband and I lived in the Lee Park section of Hanover Township. I came upon some commotion on Barney Street. I asked a police officer what was happening. A little girl was missing, he said stoically. Pressing, I asked more. She had simply disappeared from her house, he said with a grim tone in his voice. You didn’t need to be a detective to figure out the officer didn’t think there was a happy ending on the way. The body of three year-old Joelle Donovan was found stuffed in a plastic bag in Solomon Creek. She had been sexually assaulted and killed by her uncle, Michael Bardo. Her little nightgown was an exhibit at his trial that I will carry in my memory for the rest of my life. Bardo sits on death row, his execution order signed by former Gov. Tom Ridge.
With memories of the Bardo case and some other courtroom tragedies involving the young and the vulnerable, I have had my share of full out freakouts when I lost sight of one of the kids when they were little. My paranoia and understanding of the world’s cruel streak had a large impact on their early lives. “You don’t understand,“ I would hysterically say once I located them at a neighbor’s house or at the playground. “Bad things happen.” There was mostly a series of puzzled looks and shrugs from them.
I have failed many times as a parent over the years. I have stretch marks on my brain from trying to think of the proper strategy to make them understand that life can be cruel and people can be animals. I have worked to strike a balance between parental intrusion and childhood liberty. Believe me, it doesn’t always end well.
In the above cases, it looks like it's time to teach the moms that those little people have value. A blink of an eye and a turn of a head and a touch of evil can make them realize it the hard way.