Rest in peace, Cookie

Today, in 1986, a friend of mine named Betty Jean “Cookie” Hollis was found dead at a pavilion in a local park. Her clothes were on inside out, she showed signs of rape and was strangled. The night before, my mother’s boyfriend’s cousin showed up at our door at 12:45 AM in a state of panic, his clothes were inside out, and he asked to talk to my mom’s boyfriend. Of course, he was sleeping on the sofa recovering from a party that night that involved grain alcohol, PCP, marijuana and cocaine that took place in my mother’s home where I lived. I told him that my mother’s boyfriend was sleeping. He asked me to tell him once he got up in the morning that he had been to visit. When Cookie was found, I knew that the visit was somehow involved. Against my mother’s advice not to be “a snitch” or a “narc”, I went to the police station and told them what had happened that night when he showed up at the door.

Two weeks later he was arrested for murder and rape, but he got out on bail. For the next two months, until he was convicted in September of 1987, he constantly threatened to kill me and often banged on windows and the air conditioner asking me to open the door and talk to him. I called the police every single time it happened. I testified in court about what time he came to the door, what he was wearing, and answered a stupid question from the defense lawyer. After he was convicted and sentenced to 25-45 years in prison, he called me through my mother’s boyfriend and told me that he was going to kill me at soon as he got out. I have never forgotten that. All my life I made sure to have private unlisted phone numbers.

Now that we have technology and for a price anyone, I MEAN ANYONE, can get my address, phone number, credit report, background check, and other personal information on the internet. On this day, every year, I take a moment to remember Cookie and to remain vigilant that one day I may get a very unpleasant knock on my door. There is nothing I can do to keep my address and personal information out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have it. Think about that the next time privacy laws get shelved or are not voted on by your representative in the House and Senate. I do every single day. Rest in peace, Cookie, you are not forgotten.

By Michele Kalis
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