Goldie’s road to recovery
Book helps sexual assault victim become symbol of strength
Last Tuesday, Goldie Rowe-Reid did something she had not done in more than four decades.
The Green’s Harbour resident spent a significant amount of time in Spaniard’s Bay for the first time since two men viciously assaulted her — both physically and sexually — in December of 1970. Just 15-yearsold at the time, Goldie was scarred emotionally and physically.
With the aid of American author P.S. Henderson, Goldie has written a book about the crime and how it affected her life. The book, entitled “Good as Gold: The Day Puff The Magic Dragon Died,” recently hit the shelves.
And, that brings us to the beach and the parking lot of Precision Taekowndo. Goldie and Henderson were taking pre-orders for the book. They’ve sold out of the initial run of 300 and since then have sold some 1,500 physical copies. Last Tuesday the pair took over 300 pre-orders and Henderson was unable to give a number on how many ebook copies they’ve sold.
At the time of her assault, prosecutors told Goldie she wasn’t allowed back in Spaniard’s Bay. Before Tuesday, Goldie had only driven through the Conception Bay North community or gotten out briefly to take in a flea market.
On this day, Goldie spends upwards of five hours chatting with area residents and meeting new people.
“Today is a victory in a couple of ways,” Henderson noted to a supporter.
The sun was shining and strong winds darted across the lot. It was a beautiful day — one that makes you believe nothing bad can happen in the world.
But Goldie is living proof that isn’t the case. However, just being on the beach is seen as a giant hurdle for her by both Goldie and Henderson.
It was the same deal writing the book.
“I’ve been trying to get it out there for years,” Goldie said. “I’ve written it down wherever I could.”
Perhaps unbeknownst to Goldie, she has become a symbol of strength for other women who were, or are, victims of abuse.
“I don’t think Goldie realizes (she is an inspiration),” noted her husband Norm. “She’s stronger than ever.”
If her attackers were present, Goldie wouldn’t know. There are a couple of times when she tells people she “wouldn’t recognize them if they were here.”
The book hasn’t always been a therapeutic tool for Goldie. During its writing, she had a heart attack and a stroke.
She said “God has other plans” as she fought through another set of hurdles in telling her story.
Part of what keeps her going is her faith. She has had the Bible read to her on three different occasions and has started on her fourth time.
There are plans for a second book on her ordeal. The first one was rushed a bit because of her health issues and some of the finer details were omitted.
“I want to put the missing pieces together for readers,” she said.
Reflecting on her day last week in Spaniard’s Bay, Goldie was struck by a couple of things. One was the response she has received from the public. On more than one occasion, Goldie was given a warm and gentle hug. There were also gifts and lunches on Tuesday.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” she said between embraces. “This has taken me by surprise. I can’t believe the support I’m getting.”
Another surprise was the number of men who lined up to order their own copy of the book.
“It makes me proud to see a young man stood up there,” said Goldie. “It means you’re a good man. You wouldn’t believe the number of men who have came here today … they’re standing up for me.
“I guess when you see something wrong, you see something wrong.”
With some of her recovery hurdles cleared, there is still something she wants to accomplish. She wants to attend mass at the Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church in Spaniard’s Bay.
“I want to be closer to God, and that’s pretty close isn’t it sir?”
American author P.S. Henderson (left) and Goldie Rowe-Reid speak with supporters on the beach in Spaniard’s Bay on Sept. 29.