“In all of these pages, 100’s of pages, many many hours of investigation, going to the Philippines, going to Chicago, going all over the country, there’s not one scrap of evidence that Michael Jackson ever harmed a child, did anything wrong, committed any crime. It’s almost a vindication when you look at this. The FBI looked at all of these matters and said “there’s nothing here,” and I think that’s the most startling thing which I’ve seen.”—(via hotstreet)
Excerpt from 'In search of Neverland' by Gloria Berlin
"Michael Jackson was always looking for ways to do wonderful things for people. In the early 1980s, I sent him a letter telling him about a black family whose property I had listed for sale right near the Coliseum. The 87-year-old father, who had severe heart disease, had three younger children ranging in age from 16 to 19, still struggling to get through their schooling. This elderly father took care of them as best he could. He sent them to school and prepared meals for them. They helped with house cleaning chores and did their own laundry. (There was no mother in the house; the drug- addicted white mother had committed suicide a few years earlier.)
I told Michael Jackson the story and I told him that the 50-year-old nephew had taken over this caring for the teenagers when the father died at Good Samaritan Hospital. They were about to lose their home to foreclosure; even though I had the property listed for sale, no one was buying it. I felt compelled to get help for them so they could continue to attend school.
Michael telephoned me after receiving my letter. “Well, I want to help,” he said, “so give me the address and the telephone numbers.” Michael then sent someone to visit them with gifts. He talked to the 50-year-old nephew who was taking care of these younger children after his uncle had passed away.
Michael kept the house payments up so it wouldn’t be seized through foreclosure and could remain on the market until it sold. It went into probate for open bidding by potential buyers because the elderly man did not leave a will or a trust for his children. Michael sent someone down there to keep bidding up the price. Finally the property was sold, and the children went to live with the cousin at his apartment. Michael arranged for them to get a larger 3-bedroom apartment so that this gentleman could take care of his niece and two nephews. These three teenagers graduated high school and went to college while staying with their cousin.
Since there wasn’t even burial insurance, Michael also helped to pay for their father’s burial, a man he had never met. And, of course, he continued helping these three teenagers until they graduated from high school and went to college on special grants.
Of all the mystery surrounding Michael Jackson, his genius has been unquestionable since the onset of his professional career at the age of five.
It also seems clear that most of the adults entrusted with the care of this rare child exploited him for their own fame and fortune. All the love and adoration showered upon Michael Jackson from every corner of the earth thoughout his entire life never seemed to fill those unfathomed voids carved out during his unique childhood.
I remember watching the Bashir Living with Michael Jackson “documentary” several years ago and wondering why, with all the armchair psychologist opinions about Michael Jackson’s childhood, no one seemed to be evaluating his childhood experiences as those of a profoundly gifted child.
During the interview, Jackson spoke about his father’s reluctance to listen to him sing, insisting that Jermaine was the lead singer of the group, and that he only entertained young Michael at the insistence of his wife. Once he saw his son’s talent, Michael was the lead singer.
It would certainly be nearly impossible for his older brothers, only children themselves, to feel no envy for their phenomenal little brother taking center stage as they rocketed to superstardom. In the interview, Jackson also spoke about his cousins, and even his father making fun of him during his teenage years, pointing out his greasy face and his large nose.
Perhaps his father was trying to keep his young ego in check, never imagining that the ego of someone so brilliant and talented could be so desperately fragile.
Although Michael’s giftedness was more profound than most, his story is an excellent example of the hardships all of these children face. First and foremost is the fact that these children are indeed fragile.
They contemplate everything on a deeper level than their peers, often more deeply than can express in words. An image of a starving child on the other side of the world may haunt the dreams of a gifted seven-year-old for weeks. Gifted children tend to be hypersensitive, both physically and emotionally.
They hear more, smell more, taste more and feel more. These heightened senses can be overwhelming and filtering out the physical and emotional noise can be exhausting. Michael spoke of fainting when his father entered the room. When Mozart was very young, loud sounds would cause him to vomit.
Another thing Michael mentioned in the interview was that someone had referred to him as a “forty-two-year-old midget” when he was little. This is another prominent issue with gifted children; their development is asynchronous. They may seem many years older or younger than their chronological age depending on the situation they are in at any given moment.
Most importantly, gifted children are often ostracized by their peers and even the adults around them. They are made to feel weird or odd. Often the people around them feel jealous of their talents, or simply can’t understand why a gifted child acts the way she does, whatever her peculiarities may be. If their giftedness has escaped the notice of their parents and teachers, they may even be labeled slow.
The Gifted And Talented Education program at the San Diego Unified School District was founded with the intention of addressing the unique difficulties that gifted children present.
Still, many of the GATE certified teachers in the district fail to recognize that gifted children aren’t just smart, but challenged in many ways. Michael Jackson is an extreme example of extreme giftedness, but every adult who is parenting or teaching a gifted child can heed the lesson of how important it is to recognize a gifted child’s failings as well as his talents.