Hemlock street was a dead-end road on a wooded hillside to the west of the Shenango river, occupied by only a few small family homes. Paul Leroy Gold didn’t live there; he had a room a mile away in the centre of town. Yet, on a Friday afternoon in March, 1942, he just happened to be on Hemlock street when a nine-year-old girl named Eileen came by, with a younger boy.
Paul struck up a casual conversation with them. He asked the boy if he would like some sweets, and gave him 50 cents to go to the store to get some. He told the girl about a baby doll that he had, and offered to take her to see it. He led her into the woods until they were some way from the road. Then he raped her.
The little girl went home and told her mother what had happened, and her mother called the police, who picked Paul up in his room an hour later. They took him to detective headquarters, where the girl and the boy identified him. He admitted what he had done and pled guilty in court the next morning. There is no record of his sentence.
Eileen was the youngest child of four. Her father, who worked in a steel mill, had died not long after she was born, having been ill for most of the few months that she had been alive. Her mother, a Sunday school teacher, struggled to raise the three children on her own, and had to send Eileen’s oldest brother to a Government-run work camp when he was sixteen.
Paul Leroy Gold did not know any of that, of course. It would probably have made no difference if he had.
In the later forties, when she was in her teens, Eileen became an enthusiastic girl guide. Although she failed to rise to the rank of patrol leader, she was always happy to organise wiener roasts and meetings at her house. She met a boy scout troop leader called Kenneth, and they married when they were eighteen. They set up home with Eileen’s mother in Hemlock street and named their first child James, after Eileen’s brother, who was a pilot in the air force by that time. The following year, they had a daughter, but she died when she was five months old—the same age that Eileen was when her father died.
Years later, Eileen’s husband took aviation training and, in 1968, became a flight instructor at New Castle airport. His choice of career might have been influenced by Eileen’s pilot brother. The two families had, after all, grown remarkably close over the years and had ended up spending more time around each other than might have seemed likely when they had first met. That was largely due to the fact that, in 1958, Eileen’s older sister, Mina, had married Eileen’s husband’s recently widowed father, which would have meant that Kenneth’s step-mother was also his sister-in-law, and Eileen’s sister was also her step-mother-in-law.
Paul Leroy Gold would not have known about any of that either. When he thought about Eileen, he probably pictured her as a child, perhaps still in among the trees off Hemlock street. And how did she picture him, all those years later, once she had a family of her own? With any luck, she wasted no time thinking about him at all.Sources: New Castle News (15 July 1933 “Births”; 2 Jan 1934 “Deaths of the Day”; 21 March 1938 “Personal Mention”; 28 March 1942 “Quick Arrest of Girl’s Assailant”; 10 Oct 1947 “Girl Scouts”; 10 July 1950 “Hoover-Sickels Exchange Of Vows; 10 June 1968, “Instructs Pilots”; 11 August 1958 “W H Stickels [sic] Will Reside On 4th St After Wedding Trip”)