“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
Lyndon B Johnson, 36th US President
She never opened an email from an unknown address. So why did she that time? She couldn’t give you an answer.
The email was from a young woman looking for her birth mother. Many years ago, far too many years ago, Sandy had been caught up in the headiness of the 60s. Beads, music and free love. Such carefree times that she and her friends really thought would never end. But they ended when she discovered she was pregnant. Only 17 years old, estranged from her parents and her only friends were members of this hedonistic set. Where to turn? There was nobody in her set to confide in or to give her any advice.
Then for the first time in many years she found herself in a church. She had passed it many times but today when she saw the open door she went inside. She sat down in a pew at the back and quietly thought about her situation. How could she deal with it all alone?
A quiet voice intruded into her chaotic thoughts “You are troubled my child. Perhaps I could help?” The speaker was an elderly clergyman who had noticed her sitting at the back of the church for a long time. His quiet voice interrupted her thoughts and she burst into tears. She then told this kindly gent her problems. She had no family to turn to, no money and few friends and she was pregnant.
But of course in those times, the clergyman had heard this tale many times. Young people thinking they were invincible and convinced that nothing bad could happen to them. He told her of a home for unmarried mothers, where she could stay until the child was born. She would have to work while she was there in the laundry or the kitchen until her time to give birth was close. She didn’t much like the idea of institutionalised living but really did she have a choice.
The alternative was crawling back to her parents. Her mother would have been ashamed and less that supportive and her father? Well he would have retreated into his study and let her mother deal with the situation.
No, the option being put forward by this clergyman was the better of the two.
He excused himself to make a phone call leaving her alone. She thought again of the alternatives to what he was suggesting. Maybe somebody knew of a way to get rid of the unwanted child. She knew there were people who would perform this operation for cash. But she didn’t have any cash and she didn’t know anybody who would lend her some and most of all she didn’t know who amongst her friends and acquaintances would know where to find such people. So the home for unmarried mothers had to be the choice.
When the clergyman returned he had on his hat. He told her the home was a short walk from the church and they could go now. So reluctantly she left the sanctuary of the church where for the first time in many days she had found some peace. They took a short walk and ended in front of a two storey house that looked no different from the other family homes on the street. There was nothing proclaiming its role and obviously those involved in running the home did so quietly. If she hadn’t been taken there she would have passed it as just another family home.
He rang the bell and the door was quickly opened by a smiling older woman who embraced Sandy and told her welcome. The house was quiet and comforting. In the background was the sound of a baby crying but it didn’t disturb the peace she felt in this house.
The clergyman bid her goodbye and after thanks and tears from Sandy, he left her. She never saw him again. After the birth of her child she went to the church to thank him but he was no longer there. He had been transferred to a parish miles away. So the best she could do was to write a letter to thank him.
A healthy daughter was born and as had been decided the child was offered for adoption. Sandy knew this was the best/only alternative for this child so after one last hug she gave her up. She knew nothing of where her child would grow up and with whom.
Through the years she had thought of this daughter. Where she was and how she was living. Was she in a loving family home? Did she have siblings? What was she doing now that she had finished school? So many unanswered questions. But her experiences in those months spent in the care of the women who ran the home, assured her that the couple would have been properly vetted and she just knew they would give her child a good home.
And now, out of the blue this email asking if she could be this woman’s mother. How did she feel about it. She had been divorced several years earlier and her only son and his family had emigrated to Canada so she was alone. Oh they kept in regular touch by phone and Skype. They visited from time to time and she had been to Vancouver to visit them but apart from a few good friends she was on her own.
Her ex-husband had been told of the adoption but they had never shared the information with their son agreeing that he need never know. What to do? Should she/could she ask her ex-husband for help and advice? She went to bed upset and wondering just what to do….
“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”