I was lying in bed the other night, having trouble falling asleep, (well, more so than usual, anyway). There were a multitude of thoughts tumbling through my head, mostly to do with needing to get back to writing the second book in the Penelope Parker trilogy. Then a thought popped into my head out of nowhere; I really know nothing about my mother or her life. Oh, I knew where and when she was born, but I knew nothing of her childhood, beyond a couple of old photos, taken when she was about five or six. I knew nothing of her teenage years, what schools she went to; nothing. I basically knew nothing about her young adult years, again except for a few photos taken with friends at a local Mardi Gras. I knew something of her life in her late twenties and thirties, through a few things she told me, meeting my dad, and some of their wartime wedding photos. I knew she had miscarried three children, due to the Rh blood factor, which caused her immune system to attack the unborn babies. Then nothing until they adopted me from an unwed mother’s home.
My biological mother was eighteen, and middle class; my biological father was the son of a banker, so of course, they were not permitted to marry. And the times being what they were, she was sent in shame to a home for unwed mothers, and forced to give me up for adoption. Which brings me to my adoption at ten days old. I was not a healthy baby, so I was put in a cot and placed in a dark corner, and ignored. That was what they did then; they focused on the healthy ones and forgot about the sick. This is where things were when my future parents came to the home.
My mother saw the cot in the corner, and as soon as she saw my red hair, she knew I was the one she wanted to adopt, but the nurse said, “Oh, you don’t want her, she’ll be dead within the year.” This only made my mother more determined, and in due course, I was adopted, and the rest is history.
This brings me to the point of this missive; when I’m gone, I want my children to know who *I* was as a person. Someone with a history, not just their mother, (albeit not always the best one). Hence this story, the story of my life.