Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Have Strayed

I haven't kept this blog on the right vein, or at least not on the vein I intended when I started it.  Of course, things changed drastically when Mother died.  BUT, I have been reading my grandmother's journals and it has taken me way back to when Mother was a young mother and wife.  I think I will try to get in her head, just a little bit, from way back then.
A little background info:
My mother had a college degree in Zoology from the University of Tennessee.  She went to Atlanta  for training at Grady Hospital in lab technology.  That is where she met my dad.  He had been off to "war".  Actually, he quit high school to join the Merchant Marine's.  He wasn't able to get into one of the three big branches of the military due to a heart condition he had since birth.  His big brothers had joined up though, and I guess he thought he should, too.  It's hard for me to imagine that my grandparents let him quit high school to join the war effort, but that was a different time.  He never did finish high school.

Mother and Daddy met on a blind date.  I don't know a lot of details, but I did find a letter that Mother's best friend from home wrote to her.  Mother had saved a whole box of these letters, but when I found them they were very mildewed.  I only read one, and then decided that what they wrote to each other wasn't my business, so since they were in such bad shape anyway, I threw them away.  Sometimes I wish I had read the rest, but..........  Anyway, in that letter, Mother's friend said something like, "If you don't tell me more about this tall, dark, and handsome man you met, I'm going to go crazy."  Daddy really was a tall, dark, and handsome man!  He and his brothers all were.  His mom had some Cherokee Indian in her ancestry.  You could see that gorgeousness in him.  In this letter, Mother's friend also makes mention of Mother going to meet his parents.

Like I said, I know little about this period.  Mother didn't talk about it much.
They married in 1946 in an afternoon service at the church where I am a member now.  This is the church where my great grandparents went.  Anyway, the friend, who wrote the letters, and her husband (one of Mother's lifelong friends, too) hosted a reception for them at their tiny little house!
My grandmother made Mother's dress.  I still have it.  It is short and has a detachable peplum.  The fabric is yellowed now, so I really don't know if it was white or off white.  My grandmother also made, by hand, not machine, a beautiful gown and robe for Mother.  My parents went on a honeymoon in the Cherokee National Forest.  They stayed in a friend's cabin.
My dad worked for my grandfather, who owned a hardware/farmer's supply store in town.  He must have had "issues" with my grandfather.  He worked at various other jobs when we were little.  I don't know all those details, either.  My grandmother mentions that,  "R___ worked his last last day at the store today.  O____was sick in body and mind over it."  So, like I said, I don't know what happened.  I do know that my grandfather was a demanding person and perhaps he didn't like "something" about my dad's work habits.  I don't know, this is speculation.
My sister was born within the first year of their marriage.  Mother almost died from toxemia.  She was rushed to a hospital about 60 miles away.  She had convulsions, etc....  My sister was born 2 months early by C-Section.  She was tiny.  However, she was able to leave the hospital before my mother was.  Mother was told that she shouldn't have any more children.  I don't know if birth control methods were just about non-existent was the reason that she had my brother three years later or not.  He was also born by C-Section at the same hospital where my sister was born.  Mother was in better health when he was born, however, and she actually recovered more quickly than she did with my sister.  The doctors tied Mother's tubes when he was born.
SOoooooooooooooooo, 18 months later when Mother fainted in a department store,  she was taken to the same hospital where my sister and brother were born.  It was then that she learned she was 5 months pregnant with ME!  Uh....... back then, they only tied the tubes.  They didn't cut, tie, and cauterize them as they do now.  But, Mother always said I was her BONUS BABY.  She had the least trouble with my birth of either of the others, even though she did have another C-Section.
I always thought that I was the cause of the stress, etc.... that caused my parents break-up.  Of course, I know that wasn't the case, but really, it made sense to me when I was a kid.  I was the third, and unexpected child, born when Daddy was not settled in a job.  So, doesn't it make sense that my birth is what shook up their marriage.  Our house wasn't really big enough for 3 kids, only 2.  No one ever said anything to me to make me feel this way, but until I was an adult, I thought that I was the cause of their problems.  I still have to stop and tell myself that this wasn't true.  First of all, I had nothing to do with the fact that I was born.  I think, they were having issues long before I came along, etc.........  All of the sensible explanations in the world didn't make me feel any better, though.  I never verbalized how I thought to Mother.  I just felt guilty.

I will stop here for today..........  I'll try to get into Mother's head during this period of her life in my next post.  I am not going to go back to reread this and make grammatical or typographical corrections, so please just overlook any you see.


  1. So interesting how kids think & feel vs an adults views. Of course, they probably had issues long before you. Back then we didn't verbalize like we do now, Julia. Different world.

    And look at beautiful you ...

    Happy St. Paddy's Day ~
    Have a beautiful weekend ~
    TTFN ~


  2. this is so interesting Julia- and even more interesting to me because my Mom won't talk about my real father to me either and I can't remember any of it myself- so there is a big hole in my life. I think you are very lucky to have these journals that give you a glimpse into her world ♥