While looking at the phone to see what time Mary called me, my phone rang and it was Mary calling me again. I answered the phone with a simple “Hello”. The conversation started off slow and full of apprehension on both of our parts. It seems to me now that we both wanted something to become of this “new” finding, this new relationship that was just budding, that we did not want to say anything wrong that could hurt the other right out of the gate.
I wish I could tell you that I remember the conversation word for word. I do remember the highlights word for word, the little blips that mean so much to me to this day. The BIG thing from the conversation was that Mary knew nothing about my birth. Mary had no idea that I was ever even born nor did she know that Dorothy, her Mother was even pregnant with me.
I know what you are thinking right about now…NO WAY, you can’t hide a pregnancy?! Well Dorothy did. Dorothy had to conceive me in April 1961 in order for me to be born in January 1962. In May she told her family, Mary and Michael that she was feeling depressed and that she needed to seek help. She told them she needed to “go away” for awhile. She needed to feel better. Dorothy took a leave of absence from her employer, packed her bags and left home. Dorothy asked her sister Clara to watch over Michael who was 14 years old at the time. Mary was 20 and in college away from home. Dorothy told the same story to Clara (her sister), that she was depressed and needed to go away for awhile.
Dorothy left home, no one knowing where she went other than she was seeking help for depression. In October 1961, three months from my birth, Dorothy checked herself into a maternity home for unwed Mothers. In January Dorothy gave birth to me and returned home to her family on February 9th after signing the papers to relinquish me to Catholic Charities.
Mary received my letter on Thursday but needed time to let this sink in and needed time to figure out the time frame of Dorothy’s “depression”. Mary told me “now everything makes sense”. Dorothy was not depressed, she was pregnant, and in 1962 Dorothy would have been ridiculed for being 39 years old, single and pregnant. She was most likely ashamed and felt she could not admit to being pregnant to others in a small town so she hid from the world. She hid me from the world. This is the part that brings me great pain. To know this beautiful woman was so ashamed to admit she needed someone one day and the result was me. That she was so fearful that a town as small as her home town would not have accepted her and her new baby (me). This kindhearted, compassionate, generous woman gave up a child, her child and mourned me the remainder of her life.