The time arrived in March 2012 when Gladys and I had our talk. It was a beautiful Friday afternoon; I went to visit the three graves: Dorothy,
and Viola. I have to drive past the green house on my way to the graves; I looked for Gladys and did not see her outside. I went to visit the graves and decorated them each for Easter. Upon my drive down the hill I saw Gladys; she was outside strolling around her property surrounded by her cats. My heart felt very happy to see her as I have wanted to chat with her, I wanted to know about Dorothy from a “friends” viewpoint. I doubted she would remember me from my stop to find the grave back in August. Remember me she did! Gladys instantly recognized me and seemed very happy to see me, she also seemed eager to chat with me. Gladys told me she had hoped I would stop by someday so we would get to talk. She asked me my name again and I told her, and then she said “which of the forces did you join?” Mary, my sister had joined the Peace Corps after college. So I told Gladys, that she must be referring to my sister, Mary, she joined the Peace Corps after college. Then Gladys said to me still not knowing who I was exactly, “I knew you were Dorothy’s daughter the instant I laid eyes on you”. Those very words replay in my mind from time to time as that was the best compliment ever to me! Then Gladys added that she thought Dorothy only had two children, a boy and a girl. I knew if Gladys really knew Dorothy that I would be faced with this eventually. I felt at complete liberty to tell Gladys everything if I had wanted too. I have already been in contact with Mary and Michael and they have been spreading the word about me being in their lives so I felt I could freely talk to Gladys about Dorothy. Gladys told me that her brother and she used to play cards with Dorothy and her brother Lawrence from time to time. She added that Dorothy led a very busy life what with raising two children on her own so rarely did she get to join in the card games, but that when she was able they always had fun. Lawrence
I decided to tell Gladys everything about me and my adoption and how I was Dorothy’s third child. I didn’t go into all of the details, more or less skimmed the surface of things. She asked me questions, not too many, and I answered them.
Gladys told me that her family had owned the Mercantile store and pointed in the direction of the store and told me what to look for when I left that the building on the corner was once the Mercantile. Gladys told me that Dorothy came into the store once a week and was a very quiet lady, kept to herself, was very kind and a gentle type and then added that Dorothy was very stylish. Gladys told me that Dorothy was quite the seamstress and made her own clothes, that her and her children were always dressed impeccable. This I had also heard from Mary and Michael.
Gladys is such a nice woman, looked like a hard working woman in her day. If my Mother was alive she would be 90 in August 2013, Gladys seemed younger, not all that much, possibly 85. I didn’t ask her and she did not offer.
This was what I was thinking prior to actually talking to Gladys. Was Gladys one of the people in the small town that Dorothy might have been ashamed to bring home a baby, being she was unwed and pregnant? If you remember, Mary and Michael felt that Dorothy left home to hide her pregnancy and then placed me for adoption due to being ashamed of being in that predicament at 39 and ashamed of people would say.
If what Mary and Michael thought was true, then my next question to Gladys was this “Gladys, if Dorothy had told her community she was with child and unwed would people in this town have talked about Dorothy?” Gladys asked me what year I was born, so I told her 1962. Gladys said “OH MY heavens, YES, Dorothy would have been the talk of the town”. I said: so it is fair to say that Dorothy gave me up for adoption because of what others would have thought and said about her. Gladys: “yes, probably so. They would have also had a few names to call the baby”. Gladys told me that 1962 was a different day and age, she said Dorothy was probably talked about anyway for being divorced, so being Dorothy became pregnant without a husband it would have been unheard of in those days. I said to Gladys, do you think if Dorothy would have brought me home from the hospital in February and you would have seen me in June or July sitting on a blanket on the front lawn with my Mother, brother and sister, and saw how cute of a baby I was, people would still criticize? Gladys said “YES!” She added “they would criticize our Lord if he walked down the street in sandals”.
This is the part that really breaks my heart. Not that my Mother gave me up for adoption. But that she loved me like only a Mother does, she wanted to keep me, she suffered the remainder of her life, she was never the same, was in fact depressed, and all because of what other people may have of thought of her. Yes, we have come a long way since 1962, but shame on anyone that would have thought less of this beautiful kindhearted woman whom I am happy to have as my Mother.