(Foreward - This is a true story. The baby will be turning forty this year. Guess I waited a while to write about it. Right now, it' s a post in a blog. Not sure if it’s because I miss her even though she flew her two cats to us while she and her husband & kids were sent to Germany for three years or the recent death of Davy Jones but there are just things in life a person has no control over, maybe no control over life period. Whatever…but I thought I’d toss it out here and see what happens.)
I first saw a male appendage and was deflowered at eighteen, became pregnant and gave birth at nineteen. When you look at it and live it actually, it kinda looks like a helicopter on fire in the air and the rotor blade just got stuck.
The day I came home from the hospital I still had no clue. I was still at seventeen like what the hell happened to me, as if the years were two cats running through the living room at break neck speed. I knew I was pregnant. It didn’t occur to me that I was going to have a baby, even though I had prayed to become pregnant. No, I don’t give this to God. I am responsible for my behavior and actions, one of them happened to be a prayer.
My father, retired ASA died four days after my high school graduation. I heard and watched him take his last breath in my arms. I had graduated mid term in January, promised him that I’d go through the graduation ceremony and didn’t. He kept his. When I walked into my bedroom that night, coming home from the beach instead of a high school ceremony; I turned on the lights and shining brightly with love was his gift to me for my promise, a new black and white television that was all my own. Saturday he fixed my clock radio. Later that day he helped me at work when he picked me up. He carried in the weighted tables from outside instead of rolling them. I think of that now. I did then. The next day was Father’s Day and I had spent my money on my boyfriend. I bought him a silver bracelet that I later found on the floor in his car. I gave my father a card. He deserved more thought and effort than I gave him. Monday night he was in my arms dying taking his last breath and it was all going wrong fast. I looked in his eyes and screamed. I’m not a screamer but I shrieked the terror in my soul, I couldn’t help it. My father’s life was being taken from him and I couldn’t stop it. I was kneeling in our driveway,10:30at night, holding him. I tried to give him mouth to mouth resuscitation and forgot to pull out his tongue. My boyfriend and the father of my first daughter moved over and began working on him. The kid across the street ran over, he was in his garage. We’d been friends since I was eleven, still are forty years later. June of 1971, my world exploded. I have no memory of that summer, just glimmers in the dark of memory. My father, my rescuer was gone. I was left alone with a bereft mother and a brother who was leaving for college up state. I’d see him at Christmas. It was the look in my father’s steel grey eyes that I cannot forget, pleading.
I prayed to get pregnant, for someone to love me as much as I loved them. One night I had a dream that superman was in the phone booth and he stepped out and took me in with him and raped me. Somehow this was all okay with me within the dream and then the superman turned into an angel and flew away. I knew I was pregnant. Living at home, working at Sears part time, attending junior college full time, barely speaking to my mother I didn’t tell her until my boyfriend’s mom took over when she found out. I am white, he is black, this was ’71. I was given a month to move out. It coincided with finals at school, one of them being the Irish Jig for folk dancing class. I was five months pregnant and still dancing. I also took ballet and bar gymnastics. I loved the parallel bars, it was easy to hide my pregnancy, my stomach muscles were taunt.
The rotor blade starts taking it last chug before falling to the ground.
I moved into a place where a white girl shouldn’t be, let alone a girl by herself. I never felt that color distinction so some things didn’t occur to me, like walking alone at night down the street eight months pregnant. I dance around this lightly; I don’t mean to be racist. Walking the street at 3am on a hot summer night, chances are, you’re not alone. I decided that I needed to wash clothes because I couldn’t sleep. It was hot. I had no electricity or gas for that matter. The lights I used came in from outside. Luckily I was young and had good eyes. I also had the ignorance of youth going with me; where you do things that later wonder why nothing bad occurred to you. Angels. I believe it was angels with me that night. I grabbed my laundry basket full of clothes. It was just me; I had one basket carried on top of an eighth month belly. I waddled down the path to the sidewalk, and then turned down a dark alley. I lived here, I had no car, and I knew this area like the back of my hand. I walked everywhere, like now. I saw two figures walking towards me. I had no where to go and couldn’t really run. That should have been my thought but I felt a presence of calm. As they approached me, the two men began talking to me. It must have been strange running across a pregnant, skinny white chick in the dark carrying a load of laundry on their way home from the bar in their neighborhood. I tend to look at it as they were angels looking out for me. They towered over me, respectful in speech and told me that I shouldn’t be alone. I told them I was on my way to the Laundromat. I cannot remember the conversation now, the exact words, but they followed me there and sat outside while I did my load of clothes, dried and folded them. I stayed inside looking out through the large picture window at them sitting on the curb of the parking lot talking to each other, animated in conversation and felt very safe with them. When I left, they did too, escorting me to where the sidewalk met my path home. There comes times in my life when I can still feel their presence of safety and that night. I was completely devoid of danger in my head.
Angels bring a presence of calm.
At home in my apartment I was glad to have my battery run Panasonic record player with me. I couldn’t watch the television that my father had given me, I had no electricity. I baby sat a little boy down the way two nights a week. His name was Mikey; his mom’s job took her away at night to be with other men. Lots of them. Mikey was crippled; he was carried around in a little red wagon although he was twelve and didn’t exactly fit anymore. He had also never been to school so I taught him how to read that summer by teaching him the lyrics of The Monkees songs that were on the back of an album. I wrote stories for him during the day, saving them for the nights he’d come over. We’d sit under the street light and read. Later go inside and sing to the songs. I gave him the Monkees albums that I had as a gift. Like my father, I never got to say goodbye to Mikey. I was told that his older sister took him to live with her although I’m not sure where he went. It was as if it didn’t even happen and he never shared his shattered life with me, he was gone.
I woke up one morning not being able to stop peeing. No matter what I did urine ran down my legs, I changed my pants to the point where I had no more clean clothes. I walked to a phone outside and called my mother. She had been picking me up and bringing me to my doctor appointments. It had been her only interaction with me since I moved out. She was living in a new house, in another city nearby. She couldn’t emotionally take walking out to where my father died each morning to get in her car. Neither one of us were in our element.
My mother became alarmed when I told her; she recognized that my water had broke sometime during the night. I woke up thinking I wet the bed and it went on from there. I honestly had no clue of what goes on during the birthing procedure. No one had told me. I had only seen library books and their pictures.
Still life pictures.
The helicopter hurtles to the ground.