Sunday, 18 August 2019
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Excerpts from Chapter 20

Morning Reality

Spring 1965


Scalding tears streamed down my cheeks onto my pillow, as I lie in bed listening to the sound of my mother’s nagging voice calling me to get up. Paralyzed by the terror in my heart, I could not force my leaden legs to move from the comfort of my bed. I realized the moment I put my feet on the floor, I would have to face the stark reality I had been avoiding for over two months.

Mom’s wake-up call was not necessary; I didn’t sleep most of the night. In fact, I had spent many sleepless nights the past few weeks. The rising sun casting its bright rays through my bedroom window annoyed me. I yanked the shade down to shut it out. How can the sun be shining when my heart and head have been filled with so much pain?

Realizing I could no longer avoid the inevitable, I reopened the shade and let in the sunshine. Maybe it would help.

By this light, I was able to see my bulletin board filled with so many reminders of happier times—the dried flowers from the Spring Gala; a certificate for Citizen-of-the-Month from Lincoln Jr. High School; articles I’d written as a journalist for the local paper and my bid from Theta Gamma Society. I gazed at a photo of a young girl with a dazzling smile, dressed in a floor-length, emerald-green satin gown as she proudly stood next to a good- looking guy. I stood there remembering the wonderful time Randy and I had at the Snow Ball Dance in the Crystal Ball Room of the Hotel Jamestown. The next picture was Randy in his football uniform, looking proud as captain of the team.

In another photo posted on my board, I am sitting with JoAnne and Lynn on the fifty-yard line of the Warren-Jamestown game, cheering the team on. Would I ever have happy memories like those again? I forced myself out of bed and wandered around my room picking up pieces of memorabilia. Each item I held in my hands evoked another beautiful memory. I donned my plaid, Scottish Theta Gamma tam and looked into the mirror. I saw the reflection of a proud young girl the day she opened her bid to Thete. My stomach churned as I thought about my sorority sisters. They were my closest friends. What would happen to our friendships when they found out? Would they be as ashamed of me as I was of myself? Would I lose the respect of these treasured friends?

I was flooded with remorse when I lifted the Bible Granny C had given me on the day I was confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church. How would I be able to tell her what I had done? Unstoppable tears of shame flowed down my cheeks. I knew I would be hurting and disappointing everyone in my family when I finally told them I was pregnant.

It was painful to look at the eight-by-ten colored photo of me surrounded by my four beautiful sisters. I had arranged to have the picture taken in December as a gift to my parents for Christmas. It had been a hassle to get four young girls dressed in their Christmas outfits, walk them to the studio, and keep them still for the sitting. But the hardest part was keeping it a secret from Mom and Dad.

I am fifteen-years-old in this picture. My mid-length brown hair is styled into a flip; I resemble my mother through the eyes. I am proudly smiling as I sit in the center with little Lisa on my lap. The light-brown curls tumbling onto her forehead accentuate her big, brown eyes. Linda is three in this photo and is standing beside me. She is wearing a red pinafore trimmed in white rickrack and a white, puffy-sleeved blouse. Her hair is pulled into a ponytail, and her long, dark brown bangs draw attention to her beautiful brown eyes. Both girls resemble Frank.

Kim is standing directly behind Linda. She chose to wear her favorite hunter-green dress with a white, embroidered inset. The faint smile on her lips and the shape of her eyes show her resemblance to Granny C. Judy is standing next to me on the right. She is dressed in a dark-green jumper and a blouse covered with Christmas designs and is almost a head taller than Kim is. If her shoulder-length hair was short and her horned rimmed glasses were removed, she would look just like Dad at ten. There is no question about where the familial traits shared by Judy and Kim come from—they are definitely Dad’s.

Surrounded by my darling sisters, I look like their mother. I am usually the one they come to when they fall and get hurt, the one who has to solve their battles, the one who tucks them into bed many nights, and the one listens to their prayers. I am the thread that binds us all together― but maybe not for long.

After studying this picture, I set it down and knelt on the floor by my bed. I prayed, “Dear God, please forgive me. How could I let myself get into this situation? My family will be so disappointed and hurt when they learn the truth. I cannot think about this baby growing inside me. It’s too painful. How can I bring an innocent child into this world and this life; a life I have been trying so hard to escape? What will become of my four sisters if I have to get married and leave home? Please help me find the answers.” Prayer calmed me, and I was ready to face the day ahead....

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