My mother got pregnant with me the night her youngest sister was born. Mom was the second child of 11 and the oldest girl. She helped to care for babies all through her growing years. My Grandparents were devout Christians and my Mom was raised in a very strict Holiness home. When she met my birth father she was 17 and had never had a date. She was allowed to date John because his Mother and her Mother were friends and went to the same church. He did not go to church with his Mother, and Jesus was likely the furthest thing from his mind.

He was a rebellious 20-year-old who did not want to get married. My grandmother forced him to marry my mother with the threat of having him arrested. It seemed like he was finally accepting the marriage one day when he asked my Mom and my Grandmother to go for a ride with him so they could discuss it and make plans, but he was angry. He took them to a construction site and drove around through the ditches and holes and dirt mounds at a high rate of speed. He later admitted he was hoping to cause a miscarriage. 

They did get married and went on a honeymoon. Mother thought he changed because he bought her pretty dresses and gave her vitamin pills to “keep her healthy”. When they got home she showed my Grandmother the “vitamins”, it was quinine which causes spontaneous abortion.

He hadn’t wanted to get married and he certainly didn’t want children. During the pregnancy, he boasted if the baby was a boy he would get everything but if a girl she would get nothing. When I was born he developed an allergy to little girl babies. He could never touch me or pick me up because he was allergic.

I had a recurring dream nearly every night for as long as I can remember until I was in my early 30s. In the dream, I saw an infant in a bassinet crying. There was a man standing over the bassinet with his hands clasped behind his back. Not moving, just staring into the bassinet. In the dream, I felt the baby begging to be held and me as an adult hovering over the scene urging him to pick the baby up, to help her. With the Lord’s help, I came to realize the dream was not a dream at all but a memory. But that’s a story for another time.

We lived with John’s parents, who loved me but their son was a spoiled child and he was the real “boss” in the house. One week before my first birthday they were all eating oatmeal for breakfast. My mother’s parents had come to pick me up to babysit me while she worked. I was fussy and not feeling well so she wanted to stay home and care for me. John was angry and demanded she go to work. He started pushing her around and when she tried to get away his mother grabbed her arms and held her while he dumped a bowl of oatmeal on her head.  My Mom’s parents were outraged! We went home with them and we never went back.

In the divorce, he was court-ordered to buy me birthday and Christmas gifts and child support of $10.00 a week. When I was old enough to get the mail from the mailbox I would see that check which was sent every week until I was 18. 

I remember John’s Father as a nice old man who came to see me at my Mammy and Pappy’s house. He came once a month or so until my Mom remarried when I was 3.

I remember seeing John when I was about 5 or 6. He brought a Christmas gift to my Mammy’s house while we were there on Christmas Eve. What I remember most about that visit was going into the dark kitchen after he left because my Daddy, (my stepfather), was in the kitchen crying. He picked me up and held me so tight. I will remember that hug forever.

I didn’t see John again until I was 17. That was after the devil tried to kill me for the second time.