Denise's Story, Page 2 Page 3
Page 1
Denise's Story, Con't.

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The *Home*

Once the decision was made that I go to a Maternity Home, the next question was... where? You see, according to my Mom, to stay in my hometown would be disastrous, someone might see me! So, it was decided that I go to an out-of-town *Home for Unwed Mothers*, [for the sake of MY reputation]. Paul was totally left out of any decision making. In fact, all communication was cut off between us by our parents. They said, "It's for the best". However, if you feel a need to talk to him, you can do it through the lawyers.

The search began and my parents found a "Home" in Jackson, MI and another one, close by, in Toledo, OH. Our first visit was to the *home* in Jackson, MI. In every sense of the word, there was not one thing about it that resembled a *home*. It was an old, isolated house whose exterior was further diminished because it was a typical fall day… rainy and windy and cold outside. I always felt the rain represented tears being shed for me and my situation because I was so unhappy. We went inside to talk with the Director and she took us on a short tour. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. I mean, NO noise. "where is everybody?", I asked. The Director said, "Everyone is at school". "everyone?", I questioned. "Yes, everyone else is of school age so you would be the oldest girl here". that did not set well with me. "but what would i do all day"? The Director informed me that there was a shopping mall not too far away, and of course, I could take some art classes. "ART"? (my ears pricked up at the mention of the word, art) "Oh yes, dear, we have these little craft classes that you could take to keep you busy". "Of course, the instructor only comes in twice a week, but I'm sure you could find other things to occupy your time while you're here with us". We went upstairs on that note.

The upstairs... I didn't think it could get much worse... I was wrong. I will never, ever, forget the impression the halls and rooms left with me, even after all these years. I can remember the feel and foreboding atmosphere they exuded. We stepped into a stark white, clinically clean, antiseptic smelling room that had Doctor's instruments and a cold hard steel examination table. "what's that for? I asked. "Oh, all the girls have their weekly exams in this room". not me, I thought. We backed up and retraced our steps then walked a few steps down the hallway until we stopped in front of another door. The Director opened the door, (it creaked on its hinges) and upon entering the room, I glanced from side to side, looking for any semblance of somebody living there. "whose room is this"? ", I asked, very softly. "It's a bedroom of one of the girl's who’s at school", she responded. "but, why is it so bare? no personal items, no books, no papers... nothing?" The Director’s tight-lipped glare froze me to the spot as she answered my question, “The girls really aren’t encouraged to bring personal belongings because we will ‘not’ be held responsible for lost or stolen items. It’s best that way, don’t you agree, dear?”

We left the room and retraced our steps back out to the car. I climbed into the back seat and cried all the way home. All 85 miles of it. My thoughts hop-scotched one over the other and became all jumbled as I thought of the home we had just left. Oh, I can't stay in that place. Who would visit me? No friends close by... no family members either. I'll be so isolated and alone there. And, worst of all, I'd be the oldest girl? Nobody to relate to, nobody to talk to… no one even close to my age. What will I do to keep myself busy? Big deal, a craft class... only two times a week... and so what if there's a mall near by. No extra money to spend, anyway. When am I ever going to stop crying? And Mom said only one phone call per week? (another way to *punish* me, i thought) I'll never make it… I simply can’t stay there.

I cried for five solid days about that place. My Mom and Dad finally listened to my feelings about the *home* in Jackson and we reached a compromise. I could stay in the local *home* IF… i didn't care WHAT the conditions might be, I'd be close to my friends and I could call them or they could come over to visit me. My Mom spoke loudly to get my attention and said, “We know the Holidays are coming up but if you want to come back to the house for a visit, there’ll be conditions you’ll have to abide by.” "such as"? , I asked. “You’ll have to arrive at night, when it’s dark. And, when you leave, it has to be early enough in the morning so the neighbors won’t see you or suspect your *condition*. Oh and one more thing. You’re not allowed to answer the phone.” "why not"? , I asked. My Dad answered, "Because your Mother can't remember what story she's told to whom. You're either up at your sister's home helping her, or away at school or you’re working. She simply has too much on her mind to keep track of the stories, so just don’t ever answer the phone." I truly think I would have agreed to ANYTHING, as long as I was able to remain in my hometown. "Oh, and one more thing," my Mother pointed out defiantly, "We're going to the jewelry store tomorrow to buy you a wedding band to wear, you're starting to show".

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This page was created 4 Jan 1997 and updated 8 Oct 2005
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Copyright © 1997-2005, Denise Frederick
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