Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Part 2....Continuation........And Where Do We Go From Here ..... From ....Two Souls on Their Journey

Before I continue I'd like to point out the difference in sexual standards between 1960 and today. Although feminists were beginning to burn their bras, sex was cloistered in the confines of marriage and the subject was never a public issue. If a young girl became pregnant, she was immediately married or went on a few months vacation and came home a little slimmer. That was "it." Period. Since I was a product of the times, I naturally assumed Marilyn was married when I saw she was pregnant.

We were sitting in our little artists group at the Nic, shrouded in a haze of cigarette smoke, drinking Mexican beer and discussing the evening's drawing class. Someone put a nickle in the jukebox and Dean Martin was crooning "Volare" as a soft background to the animated discussions.

I happened to be sitting next to Marilyn and noticed she was very quiet and withdrawn from all conversation. It appeared she and I were about the only two in the whole cafe who weren't smoking.

She turned to me and said, "Smoky, isn't it?"

That opened up a conversation with both of us declaring we weren't smokers. We thought that was odd since it was a time when everyone smoked. Marilyn added that she stayed away from the Nic since she became pregnant because the cigarette smoke made her ill. When I asked her when she was due, she laughed nervously and said, Any minute." As Marilyn was studying my face, it must have betrayed some question about the father.

"I'm not married." she said, again studying my reaction.

I didn't have time to answer when she pointed to three guys sitting in a corner and said, "Harvey, the one taking his guitar from the case, is the father."

I did manage to ask if they were together and she blinked away tears as she told me he didn't want to get married or have anything to do with the baby. I knew Harvey slightly from class as he was one of the helpful students giving me drawing tips. He with his guitar and singing buddies were always the center of attention. Harvey was a charming bon vivant and I understood how he could literally charm the pants off a girl.

I reached over and touched her small, helpless hand. She turned toward me with tears streaking black mascara down her cheeks. This fragile girl began pouring out her circumstances as fast as the tears kept rolling down her face.

"I was so stupid, she said. I thought he loved me but I got pregnant and my Mother wouldn't let me me come back to Duluth because she didn't want my Father to know. She put me in this horrible home for unwed mothers and now the nuns want me to give up the baby. They're cruel and keep telling me what a sinner I am when they stick the papers in my face to sign. I haven't signed because I want my baby. What'll I do? I'm so miserable."

Marilyn suddenly stopped crying and apologized for burdening me with all this information. I assured her it was OK and I would stop by the home in a few days and we could talk some more. She said she'd like that .

Driving home, I kept thinking about the plight of this girl. I couldn't begin to imagine the anguish of having my babies taken from me. I'd stop to see her after my next class at the U.

The next day, Judy called and excitedly said Marilyn had a baby girl. After my class on Wednesday, I rushed to the hospital and literally ran through the hall to the maternity ward. I didn't understand my urgency as I flew into Marilyn's room. Marilyn was again in tears, just as she was the last time I saw her, but this time there was a nun standing over her with a pen and paper. Immediately I got the picture. She still hadn't signed the baby away. I stood by the end of her bed and didn't budge. The nun gave me a grim look as she told Marilyn she'd be back.

As soon as the nun left the room, the bag of emotions burst. We hugged each other as she told me the details of the birth and how much she loved her baby and didn't want to give it away and how badly the nuns were tormenting her . When I asked what she was going to do, she just shook her head.

In that moment, I swear I don't know what came over me. I said, "Get the baby. You're coming home with me." I couldn't believe those words were coming from my mouth. I didn't know this person. We lived in a tiny house, already over-crowded with four kids. Where would everyone sleep?

We took the baby, signed her out of the hospital and drove to the home to get Marilyn's belongings. How was I going to explain to Daryl that I'd brought home a person I didn't know AND HER BABY, to live with us?????

To be continued.


  1. Oh Manzanita!!! I was screaming for you to grab Marilyn and the baby and run far far away from that nun and you did and now I have to wait for part 3!?!?!?! Oh my goodness!!!!

    Dean Martin's dulcet tones are soothing me...!!

    Take care and THANK YOU for sharing this here!!!!

  2. Outstanding! Love it! What a cool lady you are. And Dino's Volare is truly in my top ten favorite songs. I stayed home to watch his variety show when I was a teenager. What a cool combo. A great story and a great song.

  3. What a great story... I'm a 60's gal and remember when some of the girls went to those homes and seems like they never came back. You are truly a wonderful person to befriend this young woman and her child. Good for you... She needed support and you stepped up to the plate.

  4. Wow, Manzi. Retrospectively, I would expect that of you! Dino should sing to you.

  5. Some people live a whole lifetime and never learn that their mission here is to help someone along the way, on their journey. You learned early, Dear Manzi. Good for you. Gerry

  6. You're such a tease! I wasn't going to comment until the end of the story, but now I just have to!! I was cheering when you took Marilyn home with you - and admiring your generous spirit.

    Can't wait for the next installment!!

  7. Old Kitty,
    I think I heard you screaming at me, way from the UK. Thanks. I did the right thing.

    You stayed home for Dino. The right choice, by far. :) WOW He was some sexy hunk. And he could sing. Ha

    Red Nomad OZ,
    A tease? I thought I was doing a cliff hanger ....Ha. If I didn't, no one would come back..:) Thanks so much for your encouragement.

    Another 60's gal. Welcome to the group. I didn't think there were any more of us around. Any you remember those homes for unwed mothers. What a totally different era, huh?

    Thanks. Dino.... be still my heart!!!

    I don't know if I learned my lesson or if it's just being a Pisces. I guess I do tend to look out for strays. Years ago, my son had just moved to San Diego and I went to a West Coast Swing weekend there. I was staying at my son's but the fleet was in and not a spare bed in the whole town. One guy that I'd been dancing with didn't have a place to stay so I brought him to sleep on my son's sofa. My son laughed about it and still tells people that his mother came from Mn, knew no one and the first night brought a stranger back. People say I'm too trusting, but I can tell. Thanks for your kind words, Gerry.

    Love and peace everyone, Manzanita

  8. I wish it were even more different. I drive by what I assume is an abortion clinic every now and then on my way to or from somewhere. Often there are people outside picketing with signs that say things like "Stop Abortion," "Don't Kill Babies," and several others. I am always wondering where these same people are when the poor women change their minds and are left to fend for themselves. Is there a Manzanita in the bunch? Is there someone who will reach out and help them when their families won't? I so admire your strength, courage, and chutzpah :-)~Blessings, Janet ps. and I am surely enjoying your story :-)

  9. Oh, I am crying. This is personal. I just found out my 18 year old daughter is pregnant. And while it isn't the 60's (I was there), it is still hard. (She will be coming home with me, so your kind services won't be required this time!) Please write the next part soon!

  10. If I did not know better, I would think that nice header picture is one of a flamenco dancer by the name of Manzanita. Beautiful picture. Gerry

  11. Janet,
    I guess I don't agree with recreational sex and I certainly can't see abortions. I was one of those babies, born out of wedlock and raised until school age by my Grandmother. Even when I was older, people in a small town remembered and shunned me. What did I do??? See what I mean? My Mother later married my real Father but if she had aborted me.... well that would be on her karma, not mine. Thanks for stopping and the nice comment.

    That is such a fuzzy picture, taken of an old photo. That was ballroom, actually Latin and to be precise it was paso doble. I was well into my 6o's. Can tell by the thick waist.That comp was somewhere in the South, Georgia or the Carolinas, can't remember,. My husband was so sweet. He'd give me a dance allowance and I'd budget it for competitions and lessons. That was my Latin teacher and I also had a great partner for the smooth ballroom. Wish you had been there with your good camera and the pictures would have been better.

  12. Oh Galen,
    That means there will be some changes in her life for sure and perhaps yours, Babies are born for a definite reason and they do chose their parents. It'll probably interfer with a lot of things for your daughter, namely school. I got married at age 18 and had nurses training but that's not what I wanted. I just took what could get me outta Dodge. But I went to college for 10 years, afterward, taking courses whenever I could fit them in with 4 kids. Things will always work out for her. Good luck to both of you and dry your pretty eyes.
    Love and peace, Manzanita

  13. I don't know Galen, but I would like to add that you're so right, Manzi. Babies are born for a reason and they choose their parents. I was married very young, had a baby, but went to college and graduated on the very same day as my best friend. Good things will happen, and that baby will bless the world.

  14. This is an amazing story. I was cheering for you at the end. Inviting this girl you barely knew into your home was a very gutsy thing to do, but totally the RIGHT thing. You acted on your instincts and those never lead you astray. Good for you. Can't wait for the next installment!!!

  15. You are a wonderful and brave lady. Not many people would do that.I can't wait to see what happened next.

  16. So hooked into this story and remember what it was like back then, you are some lady!
    Love your blog!!

  17. I'm so glad I found your blog because this is so fantastic. In 1960, I was 20, lived in London and had a charming singer for a boyfriend. Looking back, I am so glad I didn't get pregnant and made it back home and later to the US where I ended up without kids, but still with a wonderful life.--Inger

  18. Robin,
    Somehow I've always trusted even the derelicts and it turned out well. I always brought a few to our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. But they just ate and then we took them back to their street life.

    Mrs Bibi.
    Thanks for stopping and commenting. I won't spoil the end for you.

    Love you too, sophisticated gal.

    Cherie, Thank you for dropping in. Love your coment.

    WOW...That sounds like an exciting affair. Must have been a big choice to leave him and London. Hope your hubby's move is completed.

    Love to all.... Thanks for the lovely comments. Manzanita

  19. I knew I loved you! I suppose we both have a habit of bringing people home...
    Cannot wait for part 2!

  20. I'm back with the living just in time. That's good stuff you're writing, Manzie. Wow! Really love your dialogue and how you set it up, how it all moves. You rock, girl!

  21. Good for you, Manzi! And, this is wonderful storytelling, Lady.

  22. Don't know how I missed this post but in a way I am glad for now I can read part 3 right away. Just love what you did for that girl. I do so remember those times, there was no tolerance for being unwed.
    Now I am on to part 3.

  23. Doreen,
    I believe we subconsciously recognize souls and that is why we can embrace individuals on first meeting. We often don't understand this at the time, but eventually it becomes apparent. You too trusted your instinct.

    I'm so glad you are feeling better. That flu is a rough one. Thanks for the nice words. So meaningful coming from you.

    You are very kind, Su-sieee my friend.

    Yes, you can remember the shame and stigma of being an unwed mother.

  24. I had a feeling that you would be taking them home. Just a feeling. Good for you! I now need to rush and read the next part!