In 1955, my sixteen-year-old sister, Pat, had
a child out of wedlock. Pat brought baby Vickie home and I remember helping
with night feedings. Mother told us three kids that the daddy was killed
in the service but we knew it was just a story. Not much time passed before
she found a husband and left home. She had her own life now and we didnít
see each other very often. I had once idealized my older sister. In my
eyes, she was so smart and very beautiful. I thought she looked like Natalie
Wood. I looked up to her and now she was gone.
One day, I rode my bike to my sisterís house.
I always loved to ride my bike as a child. It always made me feel in control
and free. Pat, the baby, and her new much older husband were there. I remember
looking around and decided that this was not going to be my future. Using
this experience as a negative model, I planned that I would not have children
until after ten years of marriage. I wanted to have fun, become a success,
and then have a home. I wanted to be ready to have children, be mature,
One day, soon after Pat left, mamma told us kids
that she was not going to be home when we got back from school. She said
she was taking George (the youngest child) and moving to east San Jose.
At the age of ten, I cried my eyes out as I went to school, knowing my
mother wasnít going to be home ever again. I never even knew my parents
were having any trouble. Then I found out the reason why she left her family.
She was pregnant with a black manís child. In 1955, since mom and dadís
marriage was never legal they got an annulment. My mother married John
Lott. Their marriage lasted until his death, thirty-nine years later.
To visit mother, brother Bobby and I would get
on the bus. It went all the way down the Alameda to E. Santa Clara
Street. We would get off at King Road and walked a few blocks to visit.
Carol was always very busy with the baby, Tina. Us kids would really just
be playing with George the whole time. Soon there was a second child, John.
Carol has always loved babies. It seemed that there was no time for her
children when they started to become real people. Over the years, she would
take in about twenty foster babies; so, every visit Carol would be involved
with taking care of babies.
After my mother left, I felt alone. The anguish
of my motherís abandonment and rejection would follow me throughout my
life. I never really thought about how Bobby felt about it but he became
more nervous and dependent on me. I didnít see or hear from my mother much
over the years. She would not call. Once I didnít call her for two years,
I didnít hear from her for two years. The last few years of her life she
would call maybe once or twice a year. Carol just turned away from her
life and started a new one. She was concerned with her own life and seemed
to think I could take care of myself and would be just fine. For me, the
loss of my mother was tragic. For years I tried to get to know my mother.
A child knows their mother as a mother. As that child matures, they can
get to love and know a real person. Inever found that closeness.
My father had his own problems, getting over the
divorce. He started going out with women. Apparently, he had three women
quite interested in him, in spite of having two children living with him.
Before my mother left, I was an independent, free spirited, and a pretty
much self-sufficient child. I now came to think of my self as my fatherís
favorite child and I was too eager to please. Maybe I thought if I was
really good, he would not leave me too.