Thursday, December 11, 2014

October 1977

If you haven't read my previous post, go read it before you read this one.

When I was 16, I got pregnant with a long-time boyfriend's child. (I say long-time, but really, how long could it be at 16 years old? It was less than two years.) Barely more than children ourselves, we were shocked and mortified. Neither of us had ever even considered pregnancy as a consequence of our actions. Why, I don't know. We were both above-average, smart kids. We struggled and suffered with the decision we had to soon make. We both knew if we were to marry and have the child, there was not a very good chance that we would have a happy, successful marriage and family. My boyfriend, Roger, was set on a 4-year college degree at the very least, and likely longer. He had big aspirations of being a successful, Wall Street stock market guy.

His parents were very different from mine. I didn't dare let my parents know what was happening. I'd rather die than have them know because I knew they would not have a reasonable reaction. They couldn't handle a little sass or a messy room without going completely insane, so I knew a pregnancy discussion was out of the question. So his parents knew what was happening and what our decision was to do about it. There was no screaming and yelling (or beating), just level-headed discussion about the situation we'd gotten ourselves into and what our options were. We made the decision to terminate the pregnancy. We both felt it was the right thing for us to do, and I still believe so today.

You know from reading my last post that I was the only child left in my parents' home. One day I was hiding behind the garage door when my father came home from work. I thought it hilariously funny to jump out and scare him as he walked in, and that was what I was planning to do that day. I heard his car come in the garage and was ready when he opened the door. I jumped from behind the door and yelled, expecting to scare the crap out of him and have a good laugh. Instead, he looked at me, his green eyes boring through me, and his expression was not a good one. I immediately knew something was terribly wrong. My mother was in the kitchen just a few feet away and in full view of both of us.

Daddy:  "Sit down at the table, I want to talk to you. You too (speaking to my mother).

Oh, shit.  (A girlfriend of mine knew what I was going to do and told her mother, who in turn told one of the deacons at our church, who in turn called my father and told him.)

Daddy:  "I don't know how to ask this, so I'm just going to come right out with it.  Are you pregnant?"

Me:  I shook my head yes. I don't remember if I actually said yes verbally. I was in panic mode. All the blood was in my feet and my heart started pumping wildly. I look across the table at my mother and saw the look of horror on her face.

Momma:  "After all we've taught you!" That's really what she said.

Me:  "What are you talking about? You've never mentioned sex to me, EVER!"

My daddy got up from the table and walked about 30 feet away to the kitchen window.

Daddy:  "Where were you when this happened?

Me:  "Daddy, that doesn't matter."

Daddy:  "You were a couple of pigs, rolling around in the back seat of a car!"

I can't give you anymore direct quotes from there. I don't remember exactly, but I do remember being called a "Whore" and a "Pig" by my father. I was asked by one of them what we were planning to do about it, and I told them of our plans to terminate the pregnancy.

Daddy:  "I won't pay for it!"

Me:  "I didn't ask you to pay for it. Roger is taking care of it. This has nothing to do with either you you. There was no reason for you to know any of it."

I don't remember any conversation after that. I just remember going to my room and shaking and crying and wondering if he was going to come and beat the shit out of me. I'm sure he felt like he couldn't with me in that condition, but I know he wanted to, badly. I have no doubt that's exactly what he wanted to do.

Later that night, I took a shower and tried to pull myself together. As I finished my shower and opened the bathroom door to go back into my room, my mother was standing directly in front of the door with that familiar look of anger on her face.

Momma:  "How could you do this to your father! He's out there in the garage crying! I've never seen him cry like that before!  You think you're a sexy little bitch, don't you, running around here in your short-shorts!"

I stopped listening at that point and pushed past her, went into my bedroom and closed the door. I hurriedly dressed, my hair still dripping wet from the shower, and grabbed $70 I had saved and hidden in my closet.  I came out of my room and didn't see either of my parents, and I ran out the front door.  And I ran and ran and ran.

I stopped at a complete stranger's house to ask if I could use the phone. A man answered the door and saw my disheveled look and tear-stained face.  "Can I please use your phone to call someone to come get me?" He graciously agreed and asked me if I was okay and if there was anything he could do for me.  I said I was okay and he led me to the phone.  I called Roger's mother, and told her where I was and asked her if she would come and get me.  She readily agreed.  I left and hid on the porch of a nearby church and waited for her.

Long story short...I stayed at my boyfriend's house for three days until my 17th birthday. Thank God it was only three days away.  I was afraid that my parents would force me to go to a girl's home and have the baby and give it up for adoption. That's what they wanted me to do, and they could have forced me to at 16 years old.  But, in Texas, when you turn 17, you are considered an adult and can't be forced to do anything.  I had called my parents during those three days to let them know I was okay.  They asked me to come home, but I refused and told them why and that I would come home after my birthday.

That's what I did. I don't know why I remember that it was a Wednesday, but I do. I went home in the late morning hours and both of my parents were there waiting for me. I had no idea what to expect.  They were both completely calm. I remember standing in the middle of the living room with both of my parents' arms around me, and me with mine wrapped around them.

Daddy:  "This is the way it should be. We'll deal with it together as a family."

They asked me if I would agree to go to a well-known place in the Dallas area called Buckner's Childrens Home, an orphanage.  They wanted me to agree to go speak to a counselor there about having the baby and giving it up for adoption.  I thought it was a reasonable request and the least I could do was go listen. So I did. It did not changed my decision. I told my parents there was no way I could have a child and then give it up and never know what happens to it, and there was no way I wanted to have the child and keep it at 16 years old. I remember them not being happy about it, but I don't remember exactly what was said.

My mother ended up going with me the day of the procedure, along with Roger and his mother. My mother had told me my daddy didn't want her to go or have anything to do with it, but she wanted to go anyway and did. Neither of my parents ever spoke of it again.

My parents never went back to our church again. I always felt their concern was totally for themselves and their reputations. What would people think of THEM? What would people say about THEM?  How did all of this reflect on THEM?  They never considered the 16-year-old girl who was pregnant and scared out of her mind.  I still swear that aspect never crossed their minds. Or maybe it did, but they didn't express it to me.

They forbade me to see Roger again, which I, of course, ignored and saw him anyway. There wasn't anything they could really do about it. I'm sure they knew that and several months later, they told me to bring Roger over to the house because they wanted to talk to us. He came over and they gave us the "wait until you're married" speech and allowed us to openly see each other again.

Less than a year later, we had broken up, graduated from high school, and I got a full-time job at Texas Instruments and moved out of my parents' house permanently.  Less than a year after that, I was married to my first husband, who is the father of my two sons.  We married about 6 weeks after meeting.  My parents refused to give their blessing and did not attend the marriage ceremony at the Dallas County Courthouse on April 6, 1979.  I was 18 years old.

This will be the last of posts such as this. Back to your regular programming. It felt good to write it all out.

25 comments:

  1. Oh, Pammy Sue - I wish I wasn't across the pond, and could give you a big hug. I can't imagine all that you went through then, or since, coming to terms with it all, and am glad that you found a good man, happiness and a family of your own. I hope that getting it down on 'paper' has helped a bit, and I will pray whenever I think of you, for continued healing of all the hurts. Lots of love xx

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  2. I am sure you feel much better now ... Looking forward to reading your regular posts. All the best

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  3. My God it is amazing how our lives were so similar. I too was just 16 and pregnant and scared. This was before I met the admiral. Giving you a hug! I put a little poem on my blog post today just for you.

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  4. Its amazing how our lives were so similar. I too once was 16, pregnant and scared, before I met the admiral. I left a little poem for you on my post today. Love and kisses!!!

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  5. Hugs to you. I'm sorry you've been through such difficult times in your life. I can tell that all of it has made you stronger. I'm glad you have a good husband today and a better life.

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  6. You have left your heart for all to read. I admire you for that. I just will hope and pray that all works out for you---and I guess that it has, really. You are married to a good man who loves you. I am sure that many of us have had even worse things to contend with but many of us have never experienced anything like you have. You are such a strong woman and a good woman. I would really like to leave you some words that have been such a comfort to me and hope you can use them. "The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you". Much love to you my friend (because I do feel you are my friend).

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  7. Dear Pam .... I have read both your posts and have been wondering how to respond. After your last sentence, I guess I'm relieved that you've said what you needed to say and will now be moving on to your happy, normal posts. All that is behind you and you now have the love of the Captain and all those beautiful little furbabies - unconditional love. I hope you have an enjoyable and peaceful weekend. xox

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  8. You are an overcomer respected by many that have gone through similar situations in one way or another. Keep the faith and know that God loves all his creations and is always with you. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to your wonderful writings in the future.

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  9. Here is a similarity of us again, we both married at 18 in 1979 after only knowing him for a little while, ours was 4 months.

    Hugs to you.

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  10. What a terrible, terrible experience for you to go through. I'm so sorry you had to live through such pain on top of everything else you were dealing with. I'm glad you can talk about it and that it's helped to get it off your chest. I'm really glad you've found a wonderful partner in the Captain and the love of your furbabies.

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  11. People always say writing things down gets them off your chest so if it helps , do it. I'm glad that your life now-a-days sounds calm and happy with your dogs and the Captain.

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  12. Name it, claim it, throw it away...

    You've done just that :o)

    Smiles for you....

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  13. I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that. It's been a long road for you, but I'm glad you have such a devoted husband and such loving fur kids.
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  14. I am so sorry for the difficulties that you went through with your parents and so glad that your then-boyfriend's parents were able to be supportive for you during that time. Hugs.

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  15. I agree with the last comment. Writing or talking it our definitely helps. And on here, seems like you also have a lot of support from your readers, including me. :)

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  16. Pammy Sue.......oh Pammy Sue. I want to wrap you tight and cry with you. My heart aches for you. I think this must be what you need to heal. It is time to put it all in the past and leave it there. I am so sorry. Just so sorry.
    love you
    Kris

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  17. Oh boy does this hit close to home.... I'm so glad you felt better writing it out. Breathe in and breathe out and keep moving! Big, BIG hugs coming your way!

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  18. It's nice to be able to write things down. I hope it helps. (((HUGS)))

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  19. When I started reading this post, I started reliving my experience of finding myself pregnant at 17. My parents weren't as hard as yours but almost. I was three weeks away from graduation and married my boyfriend the day after graduation. Big mistake! I was sorry about that decision a week later, but that's what you did in 1971! I was never truly happy but had two more children with this bum and finally divorced 15 years later. I am now married to the best man a woman could want and we have been married 28 years. Hope your life is happier.

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  20. Anonymous9:35 AM

    You're a very honest and brave woman. I hope that writing it all down and putting it out there will give you inner calm. Eyes wide open and keep going forward.

    As I often say to myself - Don't let the buggers get you down! Pardon the fruity language.

    Best regards Gill

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  21. Just wanted to give you a big hug!

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  22. Sometimes life brings you to roads you never thought you could go through ... You went throught it Pammy Sue , with courage and dignity. You did what you had to do and you made a great life for yourself. Healing is a continued process through life ... And Imsure you continue to do it every day. I hope you have had a chance to forgive your parents. They did what they thought they had to do and they did the best they could - just as we do as parents. I. Glad you can talk about it today and continue the journey your life takes you to. So glad you are happy today and that you have a great husband and family my dear Pammy Sue.

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  23. You have been through so much my friend, yet you still have a sense of humor and a desire to keep moving forward, that says so much about you and who you are deep inside. I am not sure I would be able to have the relationship you do with your parents, you are more forgiving than me.
    I wish you the best and am sending you a hug.
    Meredith

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  24. Oh Pammy Sue, I rarely comment either and wish I had words to express my admiration of you. I, too have been through similar circumstances, and do know the pain. I wish the rest of your family supported you as you richly deserve. That must seem like the ultimate betrayal.
    I have followed your blog from the beginning and love your sassy wit and outlook on life. I am so sorry for your pain.

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