With my suitcase in hand I was walking through the lobby of the YWCA heading for the door to wait for my ride when I heard my name being called, “Carrie, the phone for you!” I stopped dead in my tracks, my heart stopped, my mind raced, “Who knows I am here? Wayne?” I shook my head saying I didn’t want to take the call but she insisted, “I think you should take the call, you can take it right here at the desk.” I took the phone, “Hello?” I heard my dad’s voice, he was crying and said something about he had always looked forward to the day he walked me down the aisle, me wearing a white wedding dress and now that dream was shattered. Then my mother got on the phone and asked me what I wanted to do. I was thinking, ‘what do you mean what do I want to do?” I told her about the young couple, and then she said Karen wanted to talk to me. I was thinking OMG! Get me out of here. Karen got on the phone and was screaming how could I do this to her and I was thinking, “How could he do this to me.” My dad wanted me to come home, I was scared, and I said I would go home only if mom picked me up which she did. I kept thinking; “Five minutes later I would have been gone, no one would have known where I was.” I have often wondered what my life would have been like, but I went home and was sorry immediately.
I felt like a leper, like I had a red S on my forehead. While I was in my room I heard my mom crying to my dad about what were her golfing friends going to think and what was she going to tell them. I had just sat through my dad’s emotional rendition of how I broke his heart and now I can never wear white to my wedding and cheated him out of his dream to walk me down the aisle.
My mom wanted to send me away to a fictitious “aunt’s” until the baby was born, my dad insisting I stay home. My dad called the police and I had to give a statement. My dad insisted on me answering how many guys I had sex with and the cops said he didn’t need to know that, I said, “Just one”. My dad said, “Was that before or after Wayne?” Me: “Including Wayne.” My dad: “You have to tell the truth.” I said, “Just Wayne.” (Hate to burst your bubble dad but your daughter was a virgin until you shipped her off to the “safety” of trusted friends because you didn’t trust her.)
I had three maturnity tops and two pairs of pants, no point in spending money on maternity clothes for an unwanted pregnancy; the tops were actually pajama tops. It was ok I didn’t care. I went to stay with my cousin for a few weeks in summer. I got really fat. My two girlfriends stuck by me through it all, Debbie insisted on me coming with her every where she went and her boyfriend and his friends were wonderful to me, no one ever said anything nasty or gossiped, not to my knowledge. Her boyfriend lived with two other guys and their place was the party house. Stan, a big burly 6’6’ logger, Jim a short 5’ 5” stocky guy that loved to laugh and worked in the produce department of Safeway and Lionel, Debbie’s boyfriend who was the best looking of the three and him and Deb made such a great couple. She was a sexy one, with the Sally Struthers figure and a “If you got it flaunt it” attitude, long dark hair and black eyes, Lionel was just a sweetheart. Every Friday and Saturday night the party was at their house and the night would start with Elton John singing “Saturday Night’s the Night for Fighting” Stan punching the air with his fist and people dodging it. It was somebody’s birthday one night and Stan found the birthday cake in the pantry and took a big bite out of the side of it. He reminded me of a big clumsy teddy bear with his heart pinned to his chest.
Deb worked as a counselor at a dude ranch in the summers and I was going to miss her horribly. Her mom had told me I was welcome any time and the guys told me I was welcome to drop by any time I liked, but I was so terribly shy I never did. The guys called me and I did go over there a couple of times but felt uncomfortable without Debbie there. After the baby was born Elton John came to Vancouver and they all took me to the concert, Stan was punching the air with his fist and people were dodging it, we all burned our fingers on our lighters and danced all night, it was great. With them I didn’t feel like a slut, or bad, or guilty, I felt safe and loved and liked. They were my life raft in a sea of shame, guilt and fear and uncertainty.
I only saw Wayne one time after he left me at the Y, I was in Smitty’s having coffee with friends and he and Karen walked in. Yeah, she stayed with him; for a while anyway; according to him it was all my fault. My dad ran his name through Cpic and found out he was getting a large pension from the US army and they had declared him mentally incapable of holding a job or having a normal life due to his mental disability. Apparently he had worked for an old age home in Alberta prior to coming to BC and had been suspected of pushing an old guy in a wheel chair off the balcony but it was never proven.
My dad was on his motorcycle one day and saw Wayne at an intersection, he got off his bike and was walking in the direction of Wayne’s truck to tell him to get the fuck out of Dodge and Wayne through his Blazer into drive and tried to run him over. He clipped my dad and he rolled away and ended up with a dislocated thumb and bruising. Wayne left town after that, he really didn’t have much choice because he had also been screwing a couple of the other guards wives and someone was going to kill him.
He threatened to burn our house down with the family in it, nothing ever came of it but we were all nervous for a while.
I spent the whole pregnancy being ashamed, I remember one day an old couple who were both pastors came by for a visit and I was sitting in the lazy boy chair. Even though I had to go pee I didn’t move, then it came supper time and I said I wasn’t hungry, my mom finally figured it out that I didn’t want to get out of the chair because they would see I was pregnant and she told me not to worry about it. I got up out of the chair but I can’t find the words to explain the shame.
I went into labour mid September and my dad drove me to the hospital. I was in labour for days, eventually fading in and out of consciousness. My mom never came to the hospital but my dad was there often and would sit by my bed talking trying to take my mind off of the pain. I can remember it feeling like someone had a dinner plate inside me and was trying to push it out and saying to him that if I didn’t have the baby that night I was changing my mind, I wasn’t going to have it and him patted my hand and crying.
He had arranged for me to have a private room, so I wouldn’t be with all the happy new mothers and there was another teenage unwed mother in a ward so he arranged for her to be put in my room with me. She came in after me and left before me, she never saw her baby boy and left the day after he was born. For days I heard other women screaming in the delivery room, I hadn’t taken prenatal classes or anything so I was totally unprepared but I didn’t scream.
When I first came back home I had been told that if I chose to keep the baby I was not welcome to come home from the hospital so I had agreed to give the baby up for adoption on the condition I get to hold it. So my dad had made it very clear to the doctor that I was to see my baby.
I finally had him on September 19th 1975, he weighed 8 lbs 8 ozs, he was chubby, had no hair and the nurse tried to whisk him away but the doctor stopped her and said that I was to hold the baby. She started to argue that it was against the rules and he just motioned for her to give me the baby. I was so exhausted I wish I could have seen him again once I was rested a bit. But at least I got to hold him, count his fingers and toes and make sure he was ok. I had been so afraid something would be wrong with him and no one would want to adopt him but he was perfect.
The doctor patted my leg when it was all over and said, “You did really good.”
One of the nurses came to me and told me she had heard I was giving my baby up for adoption and she couldn’t have children and thought that was the most unselfish thing a person could do. one of my mom’s friends worked in the kitchen at the hospital and came by to say hi and see how I was, but for the most part my pregnancy was not acknowledged and aside from me getting huge (I weighed 207 lbs when I went into the hospital) and my mom saying we should join TOPS together, my being pregnant was never discussed.
I named him Jason Allen, (Allen was Wayne’s middle name) and signed the papers about a week later. I heard from the couple who adopted him via the social worker, that they were so happy and they thanked me very much and they would send pictures but I never received any.
The pregnancy was one of the worst times of my life and from the minute Jason was born until my son Kris was born 11 years later I prayed that some day I would get pregnant and carry a child conceived in a loving marriage so I could share the kicks to the rib cage, wear pretty maternity clothes, complain about morning sickness and swollen ankles, show off my big belly, have the man I love touch my belly and feel the baby kick and be as in awe of the whole miracle as I was. I longed for the happy ending where I would get to take the baby home and be a family.
I was back in school before the end of September, I had skipped out on a lot of classes and missed a full couple of months at the end of grade 11. My school used the semester system which meant you took ½ your courses the first semester and the other half the last semester so I had completed ½ of grade 11 and was told I wouldn’t be able to graduate when I was supposed to; I would have to take another 1/2 year of school and graduate the next year. I couldn’t do it. I begged, pleaded and said flat out the I wouldn’t graduate then because I was not coming back for 1/2 year. I talked to my school counselor and most of the teachers were very accommodating. It turned out that even though I hadn’t completed the courses in the second semester (in fact I had missed most of it) my grades were high enough in most classes that when they averaged my grades out I still had a high enough mark to pass anyway which gave me enough credits that if I didn’t take any electives in Grade 12 I would be able to combine the two grade 11 courses I needed with my grade 12 courses and graduate with the rest of my classmates.
I went back to school determined to just “get it done”, this shy kid put a wall around herself and to be honest I don’t remember very much about grade 12. I remember going back to school and being really fat, none of my clothes fit, I felt every one was talking behind my back; and they were. Let’s face it; in the 70’s it was still quite a scandal for a girl to get pregnant especially one who had never even had a boyfriend as far as anyone knew. A few people approached me and came right out and asked if it was true that I had a baby and what did I do with it. I appreciated their straight forwardness and answered their questions and the gossips I ignored.
Aside from my two good girl friends Dallas and Debbie (haha I just realized that is almost the title of a porn movie Debbie Does Dallas) any way sorry I got side tracked; I kept to myself. I went to the boy’s house on weekends and I remember some guy there one night was really drunk and said something disrespectful to me and he was taken outside and told he should apologize.
I was asked out a lot in grade 12, the first date I went on the guy picked me up and drove to the nearest dead end street, parked the car, told me to hop in the back seat and he cracked open the case of beer he had with him. When I refused to get in the back seat he got angry. When I asked him why he would assume I would just jump in the back seat and have sex with him when I didn’t even know him he said, “You had a kid right?” Stupid asshole assumed I must be crazy horny and would gladly jump his bones, he was my first and last date in grade 12. My big protector Stan was my escort for graduation and we went with Deb and Lionel. I think Stan had fallen in love with me and I probably hurt him inadvertently but when he asked me to be his girlfriend I had to say no; I knew I wasn’t ready.
I had a job working at the Bank of Commerce two weeks before graduation and had to work the day after grad so I didn’t stay late, I didn’t have the same excitement and enthusiasm as the rest of the kids, I just wanted to put it behind me and my mom was happy to accommodate; we joined TOPS (taking off pounds sensibly) together and pretended it never happened. My mom is of the mind set that if you don’t discuss a problem it doesn’t exist. That’s how she got through almost 30 years of marriage to my dad, if she didn’t acknowledge his screwing around, it didn’t exist.
Posted by Carrie the Lady Witha Truck