Sorry this is so late. I’ll be catching up in the next couple of days. We’re back in our Florida campsite now for the winter, so I won’t have so many distractions. Thank you all for your patience, and thank you to my new followers. All of you, older friends and new, are very much appreciated.
Since my first two posts in the series were about my mom, I’ll continue that theme here. There are so many things I’ve found over the years, as well as emotions and attitudes I can reflect on now, and perhaps have a better understanding throught the clarity of passing time.
A recent trip to my brother-in-law’s storage shed was a treasure hunt through our family’s things that have been stored there for seventeen years. Many things were of no value, and in no condition to be of use to anyone. But as I found my mother’s crystal lamps that had created rainbows on the walls many times through my growing up years, knick knacks we kids had purchased for her, old, worn out, stuck-together photographs, etc., I found something near and dear to my heart.
When I was in first grade, after my parents split up, I started school in Prospect Park, Pennsylvania. The only place my mom could afford for rent was a room for the two of us in the home of a stripper and a prostitute. We lived on the ramshackle, seedy side of town, and not a good place to raise children. I’m not sure at what point during that year my mom decided I’d be better off someplace else, but she made what had to be the hardest decision of her life. She took me back to Illinois to live with her [divorce] lawyer and his family. They were Christians. The couple had four boys and no girls. I got spoiled pretty quickly.
My mom wrote me letters while I was there and Orpha was faithful to read them to me before I went to bed at night. She also had a book of prayers that my mom had bought for me and given to her. It was a Little Golden Book titled, “A Child’s Book of Prayers.”
When I opened the box at my brother-in-law’s house and saw that book, I cried. The binding is torn and tattered, but the viviid paintings brought back all those feelings of warmth, comfort and love, as Orpha would read them to me and her youngest son, Larry Jay, as we lay in our beds at night. The prayers were read after she read my mother’s letter to me. Orpha’s voice was filled with quiet joy and peace as she read. I think I also felt my mother’s love and presence, although I lost site of that for a few years during my teens.
When I opened the book I found my name with my birth dad’s surname, written in my mother’s hand. The book was printed in 1952, the year I was born.
The instructions for this assignment suggested considering when getting re-connected can go horribly wrong and when it may be best to bury the past. I can say that, looking back, because of my mother’s temper, and her constantly comparing me to the teenaged girl across the street, for several years I had convinced myself that she hated me. But as I look back, remembering those letters and that prayer book, I know I was loved more than she ever could have said. The hurt I chose to hold onto in my teens is buried, never to be resurrected again. That is a battle the devil has lost. God has given me victory. I am so thankful I was able to share some happy times with my mom before she passed away. I wish I could see her now and show her my prayer book. It would make her so happy to know I still have it.