Wednesday, December 18, 2002

I heard a story from my sister the other day, which is disturbing me at the moment.

She got pregnant, I think, when she was seventeen years old. She was a junior in high school at the time. As if that wasn’t hard enough to deal with, her boyfriend died in a horrible car accident three months after my nephew was conceived. Due to a number of factors I won’t detail here, family life was extraordinarily stressed at my house anyway, without babies or sudden deaths. Consequently, for the record, I was an infant during this time period. But anyway, due to familial factors, my sister wasn’t getting a terrible lot of support from my mother or anyone. It looked like she was going to have to drop out of high school, and things weren’t looking good at all.

The guidance counselor at school was doing his best to keep my sister in school. But it was to no avail, because my mom was just as happy if she quit and got a job to take care of the baby. I won’t excuse my mother for that exactly, but as I said, she was under extreme pressure at the time and it isn’t fair to judge people if you weren’t there to see how things really were. Anyway, I guess, one day some lady walked up to my sister and offered her a place to stay. She told my sister that she would be expected to go to church, and behave and stuff. But that they’d support her and the baby until she graduated, if that was the way she wanted to go.

My sister didn’t take her up on the offer. She no longer remembers her name.

So, though perhaps it’s extremely selfish for me to think this thought about someone who was perhaps willing to take my sister in and selflessly shelter her, nevertheless I think it anyway. Who was it who heard such horror stories of my family, that they were willing to take a kid they didn’t even know under their wing? Did they have other children? Did they perhaps have children my age? Did they know that I’m the little sister of that poor girl with the rotten family life, and the dead boyfriend, and the baby on the way? What could they have possibly thought of me growing up? Did they warn their children to stay away? Did they tell their children to be especially nice since I had things so rough? Did they tell their friends and neighbors? How many people might have had the impression that I was an abused and battered soul?

Perhaps it’s no wonder that I grew up so anti-religious when nice religious ladies tried to steal my sister away for Jesus. And perhaps, on the other hand, my mother and dad never heard about any of it at all. I've always had a low opinion of the dumb baptists that populated my school district. And yet, apparently, one tried to save my sister and my nephew. How can I complain about that?