Last night I ate dinner out with my in-laws, husband and children. My husband sat at one end of the table and I near the other. After we ordered our food, my husband gestured to me and said, "that waitress looks like your cousins, Mary Ellen or Patti." I turned around and looked at a person who actually looked identical to my dad's baby sister. It's was fascinating! I couldn't help myself as I stared and stared. The whole meal I could only focus on that waitress! My imagination was getting the best of me as I recalled a story from my youth...
My dad was the middle of three children; between two sisters. Dad's father was a tyrant. His mother was an angel. The Tyrant ruled the roost. I did grow up knowing my grandparents, but I didn't feel loved by them. My drug-dealing cousin was the favorite. I am jaded and therefore believe what I heard of my father's life as a child and young man.
My father was beaten with a leather belt growing up. I heard that he took beatings for his youngest sister too. During my youth my mother would literally hold my dad back when he'd get mad at my brother for some stupid thing. She'd quietly be reminding my dad, as she looked into his eyes, of the pact they made when they got married...he would not beat his children like his father beat him.
When my dad was in his late teens, he joined the Army. I don't have anyone I can ask to refresh my details of this story, but Dad either went away to boot camp or was away for duty and when he came back home and asked where his youngest sister was. My grandfather told my dad she had died.
My aunt was a young teenager herself. She must have been promiscuous, which is hard to believe if you knew her as I have. She has always been one of the sweetest ladies I have known. She has always appears innocent, level headed and morally sound. I do not know what her life was like living under that roof, but I am sure other factors played into what happened. My aunt found herself unmarried and pregnant. I am sure her mother never disowned her, but her father did and as the tyrant, I can't help but wonder how much he verbally, and possibly physically, would have abused my grandmother. The tyrant ruled. My aunt was dead to her parents. She was disowned and kicked out of the house. My father found his baby sister living at an aunt and uncle's house.
A teenage mother had a baby and gave it up for adoption. As time past, she must have repented her sins and was welcomed back into her home.
Fifteen years ago or so, my mother received a phone call from a lady named Debbie. I know that Debbie said she was the daughter my aunt gave up. Debbie was looking for a connection to her past. I do not know if she talked with my aunt, but I do know my mom gave her the information she needed.
As I sat at dinner last night I was trying to guess the age of this mysterious, looked-like-my-aunt, waitress. I don't know how old my long, lost cousin could be. Would she be 10 years older than me? Finally the mystery waitress asked me a question, could she have the empty chair next to me? I just had to know her name!
Her name was Abby. I didn't clearly say my thoughts, I told her she looked like my aunt and she said, "Sorry, I don't have any nieces or nephews." I restated my comment, "I meant you looked like YOU could be my aunt's daughter!" "Hm," she said, I don't have any aunts, my mom was adopted."
Her mom's name is not Debbie. Still, I wonder...