Welcome to my Blog “He Gave Me Hope”
I was born on a cold February morning in 1957. My parents were poor to say the least. My father quit school when he was very young and my mother didn’t finish the third grade, she never learned to read. She began having children when she was very young. She was only 21 years old when she had me, and I was her 5th child.
My father was ten years older than my mother and an epileptic. In those days someone inflicted with epilepsy carried a stigma that they were somehow mentally challenged and therefore were prevented from acquiring the basic elements of life. Employers in the fifties were prejudiced in their hiring and the fact that epileptics were by law forbidden to hold a driver’s license made finding suitable employment nearly impossible. The occupation of my father listed on my birth certificate is “junk dealer”. However, I have been told he was not lazy, but a “jack of all trades” finding work wherever he could. One of my sisters has shared with me that life was not all that bad, that there were times of happiness and joy, “Daddy would bring home new clothes for everyone and take our pictures.” Laughter was not lacking either as my parents enjoyed a good time; people who were down and out would be welcomed in their home and could find a hot meal. Others said, “Don would give you the shirt off his back”.
Another little girl was born to this family in early 1958 with cerebral palsy. In August of the same year my father died in a tragic drowning accident. I don’t know the circumstances (there are too many conflicting stories) but, less than a year after my father’s death, the children’s services agency received a complaint and the legal system stepped in and removed all the children from my mother’s custody (except the one with cerebral palsy), I was only two years old, that would be the last time I would see my mother or my siblings for nearly four years . . .