I was born in 1948 to a beautiful young woman named, Roberta Lorraine Transue. My biological father wanted to marry Mom but it was not meant to be. During that era, having a baby out-of-wedlock was far from acceptable. Although Mom knew the road ahead would be hard, she was not afraid.
Mom worked hard every day, but it was not enough to pay rent, buy food, pay utilities, and take care of my needs, so we lived with relatives. Mom was one of fifteen children, so it wasn’t hard to find an aunt or uncle to live with.
I must be honest and say I don’t have a good recollection of some of the aunts and uncles we lived with until we moved to a little village near Nazareth. I was four.
We moved in on a Saturday, unpacked, and settled in. I loved sharing a room with Mom. She had long, wavy auburn hair and the most beautiful sparkling blue eyes. Soon Monday arrived and Mom had to go to work. My uncle also left on a job that took him away from home for periods of time. Mom hugged and kissed me, then walked to the door, turned and blew a kiss. Little did she know my life was about to change.
And so it began……….
After Mom left for work, my aunt fed me breakfast and asked me to go out to the small, little, three-sided porch, and wait for the others to come out. They never did. I remember looking in the window at them having fun and playing games. Although I knocked several times, they ignored me. My lunch was brought out to me. I was allowed to use the bathroom but had to return to the little porch. My aunt allowed me to come into the house right before Mom came home from work.
As soon as Mom walked through the door, I ran to her with tears streaming down my face. She honestly thought I was excited to see her. Before dinner, I told her everything about my day. Mom questioned my aunt but the answer was, that I had an active imagination. Mom hugged me and told me that Tuesday would be better. That I just had to get used to being in a different home.
The next four days were repeats; eat breakfast, porch, in before Mom got home. Each afternoon when Mom returned home, there were tears and begging. Begging to move.
Mom to the rescue…..
Each night when I cried, I saw Mom looking at my aunt, saying, ” This is not like Cindy to cry like this. Something is wrong here!”
Friday, the day started as the other four had, except it was a damp rainy day. Mom hugged me and told me that she would be home soon. The routine started; breakfast, porch sitting, and a lot of shivering. Suddenly, I saw a car pull up in front of the house. It was Mom. She came home early and found me sitting on the porch. I don’t know who cried harder that day; me or Mom. I was saved!
Mom made a phone call, then, she and I packed. Soon my Aunt Mae and Uncle Charlie arrived to take Mom and me to our new home. I could not wait! They lived along the river and had a huge screened in porch. As soon as the car stopped, I ran into the house and found the bathroom. As I was doing what I had to do, I heard water splashing. I pulled back the shower curtain, and much to my surprise I saw a tub of fish swimming around the tub! I loved it!
As the story goes……..
Eventually, Mom started dating a man from the Philadelphia area named, Lee Brodt. He was smitten with Mom and I am sure she was with him. Mom once told me that I refused to call him Mr. Brodt, or even Lee. My name for this tall man was…..Man. Mom said I would say very little around him and If I did say anything it would be, ” Hi Man.”
As the weeks went by, Mom and Man began spending more time together. I missed Mom. Man was taking her away from me; at least that is what I thought.
Man was good to me too. He would often try to talk to me, but I would become very shy, however, he never gave up.
Soon, I went to Philadelphia to meet his relatives. Shyness crept in again, and I clung to Mom. Man kept trying, and slowly I started to look forward to his visits, rides in the car with him and Mom, getting ice cream and sitting by the river. However, I still continued to call him, Man.
Soon, Mom talked to me about how much she loved Man, and that they were going to be married. My cousin, Martha, and her husband stood up for them at the Reverend Floyd Shafer’s home in Tatamy. Mom wore a pink jacket and skirt and Man wore a light brown suit.
Mom and Man were married, June 26, 1954. I was six years old.
We moved to North Hills near Philadelphia. Although our apartment was small it was very cozy. I even had my own room. Mom told me it would be okay to call, Man, Dad but I was not sure until our first Halloween….
It was a dark cold night and Mom had taken me out to Trick or Treat. Man stayed home to give out treats to the children. After we returned with a full bag of treats, I changed then, settled in to watch television. Trick or Treat was over but I still heard voices outside.
Suddenly, something hit our front window. It sounded as if the window was going to break. I called out to Man, but this time, I said, ” Daddy, someone is trying to break the window. I’m afraid!” Just then, Dad walked over to the couch and held me in his arms. Thank you, Daddy, for protecting me.
My special angel over and over again………
That Halloween night, Dad became my angel for the first time. I felt safe in his arms. Thinking back he actually became my angel first, when he met Mom, fell in love, and married her. Because of his love for Mom and me, we became a family.
The next few years, our family grew with the arrival of my sisters Donna, then Emma and last but not least my brother Lee. I loved them dearly when they were each born and I love them even more now. Dad never treated me any different from his biological children. We all had rules to follow and above all he expected the four of us to be respectful. He never called me his step-daughter. I was always his daughter.
As Dad aged, his health deteriorated and all four of us helped to take care of him. We would have done anything for him. When Mom became sick we were all there to help her too. We took care of our parents until they took their last breath. We would do it a million times over for the two we loved so much.
My heartfelt thoughts…..
I want to thank you, Dad, on this Father’s Day 2016, for loving Mom which led to loving me. Thank you for giving me three gifts that I cherish each and every day; Donna, Emma, and Lee. Thank you for not treating me differently than my siblings. Thank you for teaching me, encouraging me, and always being ready to listen. Thank you for celebrating with me and crying with me when Lambert died. Thank you for your laugh, and thank you for buying the box lots of books at the auctions, you loved to attend. Because of those books, I developed a love of reading. You will never know how much you meant to me and still do. You may have started as “Man” but you will always be my special angel named, Dad.
One more thought………
This story has a special place in my heart. I wrote it because this wonderful man really changed my life. When Mom was so sick, she reminded me how the story started with her and Dad. We talked about the loneliness she felt and the bad experience I endured for five days in a home where we truly were not wanted. She shared how much she loved dad. Mom looked at me and said, “Dad always wanted you to be his little girl.”
God blessed me with a loving dad who I miss so very much. Until we meet again Dad, know that I love you and always will.