There. Note the little girl standing in the front of the first picture. She’s my First-Mom.
Two pictures of little girls taken about 40 years apart.
That picture says a lot about the reasons I was given for being relinquished. The woman in the photo is my First-Grandmother. The man was not her husband. He’s not my First-Grandfather either. First-Mom was a bastard in what is apparently some pretty hard times. She was called white trash, worthless, and generally thought of as never being able to amount to anything. I was told she wanted to spare me all that.
Well obviously she did spare me the hard times. The little girl in the sailor suit never lacked for a thing. She had everything that her First-Mother had dreamed of as a child and more. But even with the best of intentions, she couldn’t spare me being a bastard.
People never out and out called me white trash, they wouldn’t dare. They never called me bastard to my face either. But I always knew they were thinking it. I always felt that “we’ll wait and see how she turns out” attitude. No, they didn’t say it out loud like they did to my First-Mom, but they thought it. My experience was subtler, like I had committed a crime but somehow got off on a technicality.
I wonder what she would think of the fact that I, and many like me, have come to embrace the title of bastard? Would she be horrified or see it as vindication? I just don’t know.