Saturday, August 27, 2016

A North Side Story, pre - 1965.

When Troy Hill School was torn down, we had no non-Catholic school anymore on top of Troy Hill. We were only left with Most Holy Name of Jesus Elementary School. Our grades at Troy Hill went all the way up to the eighth. Junior high school picked up on the North Side, with Latimer Junior High.

I guess Junior High is like "middle school" is now, but not quite. Well, junior high consisted of sixth, seventh and eighth grades, but I think that middle school consists of fifth, sixth and seventh, although I'm not sure. I really don't know. I don't want to know, either. You may understand why I say that if or when you finish reading this post.

This is not the end. I have yet to finish this part. So, don't go away.

Troy Hill Elementary was the only grade school I attended after we moved into the house that my stepdad inherited from his great-aunt Lottie, who had raised him. Nobody ever seemed to know why Aunt Lottie had raised him.

His mom and dad and sister lived right across the street.

To be continued ------>

Monday, August 15, 2016

Our Lady's Assumption, August 15, 1965

My 17th birthday was in February of 1965.

I will never forget this very beautiful, inspiring day when nothing really happened. The day was the Feast of Our Lady's Assumption. I think I have never had such a happy joyful feeling.

My oldest son was about to be born almost exactly a month later, on September 19. I was not married. My son's dad was of a different ethnic group from me. He was also married and 35 years old.

In 1965, segregation was very much a reality in Pittsburgh. It was not enforced by law. Nevertheless, it was very real. It was strongly enforced, although not by law. But, by many other means.

My mom and stepdad owned the home we lived in. They sometimes let a portion of the rooms in this home, but always pretended that that the rooms were "already rented," if there was a question of the caller's ethnicity.

My stepdad and mom married in 1954, when I was six years old. Before they married, my stepdad told my mom in no uncertain terms that he would not marry her unless and until she promised that not a penny of HIS (my stepdad's) $$ would ever go to my support. (I did not know of this evil "covenant", until I was an adult, perhaps even in my 30's. I suddenly, one day, truly understood the meaning of something my mom had said to me when I was ten years old.) She had to earn her own money to support me--- and apparently, herself. She had legal custody of me.

My "real" dad --- her first husband --- did not pay any of the child support that was ordered by the court. I think it was about $5 per week. It has not been paid to date. (But my dad's wife has been generous enough to compensate for any of my dad's own failings. May she rest in peace, the dear, beautiful, gracious lady, bless her heart.)

My mom sent me to a home for pregnant girls, but, when my aunt (who is also my godmother) visited Pittsburgh during the process of moving to a new home and, mom told her where I was, and why. My aunt rescued me from the home for pregnant girls. At the time, I was only too happy to be away from there.

Looking back, I realize it may not have been so bad as I thought at the time.

I was confused, lonely, and wanted to be in my own home, where things were familiar. Of course, I also missed my mom. My aunt and her family invited me to their home in Indiana, to live indefinitely. They picked me up from the home for pregnant girls. We drove to Indiana directly from the pregnant girls' home in Pittsburgh.

But, I was not happy there, either, though. I contacted a friend of the family in Pittsburgh, for a Western Union transfer. I bought a train ticket with the cash.

I've always wondered about it, though. There was no way for me to figure out what to do, except my own mind. I did feel very close to Our Lord, His Mother and our Holy Mother Church at the time. I went to Confession, and Mass, I think, sometimes, but I did not know if my commitment was sincere, or I was just scared because of the dire predicament I was in. Maybe I was only a "fair weather friend" of Our Lord.

On my post about Father Bosco, I talk about how my mom and my grandma went to have a "conference," with him.

I think I wanted to be in my own home, in my own neighborhood, where I had lived for four years. I had lived in that neighborhood since I was eight, or perhaps I had lived there since I was five or six, depending on whether or not you considered Troy Hill a part of North Side.

(There is a Wikipedia page for each of these places. These pages are pretty inaccurate and silly --- as such pages mostly tend to be. The less said, the better. Naturally, readers are free . . .)

My stepdad had been raised by his great-aunt, even though his own mom and dad lived right across the street. Nobody ever seemed to know or understand why this was, not even my stepdad himself.

This great-aunt bequeathed the house to my stepdad, when the great-aunt died. I believe that means that it was also owned by my mother, because they were married to each other at the time Aunt Lottie died.

One of those great mysteries of life, I guess, like the question of why I was (thankfully and blessedly) baptized in a Roman Catholic church, even though my mom and dad hated Holy Mother Church very much --- with good reason, as I say in an earlier post.

I was so happy to be back in my home on August 15th, after I returned to Pittsburgh from that trip to Indiana.

I had missed my mom, and sisters and brother when I was in Indiana. I also missed my home, even though I had several younger cousins in Indiana, who were also very fun. But not the same as my own siblings, at home. Things were different there, and I had a difficult time adjusting to my aunt's rules. I was accustomed to no rules at all, where nobody talked to me or paid any attention, as long as I didn't bother them.

The movie entitled The Greatest Story Ever Told, starring Max von Sydow as Our Lord, and Charlton Heston as St. John the Baptist, (as well as a huge all-star cast), had been released a few days before my seventeenth birthday. I do not know exactly when I saw it? Probably a few months later.

This movie made a great impression on me. I developed a new sense of joy and wonder in the Lord, and love for the Lord and His Blessed Mother.

But, getting back to September 15th of 1965. I was sitting there in my living room. I say it was "mine," because I lived there, but I was not really supposed to call anything "mine." My mom told me I should not call it "mine," because it all belonged to my stepdad, her husband, because he "worked," for it.

I was so happy to be in that beautiful, spacious room with ceilings about 15 feet high, and those very tall windows, I'm not sure how high they were. But, it was airy, with curtains flowing in the breeze. There was a small tree outside, between the two windows. All was beautiful, peaceful and filled with joy.

I felt the Blessed Mother's presence strangely and powerfully.

Her Presence was so powerful. I felt that I was in the Presence of Beauty Itself, and of Love Itself.

I felt hat Our Blessed Mother was there, protecting my baby and me.

It seems strange now, thinking about it, because my life was changed in that moment, yet nothing really happened.

I had been worried about the new baby, ever since a "counselor" at the home for pregnant girls told me hat nobody wanted biracial babies. She said the situation was so dire for them that the bishop had sent out a letter. I don't know what the letter was about, but . . . ? this social worker's story caused me great worry. The comments and snide remarks I heard from those closest to me didn't help much, either.

When my son was born, I could not bring him to "my" home, because my mom and stepdad would not allow it. My stepdad had never even known I was pregnant, and my mom had not yet told him, so my son went to a foster home, "temporarily". I was not yet eighteen years old.

It was a conspiracy of silence. Everybody kept pretending that I didn't "have to" give him up for adoption, but it was more or less a foregone conclusion that I would do so, I realize now. I got to visit him once in the foster home, and I also was "allowed" to buy him clothes and toys, but I had to drop them off with the agency.

One day, I was looking at the baby bottles in the Sears catalog. I realized that I could not relinquish custody of my son. My mom came through the room, and I told her I had decided not to give him up.

She said, "Of course, honey. We'll get that, too," indicating the baby bottle set that I had been looking at in the catalog.

But, when the day arrived that a hearing was scheduled for relinquishing custody, nobody told me anything or asked anything, or did anything.

On the other hand, I did not do anything myself. I asked my son's dad for help. He said he could not afford to help me, because he had to buy new furniture for his wife. He and his wife had been estranged before that.

I'm not sure that I have a right to blame anyone except myself, though. I could probably have done something to help myself, but I did not. I have always regretted this terrible lack of initiative.

I found out more than twenty years later that his adoptive parents systematically abused him mercilessly and treated him cruelly. They even ridiculed him for giving a book as a gift. Nobody would have ever done that if he had been with us. We give books as gifts in my family as a matter of course.

Yet, the "official story," was that relinquishing one's child for adoption is such an "act of love."

I don't think so.

Not in this case.

Another part of the "official story," is that I would be able to resume my education, and finish my degree.

I don't think so.

Not in this case.

I don't have a degree.

Even now.

Now, in 2016, teen girls who become pregnant are being told the same pack of lies --- except now they're coerced into abortions, instead of just relinquishing custody.


Here is some information from Time and Date dot com about Our Lady's Assumption, but I will assume my readers already know.

If not, all the better --- and surprise!!


Here is a specifically Catholic page.