I guess it isn’t really all that great of a surprise that Marilyn and I had such similar childhood stories. Plenty of emotionally unstable, fragile women like our mothers got themselves “in trouble” with men who had no permanent thought of the woman or her child. And just like many other fatherless children, Marilyn and I were plagued by uncertainty and lifelong obsession about our biological fathers, even though in both cases they denied paternity until their respective deaths.
Apparently, Marilyn’s father abandoned her mother after being told of the pregnancy, just as my father did.
From the day that I finally coerced my grandmother into revealing the truth about my real father, until the day I met him at twenty-nine, I was consumed with thoughts of what he would be like. I was sure he’d want me if he could just see how eager I was to have him in my life. In my imagination, my father held the key to my legitimacy. He was my beginning, the very essence from which I was made. My mother and grandmother had told me many times that I was conceived in love. But I knew if I could just meet him, touch him, and see him with my own eyes, I would somehow become complete.
I also thought that just by meeting my father, I would be set free from the burden—at least in my own heart—of being a bastard. I would be able to laugh in the face of the religious bigotry that declared me for- ever shut out from God’s favor. Thanks to scathing words in the Old Testament, I had spent my life believing that as a bastard I did not deserve to belong anywhere, that I had no legitimate claim on even being a real person. All through my life, I thought, “If only my father could approve of me, I would no longer be an outsider; I would be known and therefore made authentic.” From the quotes below, it appears that Marilyn felt similar feelings:
“Old Charles Stanley would never acknowledge me as his daughter let alone marry my mother!” . . . “All I really wanted from him was to let me call him father.” . . “He didn’t want the world to know I was his love child, his mistake.” . . . “Oh, how I wished I had a Dad.” —Marilyn
Perhaps this is where Marilyn and I both became convinced that we were not full human beings unless a man’s attention made us real. We were daughters of women who were trashed by the men who should have appreciated and honored them as full, equal, and honorable part- ners. We, too, were cast off as ragdolls, apparently not made of the right stuff anymore than our mothers had been. The legacy of a mother’s emotions has a way of imprinting into the very DNA of a child even before birth. It left us indelibly stamped with our mothers’ shame. (P.g. 2-3) To be continued………