This I Believe

William - Medford, Oregon
Entered on March 20, 2007
Age Group: 65+
Themes: parenthood
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I believe in forgiveness and my right to life. Before I was born my mother married an attractive man from a wealthy and socially well established family. But he was an officer in the U.S. Navy and went to sea shortly after the wedding. He was continuously at sea for two years at the time of my birth. It was the lack of forgiveness, and the lack of acceptance of my right to life, that caused the events that followed:

My mother’s family wanted her to abort me. But abortions were illegal in 1938 and were performed by unqualified people. For this reason abortions were really dangerous. When I was five years old my grandmother explained to me why I was not aborted.

I was born in the Seaside Naval Hospital, Long Beach, CA. So my mother’s husband found out right away and divorced her by proxy. Then her own family kicked her out. She had nothing except an old Model T Ford. In that car she crossed the country three times – being arrested by local police several times as “a woman with no visible means of support.”

When I was three years old mother she arrested for prostitution in Washington, D.C. This was just the first of many times I remember being taken from her and placed in foster care.

Although I got straight A’s from kindergarten through the 3rd grade, I was made a Ward of the Court in Los Angeles. Being under abusive foster care I no longer paid attention to school assignments. It was hopeless as they kept transferring me from foster home, to institution, to home, to foster home. And it was always the case that the foster parents were worse than my mother. Their abuse was unbelievable! My mother never drank or took drugs. My mother never allowed anyone to touch me sexually. I always ate well when living with my mother. She praised me, loved me, and encouraged me to learn. Los Angeles Foster Care did exactly the opposite!

When I was 14 (in foster care and unsupervised during the day) I got a summer job as a busboy in a Jewish family restaurant. They were very nice, paid me well for my 4 hours a day, and gave me a really great meal each evening. When the summer ended I had saved $200.00. With that money I emancipated myself from foster care on my 15th birthday. I simply got a full time job as a busboy eight miles away and rented a room.

I grew from busboy, to Veterinarian’s helper, to Administrative Clerk in the U.S. Air Force. It was a slow climb but I finally got into the University of Maryland at age 30 and the Cytology School, Baylor College of Medicine, at the age of 33. I subsequently performed very early cancer detection as a career. I played a key roll in saving many thousands of lives. I am now semi retired, working as a caregiver to seniors and physically challenged people. But I could have been a much greater asset to society if the adults involved would have forgiven my mother her error and accepted my right to life.

I never married.

My poor mother went completely mad. She died a recluse at the age of 58.

The world is a very cold place without forgiveness and respect for the right to life.