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Saturday, March 08, 2008


Today I went to jamie's blog and found this: Letter to my Dead Grandmother a letter that my daughter wrote to my biological mother who gave me up for adoption in the 1950's. I wrote a little blog entry in 2006 about my birth mother's stay at "Watermelon Hill" but Jamie's words eclipse mine.

The good genes were definitely passed on, and I am so grateful and blessed to have a daughter with this kind of spirit, and a mother who must have too.

Watermelon Hill

by Linda Back McKay (Used by permission, from Ride That Full Tilt Boogie.)

Close the door and never look back.
This is finished for you now.
-Sister Marie Dolores
After she got herself in trouble, they sent her
away to Watermelon Hill, which was not really
its name, but what the boys yelled to the swollen girls
who were to come due at that home for unwed mothers.
A crucifix glared from the roof.
Laurel Taylor was not her real name.
What was real was absolved by Mother
Superior with a flap of her cloak.
Under the Immaculate Heart of Mary
was posted a litany of daily chores.
Miles of buffed linoleum, bars on the windows,
Doctor Crutchfield on Wednesdays, jelly jars
filled with vitamins. The tables were set for forty
or so, depending on who was in labor.
The tuna casseroles smelled like bleach.
Girls back from the hospital sat on donut pillows.
Days passed and the moon sickened.
Laurel Taylor, on her horrible cot with the stars
burning inside her, tried to pray.
It was best to give up your baby, not see or hold it.
It was best to give up your baby, make a plan for it.
Laurel Taylor tried to pray in the chapel,
her cardigan sweater open like a gate.
She fought to be good, to give her blood to some
nice family, to cleanse a child from her name.
Laurel Taylor tried to keep the monsters away
but under some god’s baleful eye, they rose
in a spine-cramping pain that was only the start
of the tearing off.
She lost her son in that war. Wading in water,
being able to see her feet again, she knew there would be
no anointing, no Extreme Unction.
after signing the surrender, she knew
the penance is fault and the loss is eternal.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I am only commenting so you know I was here. There are not really words to describe what you and Jaime have created.

just jamie said...

Oh Mom. I'm so grateful to be your little watermelon.

Love you.