March 26, 2013
Putting Myself In Her Shoes
My father was sent to America from Scotland when he was just a boy (between 9 and 12 years old). His father had died when he was an infant and his mother had eventually re-married and had two more children. The man she married was a mean alcoholic and was abusive to my father. So, my grandmother believed it would be in the best interest of my father to send him to America to be adopted by her sister-in-law and her husband. They wanted children but were unable to conceive, were financially well off and my grandmother believed they could provide a wonderful life for her eldest son.
Because her husband was so mean to her first-born son, my dad spent most of his time at his grandmother's home where he felt very loved, safe and secure - it was the early 1940's. His mother never explained to him why she was taking him from the loving arms of his grandmother and sending him away. The only thing my dad knew was that he was being taken from the only person he felt truly loved him, taken from the security of his grandmother, taken from his home, and being sent to a foreign country to live with people he had never met and never known. His mother was "throwing him away". Had he done something wrong? Was he "bad"? To this day I don't think he truly understands.
I would like to have been there to witness what she went through to make such a decision. Although I doubt I could have sent my son away, it was quite a different time. Maybe I would have done the same thing. Regardless of her motives, I hope it was a selfless decision, not a selfish one. I would like to have been there, to be the friend she talked to about it. I would like to understand how and why she made the decision she did. I would like to understand why she did it the WAY she did, without talking and explaining and preparing her son for such a change in his life.
My dad grew up, left home, and became an alcoholic, wandering all over the country; running from the pain of being "worthless and unwanted". My dad has endured much heartache and as a result has also caused just as much.
I only met my grandmother a couple of times before she passed away so I never got to ask her, myself, why and how she could make the decisions she made. I would like to go back in time, back in history, to 1940-something Scotland, to see what she saw, feel what she may have felt, and know the woman who sent her son, alone, across a vast ocean to Brooklyn, NY.
Posted by Staff at 10:31 AM