General Non-Fiction posted January 20, 2023 Chapters: -1- 2... 

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Mother Learns Survival Comes with Hard Edges

A chapter in the book Angels Unaware

Living Like a Refugee

by forestport12

A Fractured Family living in a broken world in search of purpose and meaning from 1950s through 2000 with a little help from secret angels.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood..."

When my mother got pregnant with my stepsister at fourteen, no one picked out or punished the father, a married man at the time. No one questioned whether or not the father forced himself on her. From that point on, my mother's future looked bleak. She was thrown out of her home by her father and had to rely on distant relatives and strangers for food and shelter. It was 1950: the age of I Love Lucy, the Cold War, and toxic masculinity. When my stepsister was old enough to ask about her real father, my mother simply told her that he had died in a car accident. She wanted her to believe there was nothing there worth finding.

After the birth of my half-sister and several homes later, my mother landed with a man who promised to take care of the pair. He seemed like a guardian angel come down from above to protect and guide her in a broken world. The rules were simple: make love, cook, clean, and always do as you are told. My mother was a tall teen with red hair, and a tongue that couldn't be tamed. After a few months she made the mistake of complaining too much. One day Vince decided to teach my future mother and stepsister a lesson.

The master of the house locked them in a coat closet in the center of the old city house where there would be no escape. He gave them a bucket and some water, then for good measure he nailed two by fours across the door. They huddled in a dark corner where mother used coats to keep my sister warm.

Several days later, Vince relented and let them out, but not without my mother's apology. I'm not sure if the confined space became a prayer closet. Somewhere along the way my mother stopped believing there was a God. All she wanted was freedom and to find a safe place for her and my sister Ann. It was then that my grandfather forgave her for being an unwed mother whore and decided to take her back.

When Vicky Blair turned twenty, she took her younger sister Doris to a dancing club where there eyes fixated on my future father. He was some catch, a man with broad shoulders, hazel eyes, and a slender nose. They couldn't stop looking at him, and he probably knew it. My father loved to dance more than drinking, even though alcohol was on the table. What made him even more attractive was the fact that he was a good dancer. It wasn't long before he made a move on my mother.

I wanted to say I was a gleam in my father's hazel eyes back then, but that would be a lie. My older brother had to be born ahead of me. Back in the 1950's, there was something about making love in parked cars. That was all it took for my brother, Robert to be conceived. The burden fell on my mother approaching my father with the baby news.

When my mother shared the news of her pregnancy to my father, he posed with a sheepish grin. "How can you be sure I'm the father?"

Despite all the bad men in my mother's young life, she was a survivor and figured how to get my future father to own his share of the conception. She knew where his mother and father lived on Avery Avenue in Syracuse, NY. It was her trump card, and knew his mother was a true influencer.

My grandmother had birthed a large polish family of three brothers and four sisters. She rocked the cradle and ruled her home. Once Momma Bednar got a hold of Thomas, his bachelor days were numbered. Thomas Bednar and Vicky were joined together in holy matrimony with a traditional wedding and the whole, "until death do you part commitment."

Finally, my brother Robert could be born in wedlock. However, my father refused to have my older brother named after him, because, as he said, "I can't be sure he's mine until I can get a good look at his defining features over time." Such was life before DNA.

When my mother gave birth to me, father didn't have to wonder. I was given his name Thomas Bednar. My mother often reminded me that I looked just like him. If only I had known how heavy the burden of his name and looks would wear on me.

It was important to tell my true story before I was born, because the early events in my mother's life had a profound impact on our family, and it would be the means to give the reader context for her future in my life and family.

If anything, this story will once again prove the saying, "Truth is often stranger than fiction." In addition, I relied primarily on my stepsisters recollection of events in the first chapter, who in the years to follow could be honest to a fault, if such a thing existed.
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