It was a late summer morning around 8:00 when the phone rang. As the conversation unfolded, I laid in bed listening to one side of the conversation. It took a minute or two to realize what was being said but not understanding exactly what it meant. The phone was hung up then quickly picked up and a number dialed.
She asked to speak to her husband and in a very short time she started pouring out the other side of the conversation I had not heard. A man had called and wanted her to know that his wife and her husband were having an affair. As a child of 12, I am not sure that I knew what that meant. However, I knew from the tone and tears it must not be good. She desperately wanted him to tell her that it was not true. He must have reassured her that the man was wrong. He would not do such a thing. She must not have trusted his words. After yelling into the phone “If I find out it’s true I will kill you” and with that the phone was slammed down in it cradle.
I continued to lay in bed not knowing what to do. My senses told me to be very quite and let her work through her tears, hurt and anger without having to deal with me. Her tears fall for over an hour. When the house was once again quite I got out of bed. It was a day like any other day, except for the fact that my Dad was having an affair and my Mom was leaving the next day to have open heart surgery.
The next morning Mom came into my room to tell me good-bye, that she loved me and to be a good girl while she was gone. Thinking back over that morning, why was I not going with them to Louisville to be with them while she had the surgery? It was the 60s, there was no money for trips. What would Dad have done with me? Could I have even gone into the hospital at my age?
Dad had come home from Louisville a few days after the surgery and before school started. I was going into six grade instead of seventh. Because of a speech disorder, my inability to sound out words when speaking and reading, I had repeated first grade. The beginning of school was always hard as it was but this one would be extra difficult.
Pride Avenue School was about half a mile from our house on Silkwood. Everyone walked to and from school no matter what the weather. It had been a good day and my mood was light and carefree. I burst out of the front double doors of the school to head home and saw my father sitting in the car. Being picked up at school was bad news and from the look on his face it was really bad news. I knew Mom’s surgery had gone well but that she had not woke up since. We were just waiting for her to wake up, but on the way home he told me that would not happen.
If the surgery was a success, her heart had been repaired physically, had she died from a broken heart. They had been married 13 years and she believed that he loved her. Was it too much for her to wake up and find out that the man she loved had betrayed her? He had said the vows: “I take thee to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith to you.” He had not loved and cherished her when he put another women between them. Broken heart? Everyone can come to their own conclusion.