Mom volunteered as a nurse in WWII.
Dad emigrated to America, all alone, at age 17 from his homeland of Germany in 1934. More than ever, in my seventies, I continue to be amazed at my parent’s courage. In the years post war it was customary not to talk about the war especially in regards to their own personal experiences, until I began asking questions about my origins when in my twenties.
When I was 16, during one our frequent fights where I commonly defended my dad, mom shouted, “He’s not your father!” Hearing this was so shocking that for years I could not remember my reaction, only my circumstances: in my shared-sister-bedroom, mom near the window, a vacuum cleaner at my feet. Many years later, during a regression therapy session, memory returned to see myself running down the stairs and outdoors to sit in our father-made swing set. What makes me sad now is seeing myself alone. No one ever came to comfort me.
Near age 40, as a psychotherapist, I asked my mother (dad had died suddenly of a heart attack at age 60) why I was left alone? She’d said to my dad, after he’d come home from work, “Just leave her alone, she’ll get over it.” Obviously, this is not true!
My trust had been knifed. Betrayed.
I acted out that hurt by distancing myself from my dad (tears now), despite he being the only parent I could depend on, emotionally. He was the nurturer, not my mother who didn’t want me, because I reminded her of the acquaintance rape that made my conception possible.
In my twenties, I learned from mom that she’d fallen in love with my adoptive-dad while on the ship Huddleston, returning from WWII Germany. She was dad’s nurse. She was near five months pregnant when she went to the doctor to get an abortion. He denied her as she was too far along. Sometime later, they drove to Tarrytown, NY, planning to put me up for adoption. What changed their minds? Dad had said, “Keep her, I’ll sign the birth certificate.” WOW! I say to myself again and again although I have written of this most traumatic event several times over the years.
In my thirties, I asked my mom why she volunteered to serve in WWII. With her tears rising: “Someone has to take care of those soldiers.” I never had the chance to ask my dad why he fought in WWII, as an American citizen, against his homeland. Before he died, I only knew that he was against Hitler’s horrific ideologies. WOW, I say again to myself! And out loud: What a brave man!
That can be an understatement of my happiness to be brought up by my daddy’s love!