Cereal No. 8

A person’s days are determined;
    you have decreed the number of his months
    and have set limits he cannot exceed. (Job 14:5 NIV)

Determination

Her mother was not surprised, but relieved, when the policeman informed her that they had found her daughter in a town about thirty miles from their home. She dressed in her best outfit, a tweed jacket with a matching skirt that she had bought from the Sears catalog. The first time she wore the suit was at her own mother’s funeral ten years prior. The suit was a bit snug, but it fit her well enough to keep her from investing in a new one.

She sat on an uncomfortable plastic orange chair next to her sleeping daughter. The doctor confirmed what she had suspected, her daughter was pregnant. About three months along, and he assured her that as soon as the IV fluids did their job; daughter and baby would be just fine. That was all well and good, but as far as her mother was concerned everything was not fine.

She had started her research soon after she had suspected her daughter’s condition. She knew that some bigger cities still offered homes for unwed mothers. She went to the library to look up details on the microfiche collection. She wrote down her findings in her spiral notebook. By coincidence the topic of these type of homes came up at her daily coffee klatsch with the neighborhood ladies.

She didn’t really need the ladies, but she did enjoy the local gossip and how much the women loved her coffee cake. They all thought she made it from scratch. She didn’t think it necessary to tell them that she used the recipe on the Bisquick box. And that her secret to success was pure vanilla combined with buttermilk, as a substitute for the water. The ladies just raved about the moistness of the cake balanced with the crunch of her cinnamon crumble topping. Their crumbs of praise kept her engaged in their mundane conversations.

Their conversation turned to the homes, after Ida Cochran cheerfully handed around the newsletter from her parish. Ida was always trying to get her neighbors to convert. The mother had no interest in religion, but she did believe in logical progressions. Ida droned on with information about the Sisters of Charity in Kansas City, Missouri. The sisters apparently ran one of the last homes for unwed mothers. Ida reported that the home used to house around seventy young girls, but in the past couple years the census had fallen to about twenty. Her parish was raising funds to keep the home open. Ida insisted that these homes were much needed, and it was a damn shame that they were becoming extinct.

Even though her daughter was missing, she sent a letter requesting an application for residency. It would be simple enough to convince her husband that their daughter was troubled. She would tell him that a cousin of hers out west was willing to take their daughter in, until she could finish high school. He would agree, and that would be that.

The fact that her daughter was returned to them solidified her resolve. The only obstacle to her plan was the daughter herself. How would she convince her daughter to go along with her determination? It would take a little more calculation, but it was not an insurmountable problem.

3 thoughts on “Cereal No. 8

  1. Still a nice story. How old is the daughter? What kind of insurance does the father carry, Some insurance covers unwed daughter’s medical expenses, if they were living at home when it happened. Just thought you’d like to know this. (I heard this.)

    1. Thanks Cecelia! The girl in the story is fourteen…some time in the 1970s…the insurance info is helpful…I’m still not exactly sure where the story is headed…

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