Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Aunt I Never Knew Part Two

And so the aunt I never knew returned home with her infant daughter.  She was withdrawn, preferring to spend the days with her baby, wandering the farm and dreaming, and writing her poems.  She held to the belief that the boy she loved would one day return to her and their child.  She was melancholy and lost her easy smile.  She spent most of her hours alone or with her baby.

She wrote this poem for her daughter.
She was sixteen at the time.

You Make Me Think

You make me think of all I know
Too beautiful to express
A garden in the moonlight
Love, hope and tenderness.
If ever I see an angel
In heaven way up there
I'm sure it will look like you
With skin so soft and fair
Your hair would rival its halo
So soft and king o'light
And eyes could never be like yours
So kind and sweet and bright
They've never made any word
To tell you how I feel
You're like a dream, a fancy
And yet my dear, you're real.

This photograph was taken when my aunt had just turned seventeen

There was some sort of hearing about the baby and her paternity in the spring of my aunt's seventeenth year. I know few details but during the hearing several friends of the boy testified that they, too, had sex with my child-aunt and that she was loose and wanton.  The boy himself said that he had never loved her, had never promised marriage and could never love anyone of such unsavory character.  He further testified that any number of boys could have been the baby's father.  The most damaging statements came from my aunt's own sister who said she knew for a fact that her sister had "many" boyfriends...far too many for a good girl.

After the hearing my young aunt became even more withdrawn and depressed.  On a beautiful day in June, with her daughter sleeping and my aunt's eight-year-old sister playing outside, this lovely young woman took down her father's shotgun and ended her life.  It was four months after her seventeenth birthday.

Had this story been fiction, I would have chosen a better ending.  But sadly, the story is true.  My grandparents raised the daughter as if she were their own child.  She grew up, married, and had two daughters of her own.  To my knowledge she never sought out her father.

The aunt who made the lying statements?  Well, that is another story for another day.


The Bug said...

How cruel we can be to our own families (not to mention that young man - horrible!). What a sad tale. Are you going to tell the other aunt's story?

Taradharma said...

her poems tell me she was a kind and loving woman, who saw deep into the complexities of life. What a terrible shame that the hearing was so traumatizing that she ended her life. What could have been had people shown her kindness? A very sad tale.

Barbara Rogers said...

What a sad story. I'm glad that your aunt wrote some of her thoughts and feelings, and that someone else cared enough about her to keep them and that you care enough to share them with us. Her life has more meaning from this.

Folkways Note Book said...

Nice that you are expressing your aunt's story. I feel that even though it is family history the incident rides into the next generation. In today's context DNA would have solved her plight and perhaps a lovely young girl's life could have been spared. -- barbara

kks said...

so tragic a story....thank you for telling it so beautifully...and honestly.

Busy Bee Suz said...

That is so heartbreaking. Lies can devastate lives so easily. Bless her heart....I do hope she found peace in her life on the other side.

KB said...

What a horrible end for her. She seemed very talented. She was so young yet wrote so eloquently. She seemed to truly and deeply love her daughter. What a tragic ending.

I'm glad that her daughter grew up to have a happy life because I can tell that her mother loved her so much.

Anonymous said...

Such a tragic ending for such a beautiful young woman. Her poem expresses so much about the depth of her insight and compassion. What an immeasurable loss. Now we will all remember your sad, broken-hearted beautiful young woman.

troutbirder said...

Sometimes I wish I had lived in those days rather that in todays. Yet this story reminds of another side of things back then.....

Cicero Sings said...

What a very sad tale. She looked a lovely gal ... so much of life before her ... and her daughter to live and fight for. Yes, very sad.

Vicki Lane said...

Heartbreaking. Like one of our mountain ballads, alas.

Ruth said...

I was afraid the story would end like this. So sad.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Bug - yes, I will address the issue of the other aunt.

Barbara - Yes, today a quick test could have determined the paternity. I'm not certain it would have changed the ending since my aunt seems to have been devastated by her lover's deception.

Vicki - Yes, it does seem like one of our ballads. And I suspect it happened more often that we would like to think.

Rudee said...


This sad story takes my breath away. It seems this sensitive soul was surrounded by cruelty.

Jayne said...

I found my hands going to my mouth to attend the gasp there as I read your words... so, so sad.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Sad, but predictable, ending. In a world where love is held in such high esteem, there often seems to be very little of it in practice. Not to mention the hypocrisy of holding others to a standard that we fail to meet ourselves.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

So sad Carolyn. A needless senseless end to such a young life. Her poems are really touching.
Boys, grrrrr