We hoped our kids would be accepted
at Stanford or the University of California, Berkeley but neither was. Instead
they attended the University of Southern California and Santa Clara University,
good but not excellent.
In 1990, on a September Saturday, I flew down to the San Jose Airport for a Santa Clara University parent's day with my rebuilt, 36 C, profile.
Visiting Santa Clara University provided
re-connection with the past. Silicon Valley, however, continued to metamorphose
from the world I knew into the high tech center I didn’t. It was no longer my
home town. Home prices continued endlessly to rocket up, our former house
eventually worth ten times the impossible price we sold it for.
My father in law had passed away 2
years earlier, drinking to the end. He had my pity but not my respect until
later. His funeral was unattended except for immediate family with life’s bad
luck following him to the grave.
Dad had passed on a year later with
Mom somehow managing a Catholic funeral for him, her prayers before the saint's
statute for funerals answered by an old priest pulling strings. A few
attractive, unknown white women attended as well as his good time pals. They
kept apart and our family pretended not to see them. I didn’t resent him for
his weaknesses only for not knowing his past.
With widowed Moms we purchased in our names a couple of modest 2 bedroom homes in the Willow Glen area of San Jose, so they could enjoy old age without a wolf pounding on their doors, our generosity was eventually repaid with rising home values. One brother mooched living with Mom. It being a small two bedroom was a blessing or other siblings would have moved in with the area's high housing costs. He did provide companionship and Mom was happy to coddle, make excuses for, feed and clean up after him, giving her a purpose to live.
From the airport I first drove to my mother in law's house for dinner without Mom as they didn't socialize. As a widow my mother in law blossomed into a happier person. She never knew my secret shadow puppet but confided in me after I kept her abortion secret and expanded her confidentiality trust by telling me widow dating details I didn't want to hear. After dinner I learned her secret puppet shadow was more complicated than first told. The abortion passed off as a miscarriage which devastated my father in law was not all. It was worse, much worse. At her house, after dinner, drinking the second bottle of Northwest wine I brought down, I joked.
"Gee Mom, I feel good, and it’s good to see you! Let's drink to wine; hope it’s not hereditary"
I called her Mom for my husband's sake but it wasn't an honest term of endearment. Realizing immediately my hoof in mouth statement due to my farther in law's alcoholism I tried to cover by switching the subject.
"I love what you did with the roses."
Mulling my alcohol hereditary comment she changed the conversation back.
"Don't worry about it being hereditary. The kids are safe."
"Oh Mom, I'm not worried. Let's drink to not worrying."
She leaned close and hit me hard.
"There’s no worry. Dad's not his father."
I looked shocked. I was. At first I
thought it was jest, and then it settled in.
Hubby's Dad is not his father?
She saw my disbelief. A little tipsy she explained.
"His biological father is the one who
caused the abortion. I know it's terrible but I was in love. It was before the
pill. I would have divorced to marry him but he rejected me for his family. I
stayed married for security and ruined two lives.
"Don't tell. I needed to let you know in case, in case, something develops, unforeseen. As far as I know there are no hereditary diseases to worry about but if something comes up you should know because I could never tell him."