True Power

True Power

Friday, July 27, 2012

I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE THE DAY By Dorothy Guyton

My MoJo Online Submission in Issue 11


MEMOIR/SOCIAL COMMENTARY:

I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE THE DAY

By Dorothy Guyton

I think it was four-no five years ago I went to visit an elderly friend. Oh, that’s not a good description of this lady whose eyes and ears have seen and heard more things than most young minds could contain. She was a lady, but was never ashamed of the hard labor she did with her dark palmed hands. These were hands that picked astonishing amounts of cotton and the same hands that slipped bail money in coffins from up North to Mississippi during Jim Crow for those imprisoned under made up charges with high set bail. Now, you get it. Now you know I was visiting a fountain of courage and wisdom who spoke in a paced, low alto, authoritative voice.

“Yes, Dorothy I would have loved to have more children, but I couldn’t. The doctor told me when I was in my thirties I needed to have a hysterectomy, but my husband told the doctor no.”

Stunned for a moment, knowing I just misunderstood what had just been said; I asked the woman who spoke like spun silk to repeat what she just said. With a smile at my naive youth her skin color perked up and began to flush with undertones of renewed blood flow.

“Oh, yes Door-ah-they (I loved how she purred my name), a woman had to get her husband’s permission to have a hysterectomy back then even if her health was in jeopardy like mine’s was. It wasn’t until we divorced that I had the surgery. I think I suffer now for waiting so long.”

I left her presence haunted by the thought. I drove home swiftly with a new idea for a book swirling in my head aching to be released and jotted down on paper. I had grand plans for a four part novelette.

It would begin with a slave woman and progress to the 1950’s, to 2009, and end in the year 2065, all dealing with the same core issue with different women linked to each other one way or another. Aunt Addie was used to produce babies for her Master to sell. Her children all went for high prices and each had an identifiable birthmark on them somewhere that looked like a star. Her prized off springs began to be known as a ‘Star Child’ and every slave owner wanted one. This was fine with Addie until she became pregnant by the love of her life who promised not to sell their love child, the Master’s son.

Of course the child was sold, love was lost, and it turned out she would never have another ‘Star Child.’ Years go by and the new Master (her old love) purchases a beautiful young girl who worked hard and now was the one counted on to birth the money children. When it comes time for the baby to be born old Aunt Addie was the midwife. The young girl pushed and pushed and then Aunt Addie saw it; the birthmark on the inside of the new young girl’s thigh in the shape of a star.

I can’t tell you the entire story, but not to be able to recognize or ever raise one of your children had to hit Old Aunt Addie hard. What had to hit even harder was that more ‘Star’ children were being birthed for market; with no say in the matter. Great little story of a past era we strive to leave in the past and move towards our future.

My, how time flies. The title of the book is going to be I Never Thought I’d See the Day. But, I have lived to see the day. I live in a world where there is a debate whether a woman can have contraceptives, safe abortions, a place for breast exams, and procedures in a hospital that would save her life, but not if it endangered the unborn child’s life.

Men are debating women’s issues without even asking for a woman’s advice. What a difference four or five years can make. I did not believe I would see a day, a time like this. My fictitious character, Aunt Addie, did not have any control or choice of her reproduction wishes; her own body. “How far have we come as women—or is the question —where are we headed as women?”

Check out the link to read other featured authors and poets http://www.mojowriters.com/

I would love to hear what you think about my piece and as always, thanks to MoJo for allowing me to express my thoughts in words in their magazine.

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