This is a tribute to A. Someone needs to remember her some place; here seems to be a good place to do just this.
I usually take interest in the biographies of folks of my kind, especially in the all white environment I currently live. I like to collect stories from everywhere I stay, and I usually find this more absorbing than doing what I am supposed to. Both is kind of a research. The second generally goes unnoticed by others. But one or two of these stories are really worth telling.
I learned about A. from her daughter, who I met on the Campus. She was doing some work on a park bench when I was passing by, and, recognizing some familiar features, I said hello. We started talking. And after a few days, she told me her mom's story.
"My Mom was born in the mid sixties, her mother being a prostitute, her father unknown. Most likely he was never in the picture, in any way, he didn't ever show up and he is not mentioned in any document. Mom spent her first year in a brothel, in her mother's room, or outside, during working hours. She was then taken to an orphanage, showing severe signs of neglect and malnutrition. One document I have shows that there had been several anonymos calls; when the social service started reacting to them, they were real quick. Parental rights were terminated and my Mom was adopted within the following half year.
Her Amother, the Grandmother I never met, was unable to have biological children, and she was very religious. So there she was with this little dark -skinned shy girl, and she could not understand why this girl would not turn to her. Instead, she evaded her hugs, she prefered to sit alone, she wouldn't be rocked. They never bonded. When my Mom was three years old, she ran away for the first time. That was the time she was first told that she carried a whore's genes in her, she would most likely end up being exactly like her mother, she was supposed to show just a bit more gratitude and pray to God for her improvement.
To make a long story short, I grew up without her, and I only know about her because her childhood friend kept her memory alive for me and a cousin saved all the family documents for me. My Mom became addicted to pills before she turned fifteen, soon she took what she could get, and the only years she spent clean were during pregnancy and breastfeading me. I remember her vaguely, she was either laughing or crying a lot, often within one moment. She left one evening never to come home. I don't have a grave to go to. Her Amother had her buried in an anonymos grave. "
This is to you, A. I'm glad I had a chance to meet your daughter.