Last week I promised to share a bit about the inspiration for writing The Gift with today's post.
The story takes place in the late 1940s and 1950s. World War II had ended. A young high schooler falls in love with a college student and becomes pregnant. With that development, the story begins.
The Gift is fictional, but the inspiration emerged from real-life situations. I was conceived during the post-war celebrations in San Diego. Mom was nineteen, Catholic, and ashamed. When she told her father of the pregnancy, he embraced her and said, "Often the first baby arrives early, but all the rest arrive on time." She married my dad and had eight more children, and just as my grandfather had predicted, they were all on time.
Fifty years later, while I was an administrator at Fairfield University in Connecticut, another nineteen-year-old gave birth. Because of her shame, she told no one of her situation and was found unconscious in the dormitory. The baby did not survive. Her mother came immediately and offered much love. Three years later, she graduated with honors.
A year after the above tragedy, I received an anonymous phone call indicating that another freshman student was pregnant. I met with this child and took her to the doctor. Like the other student, she had received no care during the pregnancy. The doctor told her that she was due any day. After much urging, the student called her parents. Her mother arrived about an hour later and shouted her disapproval, yelling that she'd have a doctor induce labor, then they'd give the baby away, and no one would know of the pregnancy. The scene haunts me still. I don't know what happened to this very guilt-ridden young woman, because her mother withdrew her from the university immediately.
What about the fathers? The first young woman broke up with her boyfriend. The second never knew the father of her baby, because she had passed out at a party and had been raped.
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. We have much to be grateful for, and I hope you and your family find ways to celebrate this truth.
Since most of us are busy with holiday preparations, I've closed the comments for today.