Through Any Given Door

1.88 Umpteenth Time

May 1952 • Sonora, California “For the umpteenth time, I don’t know why she left,” my sixteen-year-old sister snapped. “No, I don’t know when we’ll see her again, no, I don’t know where she went and no, I don’t know if she’s coming back. Now don’t ask any more questions.

Mom was gone, and this time Carleen knew she wasn’t coming back. My oldest sister was in charge now and there was no need to discuss it again.

Clemens siblings 1950
Carleen, Claudia, Cathy, Betty, Larry

Our lives continued. Spring faded. Summer passed. Fall blew into winter. The first time our mother left was in April 1950, before I turned two. She came back, but knew she couldn’t live a life she didn’t want. She once told Larry she didn’t know what to do, that she’d go crazy if she didn’t get away, that she had to leave. In early May 1952, packing everything she could carry in her two leather suitcases, she finally left for good.

Mothers didn’t run away in those days, except ours did, and Betty never forgave her.

to be continued …

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Barbara Jacobsen says:

    Do you know where she went?

  2. Louise Lertora says:

    Please let us know how the children coped

  3. This makes me cry. It makes me sad. Very sad

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