My life is filled with people and things that, if the universe was a logical place, would be nowhere near me. With as much of a jackass as I can be, I certainly do not deserve such a bountiful life. Although I do not participate in “Thankful Thursdays” (I really should), every other moment is spent shaking my head in disbelief and gratitude for my incredibly good fortune. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Today, I am thankful to, and for, three women.
The first is a woman named Harriet, who lives in east Nashville in the shadow of L.P. field.
The second is a woman who passed away a few years ago named Marguerite, but everybody called her DeeDee.
Both women are directly responsible for the wonderful human being, the third woman, my wife Lintilla.
DeeDee raised Lintilla from an infant to the incredible woman she is today. Just yesterday, I marveled at the quirks and mannerisms that Lintilla shares with her mother. DeeDee gave the world an incredibly refined daughter, a person the likes of whom I cannot find an equal. DeeDee did a wonderful job as a mom. It’s an added bonus that she and I became good friends the last 10 years of her life. Our relationship did not start well, but she continued to give me a chance (my father in law? that’s another story).
Lintilla is so comfortable in her own skin, she is at home in housing projects, as well as Belle Meade mansions (I am uncomfortable in both, to be honest). I have never met another person who can befriend anyone so quickly, almost instantly. I think I know now why.
DeeDee had help giving the world this wonderful woman. You see, DeeDee could not bear children herself.
On June 12, 1960, Harriet gave birth to a daughter. It is not my place to give specifics about the situation, except to say that Harriet could not take care of this baby, and things were handled discreetly, the way they always were back then.
Judge if you will, but you will be judging from ignorance. All I know is this woman, who at the time was a scared young girl, placed her baby in God’s hands, who in turn put her in the care of DeeDee. As far as I know, the two never met; they saw each other at the legal proceedings, but did not speak.
A few years ago, after DeeDee’s death, Lintilla, with only a name to go by, started researching at the Main library, and was able to determine, with some certainty, what had happened to her birthmother. She filled out the paperwork, and wrote a heartfelt letter. Lintilla first met her birthsister, and once the initial nervousness was over, she met Harriet herself.
They have become fast friends, and it’s good to see Lintilla have answers to questions she had carried her whole life. But she will always call DeeDee “mom”. DeeDee was a revolutionary for her time, not concealing the adoption from her child. Teachers would call home reporting that Lintilla was telling all the other kids she was (whisper, now) adopted, and DeeDee would reply with a hearty, “So?”
The community was mortified. But she raised an incredibly open minded girl, self-confident about adoption.
And this young lady grew into a woman, who would fall in love with a man, who later would have to make his own decision about adoption. It all fell into place like so many pieces in a puzzle.
Today is Lintilla’s birthday.
So, I am thankful for, and to, three women.
Two, for what they did. The third, for who she is.
Happy birthday, Lintilla.