By the fall of 1961 they had parted ways. My mom was in her Junior year and my Dad was in his Senior year.
In December 1961 my Mom became a sister for the 4th time when her mother gave birth to another baby sister. At that time my Mom was keeping a very large secret.
At the age of 16, she was nearly five months pregnant.
My Mom recalls this time with mixed emotions. She had not told a soul of her condition, yet she was excited and terrified all at once. She knew without a doubt she wanted the baby, but had no idea of how everyone in her life would react. So she kept her secret until she was 7.5 months along, and it was no longer possible to hide her expanding waistline.
Her mother asked her directly "Are you pregnant?"
"Yes." was my Mom's simple reply.
That one word turned her world upside down from the moment it escaped her lips.
My Grandmother's immediate reaction was violent. She tore a necklace off my Mom's neck, which had been given to my Mom by her own grandmother, stating "You don't deserve this!"
That night my Mom made the phone call to my Dad. And in complete contrast to her parent's reaction, my Dad responded with an excited "Oh Good, Now we'll get married." Never once did he react negatively, even with all that happened in the ensuing weeks.
My Grandparents were furious!! They told my Mom she was NOT under any circumstances going to keep the baby..."What would the neighbors think!!" was all my Grandmother cared about at the time. They arranged for a women from a local home for pregnant teens, to come and speak with my Mom about how things would go and the adoption process.
My Mom recalls her own behavior during this meeting as belligerent, disrespectful and down-right rude!! She recalls having such a desperate feeling and knew only one thing....No one was taking her baby!
After the disastrous meeting, my Grandparents had a private meeting with my Dad's mother. Although my parents where not allowed to be present at this meeting, my mom learned later what was discussed. My Dad's mother told my Mom's parents that if they did not want her to have this baby, that was their decision, but the baby would not go up for adoption! My Dad would take the child and it would be raised by his family.
Two weeks later, my Grandfather drove my Mom to a small church in Napa, California where she was met by my Dad, his Mother and his two brothers. Before my Mom stepped out of the car, my Grandfather said "I hope your happy!" After she got out of the car, my Grandfather drove away.
My Mom walked into the small church on 12 March 1962 and became Mrs. Theodore Green. She was 16 years old.
Following their wedding, my parents returned to Novato and lived with my Dad's mother. My mom dropped out of school and on 31 May 1962 my sister Caren was born.
Between 1962 and 1966 my parents had 3 more children; two more girls and one boy.
While their marriage was not a fairytale by any stretch of the imagination, they were happy.
Sadly, my Dad's mother died the summer of 1965, and with her death came a very deep depression my Dad could not recover from.
He began drinking regularly and heavily, although by all accounts he NEVER drank at home.
In the fall of 1972 I was born.
The only photo of my Dad and I in the same space and time.
I am being held by a cousin, and the little boy is my brother.
Just 9 months later, and after nearly 12 years of marriage, on 8 Sept 1973 my father died in a head-on collision after a night of drinking. His blood alcohol level was 2.8. He was killed instantly. By the grace of God, no one else was seriously injured.
While the story of my parents has a sad ending, they did love one another, and even today and after a second marriage, my Mom says my Dad was her soul mate.
I have to say that being the daughter of a "Teen Mom" taught me a lot. I can vividly recall being 16 and thinking My God, I could never be a mom right know...How did she do it!!
While statistics show children born to teen parents are more likely to become teen parents themselves, this did not happen with my family.