Monday, November 22, 2004

Marty's Big Journey, Part 1- The Real Beginning

Kathleen, 1963

In 1963 Kathleen, a college student from the University of New Mexico, went to Iowa to spend her summer away from school with her family. Her parents lived in Cedar Falls, home to Iowa State Teacher's College (now the University of Northern Iowa).

Kathleen's parents were well known by many of the foreign students around the college, especially among some of the African students whom they often befriended and became a sort of pseudo-host family. The students didn't live in their home, but were welcomed there on many occasions.

One of these students was John, a 30 year old Masters Degree candidate from Nigeria, who had become especially good friends with Kathleen's father, Tom. John had come to continue his education so that he could eventually return to his village and run the school that was founded by his father. Tom took a liking to the very industrious young man and often had him over for meals, gave him advice, and helped him to find jobs painting and working on farms.

John, 1963

Kathleen and John had a good friendship and spent much time together. But alas, the summer came and went, and Kathleen returned to school in New Mexico while John went back to school right there in Cedar Falls to finish up the last few months of his advanced degree. But when Kathleen got back to New Mexico she made a shocking discovery. She was pregnant. I don't know the complete details other than "one time" after a night out, it happened.

When Kathleen called her mother to ask for help, arrangements were made to find a place for her to live while waiting for the birth of her baby. Like many a young Catholic girl who found themselves in such a situation, Kathleen was to "disappear" for several months until her child was born and could be adopted by a family better prepared to raise a child. The arrangements were made and her mother immediately left for New Mexico to bring Kathleen home and then on to a Catholic home for unwed mothers in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

No comments: