Is this business?

Frank came in and sat down at the kitchen table.   He was  nervously twisting his hands around and I asked him if he would like a soda or a cup of coffee. He declined  and I finally had to ask him to be still and tell me what he wanted.

He apologized for his behavior, saying it was a shock.  I told him it was a shock to me too. I’m the one that will carry this baby and give birth to her, raise her and love her.

Frank asked if I was completely sure I was pregnant.   Of course, I had a test and I’m positive.  He said he wasn’t sure he wanted to be a father again.

“That’s funny honey, because ready or not you are going to be a father!!”    I opened the door and told him to get out because I was ready to be a mother, and he could just forget about me and my baby!    He left, and even thought I stood in the doorway, Anu ran right through me!  Geesh! I wish she wouldn’t do that!  It tickled!  I heard Frank yell and tumble down the stairs,

Anu came back in with a self satisfied smirk on her face. I couldn’t help it, this time I laughed.   What a jerk! I wish he would leave me alone!    I went to bed and cried myself to sleep!   Yep, that’s me a regular old cry baby.

I got up the next morning  and spent the first half hour upchucking in the toilet. Ugh! Not a nice aspect of pregnancy.   Couldn’t wait until this phase was over with. No coffee, just some nice yummy dry toast.   I was sitting on the couch watching t.v.  My tummy finally settled down when someone knocked on the door. I thought to myself, Oh great! What does he want now? Maybe to tell me again he doesn’t want to be a father.

I asked who it was, and it was my landlord Frank Sr.  I asked him in and we sat at the kitchen table over coffee and cookies.  I knew I paid my rent, but I asked to be sure.

Frank Sr. was a stern looking man of German and polish descent. He had always been nice to me, and I thought it was really good of him to allow his son to live in the first floor apartment.   I had a feeling I knew why he was here!  My stomach sank!

He finally spoke up and said,  “I don’t know how to say this, but Frankie told me I’m going to be a grandfather again!”   He was smiling!  I was so relieved. I had visions of him ejecting me and my fur kids from our apartment.   “Don’t worry about it, Frankie will come around.”  “He went through a rough divorce, and it almost drove him crazy, and I guess it did because he ended up a hippie in West Virginia.”   “Give him time.”  Of course I started to cry. Frank put his hands over mine and reassured me that everything was going to be alright.

He took his wallet out and gave me some money. I didn’t want to take it , but he told me “You take this money and buy my grandbaby what he needs.”  I didn’t know how to thank him, but as he stood up to leave he told me whatever I needed for the baby to let him know.  After he left I counted the money, and it was $300. I was stunned!

Magic was running around laughing and singing,  ” We’re gonna buy our baby some sweet, sweet, pink nighties and yellow socks to tickle her toes.”  I was laughing and soon we were all laughing rolling around on the floor, having a happy time just me and my fur kids.  I told myself that I didn’t need Frank at all. I slept well and didn’t remember any  dreams.

The next morning I got ready to go shopping. I went downtown with little magic riding on my shoulder and Anu gliding along next to me.   There were several stores that had lots of baby things.  $300 bought a lot in those days.  I went all out too!  Since I knew it was going to be a girl, I bought everything in pink and yellow and white just to lighten it up. I bought nighties, booties, bottles, sweaters, diapers, cloth and pampers.  A beautiful little pink dress that said mommies angel. I got most everything I needed and had some money left over.

I managed to get it all home in spite of Magic trying to help me carry the bags and ending up hanging off the packages and  sitting on my head looking at me upside down. I’m sure people thought I’d gone barmy, laughing and looking out cross eyed.  Anu slinking around and around me trying to grab Magic.  Some how, in spite of my helpers, I managed to ride the El to the right stop and walk home with out getting run over in the streets.

Checking my mail box I found a letter from the state. I nervously managed to slep it all upstairs, open my door and drop all the packages on the table.  I got a cold drink out of the fridge and sat down with my letter.   I finally opened it after staring at it for at least five minutes.    I started reading and almost fell out of my chair with relief. I had been approved for a medical card and care, food stamps and cash assistance.

A case worker would be paying me a home visit in the next month to determine how much assistance I would actually receive. I knew as I got on, I would have a problem carrying trays and such at the restaurant.  My boss said I could still work there, just sitting at the cash register taking payment. I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to do that.

My next visit to the doctor showed I had high blood pressure. He said  it was common among pregnant women. I had a sonar gram to check on the baby. They press an instrument on your belly and move it around and it shows a picture of the baby on a screen.  Dr. wouldn’t tell me if my baby was a boy or girl. I told the Dr. that I knew my baby was a girl.  He gave me a strange look, but I’m sure he thought I was just guessing.

I was feeling pretty good.  Around about my fourth month, the morning sickness finally stopped. Yay!  Coffee time!   I sure had missed my coffee, but it just wouldn’t stay down.  I had money left over from what Frank Sr. gave me and I went to the local stores and bought a couple of maternity tops and pants.  I was starting to show.  I was so excited!

The day finally arrived for the case workers visit. I was so nervous that I cleaned the apartment 5 or 6 times. Agnes, Isis, and Nikki promised to stay under the bed and I put both litter boxes under the bed too. I didn’t know if it was o.k to have pets.  just to be safe.

Finally, there was a knock on the door, and I opened it to a young beautiful woman who was very pregnant. Probably 6 months or more.  I invited her in and offered her coffee,  tea or lemonade. She accepted a glass of lemonade and we sat at the table. She opened the briefcase she carried and brought a large sheaf of papers out. She said that was my case.  I gave her the papers the doctor gave me for her. He said I should stop working at least by the time I was 6 months along because of the nature of my job, and the high blood pressure. Once she was rested from the stairs we toured the apartment.

My apartment consisted of a small kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom with a shower only. I didn’t have much, but what I had was clean and neat.  We went back into the kitchen and she took out a calculator and some papers. When she finished totaling everything up she told me that I would be receiving an amount every month to cover my rent and utilities. The medical card would take care of all my medical and the babies too. That included  dental, eye exams and glasses also.  Then she told me they would give me a stipend to help me buy baby clothes, a crib, and what ever I needed for the baby.

She left an envelope with food stamps in it for me and told me to get a lock put on my mail box, so the check and stamps would not be stolen. She was very kind. Her name  was April Snow and I heard she gave birth to a little girl and named her Anna Maria.

There are a lot of harsh case workers in the welfare system, but they have to put up with huge case loads, people trying to defraud the system, and low pay. I was lucky I had only good experiences. I was kind of torn about telling her about Frank Sr. giving me that money, but Anu pointed out that I might lose all benefits if I did and I would need them.

I was kind of surprised that it went so well, but at least I could breathe easier now.  Later on there was a knock on the door. I opened it, and there was Frank again. I asked what the heck he wanted. He already told me twice he didn’t want to be a father. This was becoming redundant.  He told me he had been having dreams about a little girl with long blonde hair and blue eyes and she asks him why he didn’t want to be her father and tears ran down her cheeks.

I told him that little girl is our baby. He asked me to move downstairs with him.  “Why do you want me to move in with you, to chase away your guilty dreams?”  He said no and I could even have my own bedroom. Ah, yes!  A business deal!  No thanks buddy!!

What’s best for my baby?





One Response to Is this business?

  1. Carole Cameron-Johnesse says:

    What an exciting time in your life Pat….even if Frank WAS A JERK!! So glad that grandad was so supportive though and that you had good experiences with the Welfare office….as we both know what a hassle that can be! You had a great caseworker it sounds like…about time you caught a few breaks! Looking forward to next time!! HUGS!

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