While we lived in our humble little 1920's bungalow in Glendale, my mother ruptured a disk in her back. Back in the late 60's surgery was not nearly so slick and so she ended up in the hospital for several months.
I had been sent to Camp Fire Girl camp for two weeks. I recall being very homesick and keeping my teddybear close, regardless of how the other girls teased me. When I came home on the bus I was eager to see my mommy again, but I was met by my Aunt Anna instead. She told me what happened to my mom and how she was in the hospital.
Each of us girls was given of choice of where we could go while she was in the hospital. We could stay with my father, who was now living in California again; we could stay with my Grandparents or we could stay with my Aunt Anna who lived across the street.
I wanted to live somewhere that allowed me to see my mother. I think I was really afraid she would die or she would not come back. My Aunt was the only one who lived close enough to the hospital to make this possible, since my father and grandparents lived several hours away. So I picked my Aunt's house.
My Aunt is married to my uncle Morton. I have always found him a very odd and strange person. One of those people that say a lot of things that seem to mean something only to them. He is originally from Cuba, so perhaps it is just a cultural/language thing, but I think it is more than that.
I had a problem at this time with still wetting my bed. They later found out I was born with a birth defect that caused this problem and the problem was corrected. But at this time, it still happened and as a little girl it was deeply humiliating. I remember each morning at breakfast my Uncle would say, "So Janie, were you a fishie last night?" It was his way of trying to humiliate me into stopping. I would run and hide and cry when he did this.
It was miserable at Auntie's house. It was alien and not home. She had a son a year younger than me who delighted in hiding and shooting rubber bands at me; I tried to avoid him at all costs. Too much had changed too fast. I craved security and stability. I was afraid my mom would die and no one would tell me.
My sister went and stayed with my father. They went up to Yosemite while Sara was with them. She came back with stories of huge trees and how she learned to waterski.
Bessie went with to be with my Grandparents. The first of several times in her childhood when she would spend long periods of time with them.
Auntie took me to see mom. They had her in traction in this bed that was built into a giant circular frame so they could turn her 360 degree.
Eventually my mom did come home. For a long time she was only allowed to lay down or stand. I remember her eating Thanksgiving dinner with her plate on the fireplace mantel, so she could stand up.
Once again things fell back into place and felt much safer. If mommy was there, things would be all right.