About the Book
In the wake of the discriminating Save Our Children campaign of the seventies, Lor’s ex-husband threatens to snatch their daughter Andy out of her life. Under the veil of fake names, mother and daughter are forced to go on the run for five years.
Their journey takes them to upstate New York where Lor is bolstered by a new circle of friends, a spunky and alluring librarian Jen, and the sweet taste of freedom. But Andy’s father finally tracks them down. In fear of losing Andy forever, Lor must find the courage to fight to keep her child and break away from the stifling world of her past.
In the Media
“The Birth of Kid” by Doreen Perrine, Women and Words
LOR TUCKED THE five year old under her favorite blanket. Andy had picked out the blankie with its balloon patterns because it felt like being covered with a birthday party. The terrier named Shadow because of the way he followed her, lay curled on the bed.
Lor, unable to meet her daughter’s big hazel eyes, studied the spirals on the rug. “Andrea,” this was serious enough for her full name, “Mommy is going away . . . forever. I’ll never see Ed . . . your father again.” She didn’t add “you.”
One day, she and Andy might meet in an awkward encounter of excuses and choked out apologies. I never wanted to leave you.
Andy paused a moment. “Can we bring the dog?” She had no other questions, no mention of her father.
Lor had sensed how she put up with his off-and-on presence. His princess rarely played with the dolls and disliked the frilly dresses he lavished on her. She favored the plain jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers of Lor’s dress. Still, he was her father.
“Sweetheart,” Lor cupped her small face in her hands, “I’m not coming back—ever.”
Andy tilted her head and her honey brown hair folded along her shoulder. “I’m coming too.” She flung off the blanket and sat up.
“I can’t take you with me.” Lor’s tear dripped onto the bull’s eye-like center of the rug. “My life . . .” She hesitated to paint a detailed picture of why she needed to go. “Your daddy can give you more than I ever can.”
Doubt twisted like a tornado in Lor’s brain. In 1978 in North Florida, amidst the hoopla of “Save Our Children,” her ex-husband was sure to win full custody. No doubt. And Lor wouldn’t pit their child against him in a legal tug-of-war.
Andy would have her cherished dog, toys, and a yard to play in. Her father would probably remarry and she might have stepsiblings. Ed had never spent much time with Andrea, but his future wife might.
Another child might have cried or even kicked up a tantrum. Andy wasn’t another child and even Lor could just about tell if she was sad or scared. “Unique,” she’d corrected when Ed had called her a weird kid. Andy hadn’t inherited her pretty looks from Lor, but the child’s pluck was hers. Weird kid. Weird mother too.
“Take me with you.” It wasn’t a plea.
Lor heaved a sigh that lingered with her steps out of the back room. She gripped the handle of her clunky suitcase, the red one she’d left Kansas with seven years—and another lifetime—before. Andy’s feet pattered on the shag carpet as they stepped past Ed, who snored with wheezy grunts on the couch.
With tears streaming down her face, Lor embraced Andy, and then opened the trailer door. Is this rebirth, my child being ripped from my gut—again? She shuffled like a lost soul down the steps, thinking of the story of Solomon she’d learned as a kid. Better to give up the girl, than to have her torn between her parents. One half for the father. One for the mother.
The sky was spangled with glittery stars and voices from a neighbor’s TV floated across the trailer park. Andy stood on the threshold, her white nightgown shimmering below the door lamp. The ruffles along the nightgown’s hem flitted in the autumn breeze. She pressed her light fingers over the railing and wavered with drowsy motion. Lor stared up at the glowing girl. Odd angel.
“Go back inside before you catch a chill.” Her voice split the nighttime air.
“You waited for me.” A smile played in the corners of Andy’s mouth.
Lor’s body quaked and she let the suitcase drop onto the sandy path. The seams of her world were shredding, stitch by stitch, in her child’s big eyes. If it’s selfish to take her, isn’t it selfish to leave?
Even at twenty-four, Lor had lived through enough to see. Her bond with Andy was the closest she had ever known—even with her loving aunt. Leaving would sever that bond, maybe for her daughter’s childhood. Maybe forever.