Eighteen

In 1973 I went through something that utterly changed my life and ultimately tilted the scales for me in favor of going to California. It’s not easy to talk about, and maybe such a public forum isn’t the place for it…but there you go.

In 1973 I was in my senior year of high school, anxious to get out and begin my creative career. What that meant at the time, I wasn’t exactly sure but it had something to do with writing and music. Aside from math, everything was fine at school and, believe it or not, this ugly duckling actually got a serious boyfriend.

A bunch of us students from Folk Club and chorus got together in the music room one afternoon and formed a band called “Fully Cooked Meatloaf.” Why? Because that’s what was on the lunch menu that day, naturally.

Future boyfriend decided he’d play drums, his present paramour played jazz fiddle, one of my bunch played piano and me and another played guitars. When not strumming strings, I was strutting my stuff as lead vocals a la Janis Joplin/Bessie Smith…even getting up on the piano and rolling around.

I had no shame.

We didn’t play much for the student body, but we had a lot of fun. And gradually, as chemistry would have it, I hit it off with our drummer. We began seeing one another on the sly. Well, one thing led to another and an other and another and whammo! I got pregnant.

In 1973 things were still pretty backwards in my neck of the woods. What neighbors thought carried a lot of weight, and being pregnant was a weight that was hard to hide. I wanted to keep my baby so didn’t tell anyone other than the father of course. I was hoping to get through graduation and out on my own before my accelerating maternal figure presented itself.

The baby’s father was supportive throughout. Poor thing, he was in his Junior year, hoping for college. He went and got a job after school and together we began considering our next move.
In the meantime there was my prom and graduation to deal with.

I was a nervous wreck! Morning sickness, heartburn, all the usual pregnancy pleasantries…they were all mine. But I hid them well, thanks in part to my mom taking on part time work and also to the fashion industry who chose that moment to push the “smock” look….this made everyone look pregnant! Talk about luck! A few years earlier, I’d have been outed by Twiggy’s “half starved teen” look.

Well, to make a long story short, we tried to make it work. I got a job after graduation at a factory and together we saved up

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