After a Motherless Childhood, We Are Finally Getting Reunited With Our Birth Mother

Posted by Debra Carmona on 11 October 2013 | Add a Comment

32 Years of Mystery Finally Solved

Betty LukichThe day our birth mother contacted us through Facebook after 32 years since her disappearance put my brother, two sisters and I in shock. We never expected to hear from our mother again. After all this time we thought she must be dead. We had lived all our lives without a mother. So much time had passed. We had already raised our own children so we had become adapted to our lives as was without a mother and then after 32 years of mystery she reappears. Surprise! Our mother is alive and in contact with us over Facebook. It all seemed so unbelievable even surreal. It took a while for the reality to sink in. She is alive after all this time!



The four of us formed a private group on Facebook with our Mother so we could have a private conversation with just the five of us. That way we would all get to see each other’s questions and her answers saving her from having to answer the same questions to each of us individually. Not wanting to hit her with the hard questions right from the start for fear we might scare her away again. We started asking easier questions about her relationship with our father to learn more about our parent’s relationship, the short marriage, and divorce.  The four of us began learning details that we had never heard before. We were learning the other side of the story, from her point of view.

 

Phoenix Woman Believed to Be Dead For 30 Years

Reunited With Family in Maine

Story as aired on TV ABC15 Phoenix, Arizona

 

Part 2

Go Back Read Part 1

A Marriage Doomed Before It Began


It was a shotgun wedding on April 13, 1960. I was the product of an unplanned pregnancy a child conceived out of wedlock. A shotgun wedding is where the parents of the pregnant daughter forces her into marriage to the father of the child.  No courtship to speak of. No long term relationship. No money saved.  Love was not even a part of this picture. Any hopes she may have had of a dream husband and happy ever after marriage were destroyed when the two young people ages 16 and 19 were thrust into a marriage they had not planned. So my parent’s marriage was built on unstable ground doomed to failure.


Shotgun Wedding

 

Almost like clockwork each fall of their marriage my mother bore another child, by cesarean birth until her fourth child. The babies were born October 1960, October 1961, October 1962, and the final one in December 1963. She became a mother to four children even before she reached the age of twenty.  She was not able to birth babies naturally because when she was a young girl she had taken a fall from a boy’s bicycle which pushed her pelvis and spine too close together.


Betty L. Bradbury My mother only had three months between pregnancies with no one to assist her. Still in her teens my mother was expected to care for all the children, the house, the meals, and the large chicken farm all by herself. My father raised meat chickens. He housed hundres of thousand chickens in three barns which my mother had to feed and water daily year round. That meant she had to hand carry buckets of water even during cold winter months. They did not have running water in the house so all water had to be lugged by the bucketfull. She had to draw the water from a place underneath the kitchen floor that was accessed by a door. One of the chicken coops was a two story barn so that meant climbing steps while carrying a heavy bucket of water. Maine winters are not usually mild.  Imagine a pregnant woman lugging several buckets of water from the house across the yard to the chicken coops to water hundreds of chickens, treading through deep snow on a cold winters day.  She was pregnant most of that time or healing from a Cesarean operation during the three month interval between pregnancies.


Ellery D. Batchelder Sr.My father, prided himself being a "He Man" a macho man so he would not help with the children or the household duties. You would never see him changing a diaper, doing dishes, or folding laundry because that was considered “women’s work”.  According to my mother, the only time he did anything with the chickens was when it was time to take them for processing so he could count them and make sure he got paid the correct amount. In fact he did not spend much time at home but liked to go out drinking, and partying with friends when he was not working. Sometimes he would come home bragging how women were throwing themselves at him. History would repeat itself just as her mother had done, she would have to beg for money from him to meet the needs of food and things for the children. When she complained he did not give her enough money to meet their needs an argument would ensue.

 

A Desperate Attempt at Freedom

At age 18 my mother soon found herself with three children and a less than loving supportive husband who did not treat her with respect. To him she was just a slave, a housewife, a farm wife, a housekeeper, a cook, and a baby maker. My father ran a bottled gas business where he would deliver and hook up a bottle of gas to homes that was used to cook and heat homes. Some of his clients were not so prompt in paying for the gas delivered so the cash flow was inconsistent. During cold winter months my father could not refuse to deliver gas to homes for lack of payment so sometimes months would go by before he received payment for those debts. Struggling to make ends meet, my father also had a broiler business where he would go fix people’s heaters that would break down. That was more of a side job, because it was unpredictable for a steady income.


My mother was expected to manage the billing which was frustrating when people would not pay their bills and my father would let them get away with it. On top of everything else she was expected to do she had to manage all his paperwork, billing the clients, and trying to collect on the debts. At least he did the deliveries. It seemed she always got the dirty part of the job where he could be seen as the nice guy with compassion fixing a furnace or delivering fuel to keep families warm in winter while she was the dreaded debt collector. She did most of the dirty chicken farm work but he delivered the chickens for the processing to collect payment.


Betty L. BatchelderIt was in the spring of 1962 when my father was adding new clients to his bottle gas business that the two were arguing again. She was reaching a boiling point feeling like she could not take anymore of this hard life of toil, slaving for an ungrateful man who did not prove his love nor respect her but mightily used her to serve him. She informed him that she was leaving and would be taking the children with her. He became furious with her and was very decidely against her taking the children from him. She then kissed each of her children and walked out the door. He yelled at her "You will NEVER have the children!" She said it was the hardest thing she ever did, walking away leaving her babies behind. Her cousin was waiting in the driveway with a car to transport her away.


The day she had left her husband she was unaware that she was once again pregnant with her fourth child. She had moved in with her cousin in Livermore Falls but only wound up staying about a month or so. When she realised that she was pregnant she returned home hoping to work things out and give it another chance but nothing ever improved. Each baby added to her already heavy load of responsibility. She felt overworked and unappreciated so she decided she did not want to have any more children.  While she was still in the hospital after the birth of the fourth child and still under age she got her mother to sign a consent form allowing her to have her tubes tied so she would not have any more children. My father was upset with her for doing that without his knowledge.


A woman can only take so much abuse and neglect. When the youngest of the four, the baby, was about three months old Mom decided enough was enough. She had to get out, it was never going to work out. He never showed any respect for her, he never helped her with her heavy load of work but just kept piling it on, nor had he any compassion towards her plight. She was miserable and things were not going to get better. She felt bad having left the children behind once before so this time she packed up her four children and herself and moved into a small apartment near one of her sisters. After about a week she managed to aquire a job at Saint Joseph’s Hospital as a Nurse’s Aid.  Her sister babysat the four of us while she went to work. This situation only lasted about three weeks until our father discovered our location and came to take back the children from our aunt while Mom was at work. Our father has a terrible temper when he gets angry. In his fury about the children he smashed my Aunt’s automobile window. He also made a threat that he would kill our mother.

Children of Divorce

When mother came home to find that her four children had been taken from her and hearing of his threat to kill her she was devastated. Feeling defeated, depressed, and alone she went out and bought two bottles of sleeping pills and a quart of wine hoping to end her misery by suicide. She consumed all the pills and the wine which only made her very sick. They pumped out her stomach and sent her home. With no support from anyone she did not know how to fight for herself or for her children. Fearing for her life, having her children taken from her, feeling defeated, and alone not knowing where to turn for help she was left with only one recourse, to run away from it all. Falling into a deep depression she moved to Sandy Hook, Connecticut to go back to live with her mother.  

 

Divorce Document


It took my father less than two weeks from her exit to file a Complaint for Divorce.  Our father divorced his young bride of age 19.  Our mother had defied him by getting her tubes tied, resisted him by trying to leave him, tried to take the children from him so his pride was hurt. But he would get even with her in court. He would hurt her by keeping the children from her. In the divorce proceedings he claimed “cruel and abusive treatment” towards himself from her. He further claimed in the final Divorce record that he was faithful to his marriage vows but that she was not faithful to their marriage vows.  Personally I do not see how a mother of four young children so close in age would ever have the time, the inclination, the energy, or desire to seek the company of other men. She only had three months between pregnancies and part of that time was healing from a cesarean section. Nevertheless the court concluded that my father’s claims were valid so he won his case. My mother never received the court divorce order so she had no opportunity to defend her case. So, my father was able to plead his case without any contesting and the judge had no reason to doubt his testimony. The court stripped us children of a tender mother’s love at ages 4, 3, 2, and an infant of five months old by awarding custody of the four children to our father. All this was done without consenting the mother of the children. Within the same year my father wasted no time seeking out a new bride who was just fool enough to marry a man with four very young children because he needed someone to take care of the kids while he went to work. We were just property it seemed that the courts could determine our fate. For my father, we were a prize to be won for his own personal ego trip.


The Four of Us

 

Fourty-nine months, just one month over four years the troubled marriage was ended by a court order separating four very young children from a tender mother’s love. Our mother was stripped of her innocence, her childhood, her dignity, and her children. She was denied the opportunity to develop a tender, lasting relationship that happens normally between a mother and child over time.  She missed our developmental years, our school days, our romances, our weddings, and the births of our children. Nearly a lifetime had passed before we would be reunited again.


Mom's & I 1963

I had lost something very dear to me   . . .  a Mother's love.


Conintue to Part 3

Go Back Read Part 1




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