Along with sorting through your old mementos and papers come a few jolts and surprises. My Mom found this at my Grandmother's house in her papers and knowing I was doing this project sent it to me.

The year was 1978. I was in Chicago being trained by IBM. I needed to pass the three month training program to become a Customer Engineer (qualified to fix their computer equipment). My mother worked so my 63 year old grandmother took my 6 year old first grader in for three months. I was living with my Ex, Ronnie. I sent back money for the support of my daughter to my grandmother and to Ron, who was going to the same electronics trade school that I went to at the time, so that he could maintain my apartment while I was absent.

While I was away Ron realized that he loved me, missed me and wanted to marry me. He flew out to Chicago and put a ring on my finger and proposed. I was so in love with him and at first he seemed so in love with me too. Considering you all know how this story ended the following excerpt from a letter I wrote to my grandmother & my daughter kind of breaks my heart. It was so full of hope.

My Dearest Daughter,
Ronnie just asked me to marry him and when I get home he will be living with us forever. I know you have a real Daddy in Florida but Ronnie loves you and now he will be just like a Daddy to you. He wants to be just like your real Daddy and he wants to love you and take care of you. So, I want you to love him too and then we can be a real family with a Mommy and a Baby (that's you!) and a Daddy too, just like everyone else. And maybe we can have a little brother or sister for you. Not right away but in a little awhile, maybe when Ronnie gets out of school. Will you like that? I will too. I love you my little child and I'll be home pretty soon forever but I can visit you on Easter for a couple days. It will only be two days and then I have to come back here for two and a half weeks and then I'll be home for good. OK?

Ron & I married in 79. He never once took care of us although he gave it a try when I was in college. He quit the school he was in and it took the government years of keeping his tax returns before the educational loan he took to attend was paid off. He was arrested as a coke dealer in 85 and possession and drunk driving in 87. I divorced him in 90 but continued to live with him until he totally betrayed me and left me for another woman in 2003 while I was under going cancer treatments. He hasn't called that little girl he raised since he left. He doesn't know his grandchildren and when they speak of him they call him Uncle Ronnie because they can't conceive that he could be their grandfather and so absent at the same time

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Broken Hope