Orphan Survival Stories Index |
Occasionally, a song comes on the radio that sends us back in time. That is what happened to me yesterday, while driving to the doctor's office.
It is not so much that the song took me back to my younger days, but more that it let me know what kind of a person I was becoming during my youth.
"O-Connie, O-Connie, I miss you sooooo," went the words to the song.
I could feel a tear come to my eye as the music played on. It took me back to when I was a young boy of about seventeen. I was working at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia.
While eating lunch at the hospital, I heard several people in the cafeteria talking about a young sixteen-year-old girl on the maternity ward. They laughed and talked about her as if she was a worthless human being; she was sixteen, not married and having a baby.
I rose from my seat, placed my tray in the kitchen window and then made my way up to the maternity ward. I walked behind the nurse's station and began looking through the medical charts.
"Can I help you?" asked the head nurse, as she walked around the corner.
"I am looking for some information for Doctor McCall."
"Well, if Doctor McCall wants any information on our maternity patients, he will just have to come up here himself," she stated.
I looked down at the opened chart in my hand. I saw that the patient was sixteen years old and her name was Miss Cornwell. I placed the chart back in the chart rack, walked back to the elevator and returned to my duties. Within hours, Miss Cornwell having a baby out of wedlock was all anyone could talk about.
After the changing of shifts, I went to the lab and borrowed a white lab coat. Once again, I took the elevator and made my way back to the maternity ward.
"What room is Miss Cornwell in?" I asked the nurse.
"Right across the hall," she replied, pointing to a closed door.
I walked into the room and before my eyes sat a very beautiful, young, pregnant girl.
"Who are you?" she asked.
"I have to make sure all the windows are closed," I told her, as I walked over to check the windows.
"What is your name?" she asked.
"Roger. What's yours?
I was very nervous and did not know what to say to her.
"You are really very pretty," I told her.
She turned over and covered her head so I left the room. The next day, I sent two flowers to her room with an anonymous note telling her how pretty she was. I wanted to go back to see her, but I was just too scared and nervous.
Early the next day, I heard she had her baby. Now everyone was really talking about her. I made myself walk up to her room. When I walked in, she was holding her new baby in her arms.
"Thank you for the beautiful flowers," she said.
"Flowers, I didn't send any flowers."
"Well, nobody else around her has told me that I was beautiful," she said, with a great big smile on her face.
I did not know what to say. I looked at her baby and told her that it was beautiful too, just like her. I asked if she would do me a favor and listen to the radio between seven and eight p.m., and she said she would.
After my shift ended, I walked to the radio station. I asked the D.J. if he would play a song titled "O-Connie-O", sung by the Four Seasons, a song I had heard on the radio several days before. I was seventeen then and on my own for the first time. I was playing the song for Twila, because I was going to ask her to marry me the next day. I did not want her to have to live with people laughing, talking about her having a baby and not being married.
The Disc Jockey, at the radio station played my request at exactly seven o'clock. I laid in bed all night thinking about her.
The next day, I went to her room with a bouquet of flowers in hand. Smiling as big as I could, I pushed her door open. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the room was vacant.
"Where is Twila?" I yelled at the nurse.
"She was discharged early this morning," the nurse told me.
My heart sank in my chest. A feeling of doom and loneliness swept over my entire body. I could hardly make it back to my workstation. I never saw her again after that.
Some years later, I married and I named my own daughter "Twila."
I guess we can all look back into our past and see many things we might have done that were a little crazy or maybe just a little stupid.
However, it is good to know when I look back at those days that I was a good boy with a good heart. I think that makes being a little stupid okay, sometimes.