The baby’s name would be Amy, less foreign than Amelia, Marsha had explained,
but still close to Dee’s middle name. ” Who would ever name a baby Dolores Amelia
Louise?” Marsha had asked.
“My mother would.” Dee sighed, remembering her mother – so full of ambition,
hoping for drama in the nursery, a leading role as Mother. There was always a
rehearsal to go to, more important than Dee’s school events, or an opening at the
community theater. For Dee it became clear – in her mother’s life, she was an off-
stage event. The Drama Club was the one club in high school Dee never joined,
even after her mother died.
The accident had been a shock. Fourteen-year-old Dee had mourned – it seemed to
be expected. As the months went on, she realized life was easier – no rehearsal
schedule to observe, no performances requiring her applause, no one demanding
attention. She acknowledged a gap that had always been there.
Carefully holding her godchild as the priest did his stuff, Dee nodded, thinking Amy is
good, a short name, small like this tiny baby, not over-blown like my name. Standing
beside Marsha at the christening, Dee felt happy for her friend – in high school the
most popular, most likely to succeed – now a teenage mama. All through high school
Dee – unsure of herself, overweight and shy – had envied Marsha. Whatever
happened to the girl who was going to right the world’s wrongs, become a social
worker, maybe a politician? Facing university, Dee didn’t know what she wanted, but
she was sure it wasn’t what Marsha had chosen.
That summer she listened to the high-flying plans of her friends, most of them going
out of state, going steady or engaged, excited, happy. It was 1952. She was stuck at
the Manchester campus of N.H. University – no money for anything else. Dee
hugged everyone, wished them luck, promised to be there for them when they came
home for a weekend, only occasionally feeling like Cinderella waving good-by to her
sisters on their way to the ball.