Peggy was married when she was 18 years old. Her parents weren’t in favor of the wedding, but Peggy was in love. Hopelessly in love. He was a good man. He called her “babydoll.” She called him “love nugget.”
The two love nuggets moved to northern Alabama. He got a decent job. So did she. They were the poster children for their generation. They listened to Perry Como, drove enormous cars with big tailfins, ate congealed salads. It was a good marriage all the way. They didn’t just love each other, they truly liked each other.
The first obstacle, however, was having children. The doctor told Peggy she was barren. That’s the exact word old-time doctors used.
There weren’t any modern infertility treatments. In those days, a family doctor would merely tap his unfiltered Camel over his medical-grade ashtray and tell you that you were barren.
So Peggy planned to adopt. She was not daunted by the news about her infertility, not even remotely. She is tough. And she was not
about to pass her lifetime without holding a tiny love nugget in her arms.
Peggy would find her nugget many years later, one summer afternoon, by way of a civic women’s group meeting. She remembers the exact day it happened.
She was in a school assembly hall. She was sitting in a metal fold-up chair. These were the kinds of rusty metal folding chairs every church, civic league, and PTA once used in America.
Peggy recalls this chair with vivid clarity because when someone at the meeting told Peggy about an abandoned newborn at the local hospital who needed adopting, Peggy stood abruptly from her chair and announced, “Take me to the hospital right now.”
But when Peggy shot to her feet she heard something rip. Her skirt had become stuck in the inner workings of this folding chair, and now it was torn. It took three women to…