Two Turns into Three

“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” – Linda Wooten


1944, the year my life was forever changed.

Jim was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Station, the nation’s largest naval base. My memory of Great Lakes is of the endless cold, even during the summer. Jim lived on the base, and I shared a third floor walk-up in a large house belonging to the banker’s mother, Ms. Etherton. During this time, I also began a job as an art teacher. I taught only color, shape, and how to get perceptions, then left the subject to the student’s imaginations.

Ms. Etherton was a kind hearted person, a grandmotherly type. Many times I would arrive home to Ms. Etherton explaining that she had made too much soup, stew, or casserole, and ask if I would please share it with her as she hated to put it to waste. Ms. Etherton and I had many a conversation, including one about children. I explained to her that Jim and I would prefer to wait until we were more settled into our lives. I recall her response, like it was only yesterday. “Sex should only happen when you want children. Any other time it is a sin.”

Soon after I became pregnant. Denial soon swept in for the first few months, but I finally accepted the truth and began to plan for the arrival of a third person into our lives, while also continuing to work.

On August 6, 1945 our daughter, Patricia Leah Belt, was born in the naval hospital in Waukegan, Illinois. From there, we were no longer a family of two, but three.