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article imageOp/Ed: The life of a Prostitute and the effect on her and her family

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Jul 19, 2007 in Lifestyle
This is the story of a woman who loved her children. She was forced into being what the people called the "town's whore" in order to provide for her children. Did she want to, of course not, but she did what was needed to care for her children.
This woman was born in the late 1800's. Lets call her Mary. She lived in a small coal mining town in one of the southern states in the U.S.
Her husband was a coal miner as were her sons when they were old enough to work in the mines. Mary had five sons and two daughters. When she was pregnant for the seventh child, a girl, her husband died. This was in 1914.
Now how was a woman to support seven children with one being an infant.
She went to work in a small restaurant as a waitress. Her sons would help as much as they could. The younger children would walk along the railroad tracks and pick up coal that fell off the trains to help provide heat for the family during the cold months.
The restaurant would help as much as they could by giving her food to take home to feed the children.
It was still impossible to take care of the children so she turned to prostitution. She did not want to but that was the only way that she was able to get money for her children.
Let's say the youngest daughter's name was Rose.
Her side of the story was one of shame and being looked down upon by the people of the town.
When the other girls would shun her and whisper behind her back she was hurt and angry. She wanted to tell these girls that it was their dads, the supposed pillars of the town, who were using her mother's services.
When Rose was in her early teens a kind hearted man gave her mother enough money to get out of the town and to move to Michigan. There was money sent to her until she could take care of herself and Rose.
When Rose was old enough she got a job taking care of someones children.
When I tried to get more information from Rose when she was in her late 70's and early 80's she would start shaking and crying uncontrollably.
I have wondered if she also was used by some of these men from her reaction. She would call her mother "my little bitty mother" and I could tell the deep hurt that she still felt.
I recently talked to Rose's oldest daughter and she said that she often wondered the same thing I did if Rose was used by these men.
Rose's oldest daughter is my sister and Rose who died on January 2, 2003 was my Mother.
Mary was my grandmother. She died around 1939.
More about Mother, Prostitute, Shame
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