It was not be the first time that a young girl didn't hear from her immigrant lover after he'd left for his new adventure, there were girls sending her fellow a letter every week and stopped only because they didn't receive word back for a year, it even happened to young women who were left behind being pregnant.
It happened to Helen.
Lolke had already arrived in Canada when Helen discovered that she was pregnant, which considerable changed the excitement of love she had felt before, even though it had not come unexpected. At first she was ecstatic, soon followed by bewilderment – what now?
If only she was with Lolke, now that she really needed him. How was she going to handle this? Who was she going to tell? Her friends? All they would do was talk about her. O boy would the blabbermouths talk. And gesture behind her back, but so that she could feel them gab about her. And what about her parents? What if her parents would hear about it ? And o my god, Lolke's parents. The longer she taught about the more frustrated she became, and what about the church. She cringed.
Helen - “After I had been thinking my situation over, I made up my mind not to worry too much about the situation. I remember that I really felt that what we together did on that Sunday evening was from God, and He would help me. I made up my mind to tell mother about it, she might even be happy to become a grandmother.
She was not.”
“She called me an irresponsible hussy, said that I wasn't her daughter anymore and that I would have to ask forgiveness in front of all the church people, that I could've known that the guy was no good and had never been good, not in school either. When I told her that I thought that God had approved, my mother just laughed. You use the name of God in this? You sinned against two of God's commandments – one, about honoring your father, and your mother, and the 7th commandment. She did not spell that one out, but I knew what that was anyways – Thou shalt not commit adultery! It all hit me as so many dagger-stabs and I fled to the barn, but she send one more stab my way - You could've known - his hair is red.”
“Away from her I not only cried but howled and swore to God - I will leave this damned place and never come back, so help me, just as the door opened and my father stood right before me. He had tears coming out of his eyes.
He did what he very seldom did, he hugged me, hugged me hard, and said nothing, just stood there, crying and hugging me.”
“Then he talked – 'Your mother,' he said, 'she was shocked when you said you are with child Helen, and so was I. It is not a small thing what you and Lolke did.' He searched for words.
'The both of you made a child. A child who, if everything goes well, will call you mother.'
He wrestled with words again.
'And call me Pake grandfather.' He eyes wetted again.”
“'As everything goes well,' he said after a while, 'and we shall hope and pray...'
and then I cried.
“My heit father took a kerchief out of his pocket and loudly blew his nose.
'Come, he said, let's see if your mother has some tea left.'”
“'Hello beppe grandma,' he said as we walked into the kitchen. Mother had tear-streaks over her face as she stood up saying only one word 'Tea?'
'Sure, let's celebrate,' said my dad, strolling over to mother to hug her. Mother's face got red all over, and quietly let the tears find their way down her cheeks as she sat down with us.
'It's not easy, not for me,' she said, 'not for you either Helen, with him away and all.'
Heit said 'What has happened can not be stopped, and - we may have Helen not for long with us, so let us make the best of it, and if we get a piece of cake from you, frou, that will be good enough a meal to ask a blessing over.'”
“Heit prayed more for a blessing of the seed that was laid into my womb, than for the meal, and therefore it was longer than his usual prayer.”
Still – not one word of Lolke, why . . . ?