Therese Gramercy . . . the girl named Trees

World Upside Down


In another country, across a pond, more than one hundred years ago, two people fell in love. The girl's family did not like this though, and they immigrated to this country without that young man ever knowing where his true love had gone. It was lucky for him though, that the Universe has a way of cycling things back around when they are meant to be. He immigrated to New York. After some time there, by mere chance, or so it would seem, he ran into someone he used to know in the old country. This person held a special ember of knowledge that would change his destiny. He knew where that young man's true love had been taken. That young man wasted no time finding his way to Detroit to find her, and they ran away together.

Eventually, the girl's mother came to visit them on the West Coast, where they were raising their three children. She counted back the days from their first child's birthday. That conception predated their marriage. Who knows what words were exchanged between these two, but the girl's mom could not let it be, and the form that this fight with the past took was unusually cruel, for the brunt of it was to be suffered by that first born child, the love child.

When her mom would visit, she would take the other two children out for treats, or to a movie, or to do whatever grandmothers like to do with their grandchildren. But the oldest child was always left behind, and she did not understand why her grandmother would never let her go along with her younger siblings. She was saddened, shunned and ashamed, and she had no idea what she had done that was so bad that her grandmother treated her that way.

What good did this do? Why make a woman pay for her young indiscretion by tormenting an innocent child? Should a child ever be used as a pawn to cause someone else pain, to “make they pay”? How does a child learn to cope with such a senseless act of cruelty? How does it change that child's future? Would they feel good enough about themselves to have a bright future? Or would it turn them the other way? Dear, dear, dear.

That child was never told why any of that happened or about her birth circumstances. That is, until her mom was dying and unburdened her soul. How do I know about all of this? That dear child was my mom. For some years I had known the part about her being a love child. She told me at some point, and when she did, it caused me to flash back to my early years and how I loved the song of that same name by Diana Ross, and how many times I sang along with it on the radio, without an inkling of the deeper level to which that song directly related to me. I wondered how many of those times my mom might have heard my singing and what discomfort it may have caused her. If it ever did, she kept it to herself. Perhaps it even soothed her to hear me sing it with such sweet passion and inherent understanding. But it was not until the last year of her life that she ever told me about how she had been treated by her grandmother. My sweet mom, scarred for life, made to feel less than truly lovable. And why? For something not of her own doing, for simply for being a child who had been conceived by love unsanctioned.

Recently, I was given the “gift” of knowing what it is like to feel such scorn. But in my case, at least I was an adult and I had been condemned for my own actions, not those of another. Even so, that person had belittled me out of pure cruelty, again, another soul who just could not let the past go. You must be wondering, why would I call such heartless treatment a gift? Because it was. For in it, I could feel my mother's pain, how it had been for her, and I understood a bit of what she had endured. Through it, I found a new way for us to bond yet again as mother and child, now as sisters who had experienced senseless hostility. That realization resonated with my soul and renewed my closeness with my mom. This new way to feel my mom, by my side once again to comfort me as was always her way, was all the more important to me now, for not so very long ago, she had moved along to “the Other Side”.