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Continued from The Arrival

The next startling clue to Yry’s despair is the carbon copy of a letter that was witnessed by a notary public on February 29, 1944, two weeks after the birth of her child.

State of West Virginia
County of Cabell, To Wit:
To Whom it may concern:

Whereas, I am the mother of a female infant born February 5, 1944, being unable to provide personal care for the said child, I have agreed that it be placed in a boarding home by the Division of Child Welfare, Department of Public Assistance.

I further state that the board for the said child has been paid by me to the Division of Child Welfare who in turn will pay the boarding parents.

It is understood that the said child is placed temporarily and will be returned to me if I can make suitable plans for her.

Signed: Mrs. Allen Wilcox.

Yry’s room was paid through March and she used her Huntington library card to check out books through March. She had assumed that she could push out a baby and hand it over to adoptive parents. But life tangles intricately with love. After long hours of pain, she briefly held the child that emerged from her womb. That embrace changed her life inexorably. Previous solutions to the problem evaporated. She needed an entirely new strategy. With her baby temporarily entrusted to foster parents, Yry swallowed enormous pride and visited her parents.

Herman and Norah, waiting for her to step off the train, embraced her with joy and uncharacteristic warmth. For several days, Yry stepped gingerly around the topic uppermost in her mind. Eventually she confided to her mother, half expecting to be disowned. The response surprised her. Norah had endured her own youthful scandal. She was ecstatic at having her only child at home again, especially at a time of such need. The presence of a grandchild was an unexpected bonus which thrilled her.

Yry and Norah sat together in the living room with Herman. Choosing their words judiciously they took turns explaining the delicate situation. They expected fireworks and recriminations from this analytical and rather sanctimonious man. But he, like his wife, was delighted by the prospect of another generation springing, one-step-removed, from his loins. And to have Yry under their roof, managing the household for Norah, would solve that untenable problem that had nagged him for years—the lack of adequate household help.