Chapter Two: “Daughters’ Deceit”

Unbeknownst to my grandmother, one of Eula’s older siblings, Ada Mae Pegues-Parker (pictured below), who could not have children of her own, convinced her younger sister that she and her husband (John Lee Parker) could offer me a better life in Memphis, TN.  In 1959, while I was yet an infant, my mother lied to my grandmother and succame to my maternal aunt wishes and handed me over to her and her husband to rear as their own.

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When my grandmother found out what had transpired, she insisted that Ada and John bring me back to Byhalia for her and Eula to care for. Her daughter and son-in-law reassured her that I was only with them for a visit and not to stay. That was not the truth.

After weeks turned into months, my grandmother continued to persist in trying to get her children to respect her wishes and return her oldest grandchild to her, but they would not – they never did. This broke her heart, she would always say “Chelle, I wanted you. They stole you from me. I wish I would have been stronger and done more to get you back down there where I was.”

My mother was young and naive, she didn’t know any better, she thought (or should I say, she was coerced into thinking) she was doing the right thing. From the time I was an infant until I turned six years old, I lived with my Aunt Ada Mae and Uncle John Lee in Memphis, TN as Naomi. However, once I turned six years old, and it was time for me to start school, they legally adopted me. Hence, the name change to Yvonne Rechelle Parker. I had two mothers now, which complicated things when they were both in the same room together – but made it fun at the same time. As I got older, to distinguish which mother I was talking to at the time, I started calling them by their nicknames – ‘Boot’ and ‘Bird,’ or their first names.

After a while, Eula moved to Memphis, TN and lived nearby and visited often. There were no secrets. Everyone made sure I knew who my mother was and that I was adopted by my aunt and uncle. Being adopted into the same family kept me in touch and connected to my maternal roots. (Chapter Three: Life After Byhalia)

About Yvonne’s Life, Chapter Two: Daughters’ Deceit ~~~ Yvonne James |


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