Monday, December 05, 2005

The Maternity Ward (Foolish me! I thought it was a classroom in a public school)

“There must be something in the water,” Sammi said in response to my question.

“I don’t think it’s in the water, sweetie.”

“My daddy was mad as hell at me. He acted like he loved me or something.”

Sammi is the fourth 15-year-old to become pregnant this school year. The year is not half over. I assume sex education in the home or the school is not going as planned. The first to announce the blessed event was Angelina. One week to the day of her happy proclamation the father of the child was shot dead during a drug deal gone bad. Bad for him, but I’m unsure if it was bad for mother and baby. The following month Gina was proudly traversing the campus telling anyone that would listen about her unborn child.

“I really want to be a mama! I love dolls. I hope it’s a boy.”

I looked at this wanna-be “Barbie” well on her way to giving birth to a real world Ken and asked her, “You realize babies grow for at least eighteen years unlike a doll?”

“Of course I do. Don’t be silly. Anyway, I love dressing dolls and I’m going to dress my little boy so cute.”

My sarcasm and feeble attempt with a lesson was lost on her. The fourth to announce the impending joy was Christy. She is the longtime girlfriend of Roosevelt. This announcement did not surprise me. For two years on a weekly basis she stated over lunch “I’m going to have Roosevelt’s baby that way I can keep him.” Having failed with her master plan of bringing him food, lots of food each morning, with the goal of fattening him to the point that no other girl would want him she then decided to fatten herself instead.

Roosevelt could always find female companionship, some even willing to buy him meals. On Christy’s surface this did not seem to bother her. Her mother had become pregnant at fifteen, followed two weeks later by a car accident. Mom was confined to a wheelchair there after. Christy’s father had not been seen sense her day of birth. I believe I saw her mother outside of their home once, but Christy assured me I was mistaken. I hoped history would not repeat itself.

“Sammi, your father does love you. That could be why he is so angry,” I told her returning from my thoughts of the other girls.

“No. He’s mad at me. Just like he gets when I don’t come home at night. My mom doesn’t care how late I stay out, so why should he?”

My excellent powers of deduction, developed from watching old Sherlock Holmes movies, told me I could have stumbled upon the cause for her pregnancy. Her boyfriend, Duke, is a mere 24-years-old. Mom and dad had only stepped up to complain about this age difference, when perhaps they should have reined in their 15-year-old daughter. Sammi’s mother tried for several years to be her daughter’s best friend instead of her parent. Now she gets another chance to raised a child with better results I hope.

“How’s Duke feeling about you being pregnant?”

“I think he’s happy about it. He told me he’s going back to Ohio this weekend.”


“He hates his job right now and he’s going to look for another one.”

“Where’s he work?

“Huh, I can’t remember the name of the place.”

“Where is the place?”

“Don’t know.”

“What does he do?”

“He never told me.”

“Why doesn’t he look for work around here?”

“More jobs in Ohio.”

I realized she knew very little about Duke. My hunch is the one thing she surely didn't know was that he will not be returning from Ohio. I wondered if he’d take Roosevelt with him to search for work. Of course, Christy only had bad luck and Roosevelt leaving town could only be classified as good luck.

The other pregnant girls settled in around my large classroom table during first lunch. They had gravitated to meeting in my classroom on a daily basis. I’ve taken to calling the first of three lunches scheduled for the school as The Maternity Ward. The girls all think it’s cute. I’ve tried to recall which college class, designed to mold me into a liberal special education teacher, addressed this situation. The one thing they have accomplished is the taming of the guys that once-upon-a-time dominated my classroom. Tamed some and ran others away. Morning sickness, weight gain, stretch marks, baby food, sex, and any other baby discussions sure cramped the style of my hardened “gangstas”.

Oh yes, discussions about cramps weren’t appreciated by the “gangstas” either.