Albert was born on an awful day. His daddy, Albert Sr. was not happy about his arrival into this world. That did not stop what was meant to happen not happen and a beautiful baby boy, Albert Roy Parker Jr. was born.
Albert was a crass and mean man. He had moments of rage and his wife Rena endured beatings during her pregnancy, especially being kicked in the stomach. Albert’s fits of rage were mostly due to his drinking but that wasn’t every night, according to Aunt Ruby. Some how that was supposed to make it less horrible, you know, the not drinking every night. But it was terrible. Albert’s beatings were meant to kill the baby inside Rena and on those nights he came very close. Always stopping before Rena would have to go to the hospital. He thought he was slick keeping authorities and help out of her reach.
Rena’s sisters, Ruby and Lily would check on her and help but Rena would not let them notify the police. She was afraid if they did, the next time Albert would not stop the beatings until he kicked her and the baby worse than usual. So, after a beating her sisters would come over to the house and do what they could to let her rest. They cleaned and made dinner. If it wasn’t done, well risking more of Albert’s rage was a mistake she wouldn’t make. They were always gone before Albert was home from work. Rena had to be the one to clean and cook as her laziness was not tolerated.
No one has passed down nice stories of Rena and Albert’s life together. One would think not every day was a bad day, but we will never know. This occurred in the 1940’s and everyone has long passed. This story and others linger though. The others just as horrible. But Albert’s first day of life was one of Rena’s worst days.
She went into labor at home. Ruby got there just in time to help and Lily a short time there after. Albert seemed like a healthy baby boy, despite all that had happened. He was a small, skinny fella but he looked and cried just right.
Rena got to love her baby all day. The while Ruby and Lily took care of everything else. By the time Albert Sr. got home nothing was out of place. Just baby Albert. The women were still and silent and baby Albert somehow knew it was not the time to fuss.
Albert Sr. walked though the door, he looked around the room wondering why Ruby and Lily were in his house– then he realized the time must have arrived. He knew. He wanted a drink.
He rudely bid Ruby and Lily goodby. Then as the story goes according to Rena, Albert didn’t come into the bedroom until late in the night. She had been sleeping. She woke up to Albert shaking her saying in a panic: “he is not breathing”. Rena reached over and pulled her little limp baby boy from his rocker. He hadn’t been dead long, but he was gone. She felt her heart melt out of her chest.
She held him until morning. She sang to him in whispers. She wept. Albert Sr. walked out of the bedroom about 5:00 am and told Rena he would bury the body. He would do it by the big tree she loved and he would mark it, for now with a huge stone but later he promised to have a grave marker made. He was being kind.
Rena always believed in her heart that Albert Sr. did something to make her son stop breathing. She knew he killed him. She also felt helpless, despair, fear so reporting it didn’t seem possible. Who would believe her? She felt only Ruby and Lily would, but that did not seem like enough. She was simply terrified. So, Albert Sr. took her son and buried him under the great tree. He put a large stone on top. He never did put a grave marker on it though, but Rena knew he never would.
*Story as told to me in a mostly (but not all) non-fiction format.