I gripped my children’s hands tightly as we rode the steamship from England back to America. The war was finally over.
I had become the guardian of two young children: Adam and Lydia. The children were siblings. Their parents had hidden them with some family friends before they were taken by the Nazis. There were hundreds of orphaned children all needing homes. Adam and Lydia had claimed my heart and became my children.
We settled into a small house on the coast of Connecticut. I had been hired as a doctor at a small hospital. I was thrilled for the opportunity to practice medicine as a woman for the first time in my life. I was eager to prove myself as a doctor. The other doctors at the hospital were not happy with a female doctor on the staff, but they could not deny my results. I took care of anyone who needed medical care regardless of race or gender.
In the spring of 1947, I saved the life of Jonah Green. Jonah, aged 39, was 4F which made him ineligible to serve in the war. He worked at the town’s milkman. He was small and sickly with a receding hairline and a crooked nose. Jonah was a good man with a good heart. He was quite popular in our small town.
Our story began on a Tuesday morning much like any other. I kissed Adam and Lydia goodbye, leaving them in the capable hands of Mrs. Tribble, our housekeeper. I rushed down the sidewalk to catch the trolley to the hospital. I was running late that day. I could hear Dr. Hanson’s stern voice in my head, scolding me for being late.
Jonah’s milk cart had overturned. A heavy metal barrel fell off the bed of the truck, crushing Jonah’s leg. Two men moved the barrel off Jonah’s broken leg. I had managed to stop the bleeding and rode with him to the hospital.
I stayed by his side for the next two weeks while he recovered. His leg was never the same after the accident. Jonah used a cane until the day he died.
Jonah Green was a good father to Adam and Lydia. He worked hard to make sure our family had a good life. I did love him. Jonah was a good man. I have thought about him often since Jonah passed away. Thinking about it now, Jonah deserved a better wife than me.
My medical practice was thriving. With advances in makeup and fashion, it became easier for me to hide my secret. I enjoyed working and watching Adam and Lydia grow up. I do regret the way I treated Jonah during his final years.
We had been married for five, maybe six years at the time. I had left the hospital in favor of starting my own, private practice, which took up a great deal of my free time. I did manage to carve out time for Adam and Lydia, but poor Jonah always seemed to fall by the wayside. He never complained or tried to convince me to give up the job I loved. He would spend his evenings on our front porch, deep in thought and smoking his pipe.
The women in town began to gossip. I was a wicked woman for ignoring my poor husband. I should give up medicine to take care of my husband and children. It was my Christian duty after all.
I became so caught up in the opinions of my neighbors that I failed to notice how sick my sweet Jonah had become. He died alone in our front garden.
When I was cleaning out Jonah’s possessions, I found a stack of letters buried beneath his socks. For a moment, jealousy speared through me. I hated to imagine Jonah in the arms of another woman. As I thumbed through the letters, I began to recognize the handwriting scrawled across the envelopes – Oliver.