Friday, June 22, 2018

Clint Heavenor

So -- who was Clint Heavenor?

The only person left to ask was Aunt Glad.  In 1994, she was a widow, living in McCausland, and the boys and I would often go to her house for supper.  (John worked second shift, and she was alone).
When I mentioned the name “Clint Heavenor” -- Aunt Glad knew EXACTLY who he was.

During the Depression,  it was common practice for farmers to take in orphans who worked for room and board.  Aunt Glad said Clint Heavenor was an 18-year old orphan from Peoria who briefly lived on the Soltau farm, and she remembered him well, because she had a big crush on him. 

But, at first, she was adamant that he couldn't be Glenn's father.  She said, “my mother would have told me.”

I said, “would she?  You were seven years old when Pearl married George.…did you even realize she was pregnant?”

Then, Aunt Glad got really quiet…and she recalled this one vivid memory…

Clint Heavenor gave an Easter gift to Pearl.  It was one of those elaborate sugar eggs, with little bunnies and green grass in the middle of a hollow chocolate eggshell.  Gladys had never seen anything like it, and she used to sneak into Pearl's room to look inside the egg.  Pearl caught her one day, eating the sugar bunnies -- and all hell broke loose.  Pearl was hitting her and chased her through the house…

So, if Gladys was 7 years old when that happened, Pearl would have been 16.  The Easter Egg memory puts Clint Heavenor on the farm in the Spring...and that was the summer Pearl got pregnant.
When she thought about it, Aunt Glad did come to believe Clint Heaveanor WAS Glenn’s birth father.  And it explained some things.  Why Pearl basically gave her baby to her mother for the first 6 years…The harsh way George treated Sonny…their unhappy, hostile marriage...

We have no idea whether or not Clint ever knew Pearl was pregnant.  Aunt Glad doesn’t remember when or how he came to LEAVE the Soltau farm. But, once he was gone -- it's easy to imagine that Pearl's pregnancy created quite a “situation” for this prominent family. 

Meanwhile -- another local orphan, George Little, was working on the farm as a day laborer.  And it’s likely that Pearl’s father presented him with an offer too good to refuse.  Marry my daughter and I’ll give you a farm.  We'll never know exactly how it happened.  But we do know Pearl and George got married in December and Glenn was born three months later. They set up housekeeping 2 miles down a dirt road, on a sandy piece of property with a shabby white farmhouse.
George getting the farm in exchange for marrying Pearl is conjecture, of course.  But Aunt Glad believes that's what happened.  “they were bitter and unhappy, and I never understood it.  I see now that George was punishing her every day…”

I showed the picture of Clint Heavenor to Dad, and explained what George said -- and also, what Aunt Glad told me.  I thought it was important for him to know, and I also thought it might explain a lot of the hurtful things that had happened to him over the years.  Dad got tears in his eyes.

When I asked if he wanted to look for Clint Heavenor, Dad said, “No, honey. I’ve never really had a father and I don’t need one at this point…”

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