“When I was 17, I was forced to let go of my newborn baby and was told to go home and pretend to never happen.” It’s unlikely. Twenty-four years later, I found my daughter and our reunion was broadcast at The Oprah Winfrey Show. This is my adult memoir about what happened 24 years after losing her and the power of soul music that led me. – Selimah Nemoy
Book an excerpt
Los Angeles, 1967
For what it’s worth
I paid a lot of money for the ultimate price for committing an unforgivable sin. After five months of humiliating imprisonment, with a ballpoint pen stroke, I agreed to the inherited life imprisonment. I was walking alone from there.
The early morning fog met me at the landing outside, and the scent of emerging flowers surprised me at the alley weed Genisteae. I wondered if it was a sign of my freedom or a mourning for my loss. His father slackened his shoulders with resignation and relief, and first carried his suitcase to the car. So her mother turned her eyes forward, but she wasn’t looking at anything. She was waiting inside with her door locked.
I looked back at the horrifying institutions that had been released. Behind the window, like dark blame, there were generations of secrets and shame. There, a lustful and selfish man was imprisoned by an evil old witch who was born with ugly gray hair and was never loved by a man for a lifetime. ..
A dirty Chihuahua screamed and barked across the street behind the wire mesh. Finally, I went down the wide concrete staircase of the Florence Critenton Home for unmarried mothers, a relic of the history of the last century, where teenage girls like me lived. He was banished for falling in love.
In the middle of the stairs, I heard someone calling my name. The director forgot to say goodbye to me. It is a tired and false word of wisdom that an unimaginable old man gives to a young man like tools, money and the Bible. Standing on the stairs above me, she put a lizard-like leg on my shoulder.
“Dear, you are only 17 years old. Your life is in front of you. We have taken care of everything.”
I held my breath, hit her, and was urged to see my old dead feet rolling down the stairs.
And like everyone else who has damaged me so far, she poured into the perm seal.
“Go home and pretend that it never happened.”
About the author: Selima Nemoi Storyteller, journalist, and author of SINCE I LOST MY BABY: A MEMOIR OF TEMPTATIONS, TROUBLE & TRUTH (OG Press, June 2020). Born in Los Angeles, her era was shaped by soul music in the 1960s and the turbulent multiculturalism of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area in the 1970s.
Serima worked for the White House Press Corps (President Bill Clinton) in 1994 and was the English editor of both Italian-American and Japanese-American newspapers. Her play “THE DADDIES” was performed at the Briel Clay Theater in Western Addition, San Francisco, and her short story “GOOD BYE” won first place at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. Find out more at selimahnemoy.com