Ramblin’ Rose lost her children. No one told her she could be a good mother. No one told her she could be a good wife. No one told her its O.K. to just want to be a mom and nothing else. No one told her it was O.K. to not be a perfect mom. No one told her; her children would love her no matter. She just didn’t know these things. When the minister’s sister offered to adopt her son, she said ‘no.’ This began a spiral of events that resulted in Rose’s children being kidnaped and taken from her by the state of Alabama. After a life time of being told all she would ever be was fat, dumb and happy she didn’t believe she had the mental, emotional, social, financial, or spiritual resources to fight the minister, the state or her own life time of emotional conditioning.
This is a true story told by one person. If your recognize yourself in this story I would love to hear from you. Your side of this story may reflect a different truth than the one that was told to me.
Ramblin’ Rose worked in an administrative position in the transportation department of the U.S. Army at Ft. Benning, Alabama. The year was 1986. She had a good employment history with the army and finding a job to support herself and her children would have been challenging but not impossible. But her car broke down and as many of us know when one catastrophe hits it can seem like another one is about to follow. Not having a car and the means to fix it put Rose in a bit of a pickle. She wouldn’t have easy transportation to take her young children to a baby-sitter while she could look for work.
She trusted her babysitters. She trusted them because they belonged to the same church that she was a member of. She trusted her army sergeant. He drove her to the different agencies she had to go to in order to get her discharge papers signed. So when the phone call came from the babysitter announcing that her children had been taken the only thing Rose could do was go into mental shock. Her babies Helen, almost three years old and Timothy, just barely six months, had been taken from the babysitter’s house.
Rose tells her story, “My sergeant could see that I was upset and he asked me what was wrong. So I told him somebody has taken my children and I don’t know where they are. He told me to calm down though I was not hysterical.”
After talking with the babysitter she believed the minister had taken her children. Some of the people in the office were members of the church. They suggested she go to the base Chaplain. Somebody spoke up and advised her to talk with her First Sergeant.
After listening to her story First Sergeant Connor told her to call the Russell County sheriff and have a warrant sworn out for kidnaping. “Well,” Rose says, “That is all great and fine but I didn’t know where my children were or who had taken them.” But she had a pretty good idea. The same sergeant that drove her to get her discharge papers offered to drive her to the sheriff’s office.
Rose didn’t want to go to the sheriff without first talking with the babysitter. She went first to the babysitters mother’s resident. She trusted this woman and when Rose started to tell her what was going on the woman interrupted and said, “I know what’s going on. I know that somebody has taken your children because I am one of the people who took your children.” She wanted Rose to come in so that she could explain to her why these church people took the children.
Rose was firm and her resolve to go to the sheriffs was thickening. She told her “I don’t know what to say to you. I just know what I have to do.” She left the mother’s residence and headed for the babysitters trailer. When she knocked on the door there was no answer. She went next door and found the babysitter sitting on the couch. “She seemed scared to death that I might come in and beat the fool out of her. Which I didn’t do. I had no intention of it. I said, ‘did your mother call?’ She shook her head yes.
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