All the men worked in the States, and the women left their children with babysitters or the eldest daughters.
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My mom was having babies as a teenager with an old man, living on beans and eggs. My younger sister Meri had hydrocephalus, a condition where fluid accumulates in the brain, typically in young children, that can cause brain damage, and my older sister Audrey was never officially diagnosed with autism, but the women who help take care of her now believe she has it.
But, yes—my family thinks my brother Luke [who is mentally disabled] may have been born with malnutrition.
Unfortunately the religion became more important to her than other things, and we all paid the price.
Anna: Reading Ruth’s book was kind of like reading my own story. There were times, like Ruth experienced, when my mother would be gone for days, if not weeks, and we were left in the care of older siblings. Ruth mentions mush in her book, and mush was part of my childhood as well.
Ruth: I’ve been envious of other people who have strong relationships with their fathers, absolutely, but honestly, growing up, I didn’t know what I was missing.