A young woman comes to visit her beloved grandmother and finds her gone. Then she discovers the terrible truth and decides to make things right.
When Bonnie Radcliff’s mother was sixteen, she fell pregnant. Luckily for Ellen Radcliff, her mother was an understanding and supportive woman, and she welcomed her grandchild with joy.
Mrs. Radcliff took on the care of the tiny Bonnie so her daughter could finish high school, go to prom, and have a normal life for a teenager. But instead of being grateful to her mother, Ellen was arrogant and cared nothing for her daughter.
Mrs. Radcliff watched sadly as her daughter became a party girl, who cared only for luxury and fashion, nothing for her mother, and even less for her infant daughter.
At the age of 49, Mrs.Radcliff became Bonnie’s mother in all but name. It was Mrs. Radcliff who took Bonnie to the park, arranged play dates, bought her a puppy, and took her to her first day of school — and every other day too.
It was Mrs. Radcliff who went to the school plays and Bonnie’s piano recitals, and listened with pride as her grandaughter’s teachers told her how exceptional Bonnie was — a math genius, they said.
And so, since her mother was a distant figure who walked in and out of her life in tall spiked heels with the man who was in her life for the moment, it was Mrs. Radcliff and not Ellen who occupied the ‘mom’ shaped space in Bonnie’s heart.
Being a mother is about more than just giving birth — it’s unconditional love and dedication.
Those were wonderful years for Mrs.Radcliff and Bonnie, who grew into a beautiful girl with a loving, generous heart, but soon Bonnie was in her senior year at high school, and they knew that they would soon have to part.
Bonnie was offered a full scholarship at a very prestigious Ivy League school and went off to study with her grandmother’s proud but tearful blessing. Bonnie was so brilliant that by the time she left she already had her pick of job offers.
She accepted a position in a New York company, with a fabulous starting salary. Unfortunately, the job was also far from her home in Houston, Texas, and her beloved grandmother.
It was when Bonnie got her first promotion that her mother became very interested in her well-being. Ellen started calling Bonnie every week, which Bonnie found odd until Ellen revealed the reason for her interest.
“Sweetie,” said Ellen, “I’m going through a bit of a dry spell — I’m between jobs — and I wondered if you could help your mom out? $1000 to tide me over?”
Bonnie sent Ellen the money, and to avoid further calls asking for money, she started sending a monthly allowance — a very generous one — for her mother and grandmother.
Mrs.Radcliff was shocked and called Bonnie immediately. “Honey,” she said, “I have my pension, we don’t need your money!”
“Look, gran,” Bonnie said firmly. “I know mom’s moved back in and she has expensive tastes, so all I want to do is make sure you don’t have money worries. And don’t worry! I can afford it!”
Over the next three years, Bonnie visited her grandmother as often as she could, and saw her mother just as often. Ellen, who had once been so beautiful, was looking older than her years, with a sour look of disappointment disfiguring her face.
On those occasions, Bonnie took her granny out and avoided her mother and her whining pleas for more money as much as she could. Bonnie had asked her grandmother to move to New York with her, but Mrs.Radcliff refused.
“Oh Bonnie,” she said sadly. “My beautiful girl, I wish I could, but you’ve seen your mother. She needs me. Her life is a shambles and she has nowhere to go but here…”
Bonnie understood her grandmother, but she sometimes wondered if Ellen was as kindly disposed towards her own mother.
Six months after that particular conversation, Bonnie called her grandmother as she always did at the end of each day. To her surprise, the phone rang and rang, but Mrs. Radcliff didn’t answer. Worried, Bonnie called again several more times that night and the next morning. Then she called the local precinct in Texas and asked for a welfare check on her grandmother’s address.
When the police told her there was no response and that the house appeared to be empty, Bonnie boarded the next plane to Houston. The house was indeed empty, and when she checked her grandmother’s wardrobes, her clothes were gone.
There was no sign of Ellen either, so Bonnie picked up the phone and started calling her grandmother’s friends, but no one had heard from her. Next, Bonnie called the local hospitals, but there was no record of Mrs.Radcliff being there.
A tearful Bonnie was about to call the morgue when she heard the front door open and Ellen walked in. “Mom!” cried Bonnie. “Where have you been? Where’s gran?”
“I’ve been celebrating if you must know,” said Ellen, throwing her handbag onto the couch. “And what are YOU doing here?”
“I’ve been trying to call granny, and she didn’t answer, so I was very worried. Where is she?” asked Bonnie.
“Oh, your dear granny! All you care about is your dear granny!” said Ellen spitefully. “Well, she’s where she belongs — in an old age home!”
“What?” gasped Bonnie. “What have you done?”
“What I had to do. She was starting to get sickly, and I’m still a young woman, I have a life to live!” said Ellen. “So I put her in Whispering Pines Nursing Home!”
As soon as she heard that, Bonnie was out the door and rushing to the nursing home. “Gran!” she cried. ” Oh gran, I’m so sorry, I’m taking you home with me!”
“Oh Bonnie,” said the tearful Mrs.Radcliff. “She took my phone, and I couldn’t remember your number to call you!”
“It’s OK, gran,” said Bonnie gently. “It’s all going to be OK now.”
Bonnie took Mrs.Radcliff home with her to her lovely New York brownstone and the two settled in happily together.
The one thing Bonnie did immediately was cut off the very generous allowance she had been giving her mother, and Ellen wasn’t happy about it. The next day, Bonnie received an unpleasant phone call.
“How could you? Do you want me to starve?” Ellen screamed.
“You told me yourself that you are a young woman, mother,” said Bonnie coldly, “Get a job!”
“So you’ll help that old hag, but you won’t help your own mother?” screeched Ellen enraged.
“That’s right. I won’t help my own mother — I’ll help the wonderful woman who stepped up and loved me and did your job,” said Bonnie and hung up the phone.
Mrs. Radcliff had her house put in Ellen’s name and shortly after that, she sold it, took the money, and vanished. Neither Bonnie nor Mrs. Radcliff ever heard from Ellen again.
What can we learn from this story?
Being a mother is about more than just giving birth — it’s unconditional love and dedication. Ellen simply gave birth to Bonnie, she was never there for the skinned knees, or the happy discoveries — Mrs. Radcliff was.
Cruelty will always reap its own reward. Ellen thought she could put her mother away and continue to live off her daughter but she had a nasty surprise.
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