When you’re first dating someone—not necessarily the first date itself, but during the exploratory “get to know you” period—people ask about your childhood and family. When a guy asks me, I always hope he has a sense of humor.

My birth mother was of Amish descent. Her father drifted away from the community and opened a luncheonette outside Lancaster, PA.  My birth father was a migrant worker from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico. He picked the mushrooms, she weighed the mushrooms; it was a love story for the ages.

I was born in prison–the Muncy State Correctional Institute for Women to be exact (see photo below by Tim/USA). My birth mother had children from 2 previous marriages and proceeded to have a son and daughter with my birth father before becoming pregnant with me. One of my half-sisters ran away to our grandparent’s house to say that my birth father was forcing himself on her and that our  mother was not only aware but allowing this. The truth of what really happened is known only to those involved.


Both of my parents were charged. My father was sentenced to a prison work camp. He, according to court documents,  “escaped to Puerto Rico”. I love that – it’s written as if he escaped to Nepal or some place so far from the US that there was no possible way police could have caught him. My mother was sentenced to prison  and that is where I entered the world. I have the birth certificate with my original name, Celestina Flores. In English it means “heavenly flower” which sounds nice. I lived at Muncy for the first 6 months of my life and I am glad that I have no memories of that time period.

Because my father was Catholic, my birth mother had me baptized immediately. The pastor from the Church of the Resurrection came to baptize me. Needing a godmother for me, my birth mom began her search. I’m not sure how much effort she put into finding just the right woman for this role but from the sound of it, not much. Her choice makes me think she just wanted anyone to do it so the priest would be happy.

I spoke with my birth mom shortly before her death in the 2001. She told me that my godmother was serving time because her husband, a drinker and philanderer, had finally pushed to her tipping point one day. My godmother waited while her husband got very drunk inside a bar one night (most likely chatting up the ladies there as well) and she proceeded to ambush him outside. She castrated him and left him to bleed to death in a snow bank. Did no one notice a woman with a knife waiting in the snow outside the bar ? Or see the attack? I’m not a doctor but based on some of the tougher steaks I’ve had in my life I can’t imagine it’s that easy to castrate someone.  I’d think it would at least take a few minutes and some effort.

There is a French-Japanese movie—In the Realm of the Senses, from 1976— that told the true story of a love affair in the 1930’s between a married man and a geisha named Sada Abe (top image). They experimented sexually (this movie is considered pornographic as it is unsimulated sex) and ended up discovering that the man liked it when she would strangle him during sex. Finally she kills him in this way. Brokenhearted, the geisha severs his penis and wanders around downtown Tokyo with it inside of her purse for a few days (ugh!) until she was finally arrested on May 20, 1936. I had to see this movie for film class in college and I remember our professor telling us how the director used a real cadaver for the castration scene and it did take a few minutes. What I remember most about watching this movie was that some of the women walked out of the theater during the explicit sex scenes but no men did. However when it came to the castration scene men got up and walked out!  But I digress…

So out of all the women in the prison (already incarceration lowered the caliber of the godmother selection pool) my birth mom felt the emasculater would offer me the best possible spiritual guidance. Obviously the takeaway from this lovely birth story is that penises seemed to impact my life a lot back then – one was the reason I was born in prison, another was the reason my godmother was there. 

A single mom, cancer survivor, proud of both sides of her Scandinavian/Puerto Rican heritage, whose sense of humor, friends, and faith have helped her navigate life. None of it would mean anything without my daughter and our furry family members.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: