“A young child’s life hangs in the balance as the story unfolds. The doctors appear to have given up and one mother will do anything to change the hands of time and turn the clock back. August 23, 1981 is one day that author Micki Peluso will never forget as her daughter’s life is in the hands of God and the doctors. Flashing back to 1959 and her impending marriage to Butch and the events that surrounded their rocky start, the author relates her own real life experiences that remind us that rocky starts, difficult choices and a true love can bind two people forever. Meeting someone even for a short time you sometimes know that you have met your soul mate. When deciding upon marriage or going to Florida with her mother and new husband, Micki and Butch decided to elope at least with her mother’s permission. Hiding the truth from his parents lasted until she graduated high school when they were finally told. But, Micki and Butch had one added piece of information that would change the dynamics of their lives, the reception she received from his parents and the unwarranted ranting of her best friend whose statements and remarks were hurtful and uncalled for. Micki was pregnant. She was married after all and in the real sense of true love she agreed to convert and take vows as a Catholic in order to be accepted into Butch’s family. Life took on many uncertain turns as the author flashes forward to 1981 and a hospital room in ICU. Although pressure to turn off the life support of her fourteen year old daughter, Noelle, and the fact that the driver of the truck that struck her down was caught, the gravity of the situation and the heartbreak far surpassed the anger and fear in Micki’s heart knowing she might lose her child. I have to admire and agree with the author in her strength, perseverance and tenacity at not allowing the doctors to turn off the life support until she was sure that nothing else could be done to bring her daughter out of her coma. The author then flashes back to when her first child is born, the frustrations she endured living with her in-laws and the love she received her sister in laws and the feeling that she needed to have a home of her own. Butch worked hard to try and support her but times were hard and things would not get any easier as the author relates the history behind the time period, racial strife, Martin Luther King, the election of President Kennedy and his assassination. As you read the stories you hear the author’s voice telling about each experience and you can feel the emotional strain at times and the laughter at others as she shares her life so brilliantly and poignantly with the reader. Memoirs are difficult to write and keeping the reader’s interest even harder. Author Micki Peluso captures the reader’s interest and heart from the prologue and throughout the entire memoir.
The whippoorwill is said to be a night hunter. It finds its prey by sight. It is most active at dawn or twilight. There are two types of these birds whose songs you can hear. Western Whip-poor-wills are slightly bigger that the eastern ones. They are distinguished only by their voices. Eastern whippoorwills sing the well known three part “Whip-poor-WEEA” that has a rising last note and accented on the first and last syllables, the western one’s song is lower, more trilled and accented on the last note. And the Whippoorwill sang is a story of sadness, triumph, glory, hope, and love as you listen to the author’s words you can hear the song of this special bird as she helps guide you each step of the way.
Six children and one husband working to support them, Micki felt as if she was alone and had little support. Children are your legacy and although she felt sad, faced more then her share of strife and obstacles, she moved forward hoping to create some stability for her family.
Did you ever feel like your life was a motion picture moving on the wide screen but feeling disconnected from what you see? Guilt hovering over her for past deeds that she felt she was paying the price for, seeing her daughter lying in a hospital room due to the negligence of another; Micki’s life seemed like a bad movie or a recurring nightmare that she would never awaken from. Punishing herself and recriminations are ways of dealing with something that was not her fault, not in her hands. Family strife, kids arguing and their stories so heartfelt, true to life, you feel a part of her family, understand her frustrations, shed tears for her sorrows and laugh at her humor. Throughout it all Butch continued to work for Benny who had a knack for getting his workers to enjoy being used and manipulated. Being pregnant many times made her situation and life not easy. From children yelling at each other to Kelly’s emergency surgery, Micki managed to keep it together with the help of family and even her mother in law. Her family dynamics changed in 1970 with the birth of her sixth child followed by the addition of a dog and a second honeymoon. With Kimberly taking over caring for her little sister, Nicole, it became apparent that some roles were being reversed. Butch hated change and throughout her stay in Easton after Nicole was born he hardly visited and the support was limited. A new house, many new friends and reverting back to her roots where she felt happy, safe and had the most fun is related in many of the stories that she shares with readers.
Author, mother, reviewer and writer, Micki Peluso imparts a memoir intertwined with real life stories, heartfelt situations written from her inner- most thoughts, hopes and desires, sharing her life with readers as no other memoir I have read ever has. When Noelle is tragically struck down by a drunk driver her whole life changes--the changes are dramatic and more than sad. Relentless in her vigil and never giving up hope, Micki remains at her daughter’s side and will not allow the hospital to discontinue life support, always praying for her daughter’s survival. Having just gone through this with my sister and knowing how hard the decision is to remove life support I admire and agree with what she did because I did the same for over a month with my sister. I refused to allow anyone in my family or the doctors to give up hope without calling as many hospitals as I could find that dealt with TBI. For her stamina and love for her daughter I move than just admire our author.
The author reflects back and forth between her life on the move, her trips, her family outings and then comes back to that room in ICU where Noelle is hanging on by a thread. Although doctors feel she won’t survive and her prayers are still not heard, the anger wells up inside of Micki and the fear of losing her daughter is real. How can He fail me and why aren’t my prayers heard? These questions are often come front and center in these situations and you wonder the one question that never gets answered WHY?
Recounting her family’s excursions, the strife, their schooling and their times apart and together, you hear the author’s voice so loud and clear as if she were reading it on an audio tape personally to the reader. And the Whippoorwill Sang is a sad story of what happened to one precious young girl as a result of the carelessness of another. Yet, out of it all the love, caring, loyalty and closeness of one family hangs true despite the hard times. How can anyone say goodbye to a child? How can you make that difficult and heartbreaking decision to let go of someone you love so much? The machines chant their own special songs, the smell of death is in the air and the choice should not be made by anyone. When the time is right it will happen naturally and not because of anyone’s decision. Noelle can hear their voices; she responds with tears at times and opens her eyes as if she wants to say something but cannot. Each family member responding in his/her own way and Micki trying to be there for them all. When the final doctor gives them not even a glimmer of hope, the family must decide what to do as Micki and Butch are always at Noelle’s bedside praying for a miracle that would never come. September 2, 1981 will be a day they will always remember. Guilt driven for not driving Noelle to the concert, made to feel as if it were her fault and a family at odds with each other and one woman at odds with herself.
A family torn yet still close and one young girl named Noelle that will always be there in their hearts, minds and spirit. September 2, 1981 was when Noelle left the physical world and entered a spiritual one. Two more births born the day she passed are blessings and presents from Noelle reminding her family she never really left. One memoir that will keep you riveted to the printed page from start to finish. One story that must be told and for those who have ever lost anyone due to the negligence, selfishness and uncaring of a drunk driver I dedicate this review to you. The laws need to be harsher when lives are lost in a senseless act of one man who showed no remorse.
And the Whippoorwill Sang: She sang her sad song but if you listen real close you might hear her singing a different song of hope and love.