The day Dandridge went into labor on September 2, 1943, she ignored the pains because her husband was still in Europe, though he was due home later that day. As the contractions got closer together, and the pain intensified, she finally made her way to the hospital. The birth proved a difficult one. Nevertheless, the baby, which she named Harolyn Suzanne Nicholas, seemed alright and Dorothy believed that the child would bring her and Harold closer. Sadly, that was not to be the case. Lynn, as she was called, was a happy child and the light of Dorothy’s life.
However, by the time her daughter reached pre-school age, it became clear the child was not normal. She still couldn’t form words, only grunted, and seemed to be in a world all her own. Devastated, Dandridge took her daughter to every doctor and specialist she could find. She was told to do many at home remedies including hot baths and cold compacts, to no avail. Dottie tried to enroll the child in school, but no one would take her. She worried that her delay in going to the hospital may have harmed her child. But as she later learned, the surgical forceps used by the doctor during delivery damaged her child’s head. Nevertheless, Dottie always blamed herself for Lynn’s health issues.
When she received a prognosis of the child’s condition, the verdict was grim; Lynn was mentally retarded and would have the mental capacity of a four year old for the rest of her life. Dorothy was devastated.
Harold was quite indifferent to the situation at home. He spent most of his daughter’s early years pretending nothing was wrong, and felt as long as he bought his family nice things, all the problems would go away. He toured extensively in Europe, living the life of a bachelor. Dottie wrote to him constantly, pleading with him to help her with Lynn and to come back home. She begged him to accept the child as she was, and to be content as a married family man. He never replied to the letters, and his money stopped coming in the mail.
When Dorothy finally succeeded in contacting him, he told her he liked his care-free life in Paris, and that their marriage was over. Dandridge was distraught and worried how she would make ends meet as a single mother. She raised Lynn herself for many years, until the child became increasingly harder to control. Dorothy, in a desperate state, sent her to go live with “aunt” Geneva and her mother Ruby. When that proved unsuccessful, Dandridge placed the child in a private institution.
That's sad she should of not be so wrapped up in what she thought about her husband and pleasing him. She should of just went to the hospital. They put the child in what kind of institution? One for retarded children or a psychiatric (the shock treatments, sedatives, etc)