Fortunately, life was not entirely miserable in those early years. Though Gertrude could not win over her mother, her father considered her his favorite child and lavished attention on her. The two were very close, and this relationship created further resentment from Mollie and the other children. Gertrude was both a golden child and the scapegoat of her family all at once.
If Gertrude had known her status as a pariah within her own family, it mattered little to her then. The love from her father was enough for her—but then, tragedy struck, and Gertrude’s life would never be the same—or as happy—ever again.
She was eleven years old when one evening, while she practiced her reading, her father abruptly became unwell. Gertrude watched as Hugh gasped for air and rose from his seat only to collapse on the floor beside her. He became motionless and silent. Frightened, she knelt down and begged him to wake up, to no avail.