Oprah: When did you know it was turning into something where you could actually say, "Yes, I want to be with you"?

Christine: That was tough. He was spending pretty much all his time here, and I knew there could be no better man for me. At that point, I had two people left in the world: my mother and my sister, and my sister was dying of cancer. It's a scary thing to be totally alone. And I didn't question that I'd be happy with him. Even so, I panicked when he proposed—just the whole thought of getting married again. But I said yes.

We married two days after we got home from a trip to Paris. Jerry is a judge, so he got the marriage license on our first day back, and then a fellow judge married us the second day. I didn't want any press. In this town, talk spreads like wildfire. I've been a veterinarian in Merced for 25 years, and Jerry has been a judge here for the last ten, and we are both watched.

Oprah: Why are people watching you?

Christine: Just for the sake of gossip. I didn't have to tell anybody I was pregnant. People told me! Everywhere I went—"Oh, you're pregnant!" I wasn't even showing!

Oprah: How many people live in Merced?

Christine: About 75,000.

Oprah: Do you think the town has a vested interest in your story? Everyone must have been devastated.

Christine: There has been tremendous support. Wonderful support. I feel a connection here. The neighbors knew my kids.

Oprah: If you packed up and moved to another city with your family, the new neighbors might not know that you'd had other children. Is that one of the reasons you've chosen not to leave?

Christine: It's a big one. I would be completely lost somewhere else. That's why I've stayed in this house. I'm sure there are people who say, "How could she live there?" But where could you put me that I wouldn't be totally lost? All my kids' memories are here. Moving me someplace else would be like putting me in a room with white walls—a prison cell.


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