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McClures and Judge Frater

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The Seattle Star, December 8, 1909


"I love my papa and my mamma, and I love my new mamma, but I love my own mamma best."

This childish declaration to Judge Frater, spoken in a little frightened voice by Grace McClure yesterday, decided the legal struggle between Dr. Royal A. McClure and Mrs. Louise McClure for the possession of the 11-year-old girl.

Father and mother, divorced, each wanted the little girl, and took their reasons into court. Accusations and counter accusations were made, to the mystification of the innocent cause of their renewed strife. Some years ago the father and mother had decided they could live together no longer, and set about securing a divorce as easily as possible. Each was anxious to be free of the other, and they made their bargain. The girl was given to the custody of the mother, the father retaining certain rights of companionship.

The father married a second time. His daughter was present at the wedding. The complicated parental relation that existed with the father in one home and the mother in another, was rendered more so by the acquisition of a "new" mamma.

Finally the father repented of his bargain with the mother. Both realized that sooner or later the matter would be taken into court, and that the child's preference would be a deciding factor. Mother and father played on the child's love. She had to make her choice between her fond papa and her loving mother; she had to balance their care and kindness, one against the other; she had to weigh her affection; put her heart on the scales, knowing that she must stab one to the very soul to make the other happy.

And she had to do this, a little child 11 years old, just budding into girlhood. She had to make the choice between loved ones. She will probably remember that moment until the day she dies.