Child of the Gospel
A New Focus
At seventeen years old, Aretha was juggling teenage motherhood, high school, and a part-time career as a gospel performer. The Franklins had moved to a larger home in a wealthy section of Detroit. Aretha managed to find time for love as well. She began dating a man a few years older than herself. They met at a local roller-skating rink. Aretha fell in love, but soon learned that her boyfriend was cheating on her. Unfortunately, before she got wise, she got pregnant again.
Aretha's father reacted with the same compassion he had shown during her first pregnancy. He continued to believe that a great career lay ahead for Aretha. Aretha gave birth to her second son, Eddie. She decided that she needed to focus on motherhood and on her own singing career. After careful consideration, Aretha dropped out of high school. With Big Mama's help raising her two sons, Aretha began to take steps toward a professional career.