It was the summer of 1963, when living together meant living in sin and abortion was against the law.
"The summer after my sophomore year in college I was in love with a man my age who was going to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore," Joyce reported, "and he decided he was going to summer school so I lied to my parents and went to live with him in Baltimore." Looking back at it 14 years later, she realized that she was already pregnant by the time she moved in with him.
There was no question of keeping th baby, she said. The only question was how to find an abortionist. "We just didn't know how to do it, who to ask . . . So I copped out. I think that was the beginning of a kind of catatonia I went into. I just dropped out of taking responsibility for myself and let him do it all. Well, he found out. From a bar maid, as I recall, who to see.
Joyce and her boyfriend finally managed to raise $280 of the abortionist's $300 fee. And terrified they would be turned away for want of the $20, they set out one evening to "South Baltimore to a really seedy part of town, literally to a back door in an alley. It was one of those Baltimore row houses with miles and miles of stone steps."
It was about 8 on a steamy late August night. "He stayed in the car and I had to walk about a block by myself to this back door," continued Joyce.
"I was let in by the seediest looking person I had ever seen in an office that looked more like a laboratory than a doctor's office. He was shortish and fat and he was wearing a white shirt that was wrinkled looking . . . He was wearing a tie that was too short and had stains on it. He didn't look clean. Doctors, to me, were clean."
Joyce said he took the money without counting it and told her to take off all her clothes and lie down on the (examining) table.
"The man sprinkled talcum powder over my body and he said chants, I swear he said chants, and he was making circles over my body with his hands. Then he said I should call him the next day if anything happened."
Joyce didn't know much about abortions, but she knew enough to know she hadn't had one. So she returned to the abortionist a second time.
On the second visit, she said, the man gave her what she now believes was a version of a saline abortion - a procedure involving replacing the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus and causes the woman to go into labor and deliver a dead fetus.
Despite experiencing what she described as terrible pain, Joyce said that, again, nothing happened. So she returned to the basement a third time and the saline solution was administered a second time.
"That night at home the pain started, I was pretty pregnant by then and I had labor pains, excruciating pains that came in waves and went on for about two hours. I didn't know if it was normal or abnormal. The whole thing was so bewildering, and looking back, I felt like such a victim. Suddenly, some how, I knew something was going to happen and I got up and ran into the bathroom and sat down on the toilet and Plop.!
"Well, I made the most horrible mistake of all, which was that I looked. Well, I saw it. It was visible as a fetus and I was screaming and I didn't know what to do and my boyfriend was pounding on the door. I had no idea that was what an abortion was.I had no idea I was going to see it. I mean nobody told me what to expect and it was just hanging there.
"Immediately afterwards I felt absolutely pain free. But the image. It's well, it's always been there. Just dangling."
Worried about infection, Joyce returned to a doctor who had confirmed pregnancy. But realizing she had had an illegal abortion, he ordered her out of his office.
"That made me feel so dirty, it made me feel so rejected and worthless that I can't separate it from the whole experience. It was such a rejection of my needs. Well, to make a long story short, I didn't go back to college that fall. I never went back to college."
Joyce said her relationship with her boyfriend totally disintegrated because of the guilt each of them felt. "I went back to Washington like two days before Jack Kennedy was assassinated and that was the final, depressing thing. I went into really deep depression and felt panicky and hysterical and unable to cope.
"It was many years and thousands of dollars worth of therapy later that I began to really see the relationship between a lot of things that I'd done to myself," said Joyce, who now lives with a man in Washington and holds a professional job despite her lack of a degree.
"But who knows," she added, "I might have had the problems anywa.But that summer in Baltimore sure didn't help."