Friday, July 07, 2006
The Beginning, As Best As I Can Tell Welcome, let me start by explaining that the circumstances & place of my birth are lost to history as I write this. I've got several birth certificates, each valid & issued by the state in different names. This is due to some unusual happenings during the first years of my life, which I've pretty much narrowed down to starting in 1946 and in the fall. As I don't know the actual date, I use April 17, since that's the date my adoptive parents had on their birth certificate. Now that you're really confused, let me explain a bit of what I've found out via various sources. The closest I've found to an actual date, is an old newspaper article about my birth parent's death in an auto accident in the fall of 1946 as they drove home from a job search in a snowstorm. The article cites as the accident having one survivor, a son "approximately one month of age". Since this is the earliest account I've been able to locate & being the closest to revealing the actual time of my birth, I assume it's the most accurate age I can give. It's not, however, the birth date & age I've always used. Some more of the explanation is needed. My parents were American Indians & upon hearing of their deaths, I was adopted by my mother's cousin & his wife who were childless at the time. This made them the only ones in the family with room for another member. As fate would have it, this arrangement was to last for only about seven months, when they were killed in yet another auto accident. At this time there was nobody acceptable to the state to take me in & as a result I went to an orphanage. As luck would have it, I was adopted by people from close to where my parents were from. As a result, through the efforts of my adoptive father, I was to interact with my biological family as the years passed. Unfortunately, none of them were in touch with my birth parents at the time of their deaths, and many were unaware I even existed prior to being notified of my survival. At any rate, these musings are going to center on my life with my adoptive parents, as this is what I was most involved in. The other family ties consisted of sporadic visits for the most part. Although the ties are closer now with some members, I consider myself a Native American, but far from the reservation & the tribal lands & family of today. For reasons I may go into later, I spent most of my youth on a family farm, although my adoptive parents lived mainly in town where my father worked. I suppose my uncle was as much a father to me as was the man who's name was on the adoption papers & who I call "Dad". He was a truly nice man who died some time ago after reaching his 90's. My adoptive mother, who I'll hereafter refer to as "MM", died shortly thereafter. This writing is for the benefit of my decendents, if any deem it worth reading. I'm afraid that if I don't start leaving some sort of history now, there'll be nobody to leave one. As I tend to remember things out of order, that's probably how this'll be written. Time will tell I guess. I'll finish today by simply saying that what follows are my earliest memories: I'm in a place that has all white enamel cabinets, a cabinet color that gives me chills to this day. The "big people" there are all female & most wear only black with funny hats. For some reason, I'm always kept away from the other people my size in an all white room with a few simple toys to amuse me. I eat alone, & I don't go with the others to sleep either. These are just collective memories formed over about a two-three year time. I could talk & walk, but I remember mostly being left in a white room away from the others. I now believe I know why this was, but I've no proof as the place & people are long gone. As of now, almost everything of my youth is gone to make way for "progress". As a result, I'll have to describe most things, as photos are few & far between. If I find some, I'll share them as I go along. One day, a "big person" happened to see me through the open door & came in to see me. I remember it clearly, as he was exceptionally nice to me & it was the first "big person" to ever visit me. When "big people" came I was left in the room with the door closed. This day I guess somebody neglected to close me away from view. Some days later, the man reappeared with another "big person" & after a while, I was put on a funny couch-like seat in the back of what I was later to come to know as a 1949 Studebaker. I remember laying there a long time watching lines go past out the window. I now know they were power & phone lines. My next clear memory is of the nice "big person" tossing me about in a big blue room. The room today looks far from "big", as does the little house that I sold some time back after my parent's deaths. At any rate, I was placed in a big bed-like thing with loads of toys. The big people left & I remember clearly what happened when I cried from being alone & hungry. The "other" big person came in & yelled at me & forced a bottle into my mouth & held me down until I stopped struggling. At the time, I wasn't developed enough to foresee what treatment lay ahead for some time at the hands of the "other" big person. Finally, the nice man came back in & turned on the light & he must have held me until I went to sleep, as I don't remember clearly any more for a bit. As I said, it comes to me in scattered pieces, especially the early years that I've blocked out parts of. Well, guess that's enough for one post. Have to gather my thoughts a bit.
Posted by Mike S at 6:19 PM