An inquisitive child, I wanted to know everything about my abandonment. I harassed my parents, needled them, and finally got a “story.” According to the “story,” a nurse had been leaving her hospital shift in the wee hours of the morning and thought she heard the soft mews of a kitten. A cat-lover, she had to stop and check the bushes from whence the cries came. Voila – she found me, covered in ant bites, but none the worse for the wear. This “story” became part of my life-treasure, and I carried it always – along with a special place in my heart for that nurse. I even spoke about it in a college speech class. The “story” was neat and tidy – I was found in a safe location (hospital grounds) and meant for discovery.
After learning the truth, I tentatively asked my mother if she remembered any details about my abandonment. Nope. Nothing. She never mentioned the “story.” I guess it had also been abandoned, since it hadn’t been needed in many years. I brought up “remembering a story about a hospital bush…or something,” and I was emphatically told that I must have “made that up.” I was never TOLD that, you see.
I knew differently, but it is better to be kind than right.
I still haven’t shared the truth with her, b/c when I asked if it were possible to find out – would she want to know – the answer was an emphatic, “NO.” Plus, I was again lectured about the foolishness of such an exploration. ‘Nuff said.
But what’s funny is my nickname. Years ago, after hearing my “story,” my husband thought it would be cute to call me “Lawn Baby” – in reference to being found on a hospital lawn. It sounded better than “Bush Baby” – and, well, you get the picture. So non-id posed a REAL PROBLEM. What was he going to call me now?
Okay – let’s get back to the phone conversation with the social-worker-I’m-trying-to-convince-I’m-not-insane. So, I tell his lady that I’m living a great life – I’m very successful, a mother, etc….but my husband and I have a problem. Then I tell her the “Lawn Baby” thing – just to convince her that I’M NOT CRAZY and I’m WELL-ADJUSTED. I just want to know what he should call me now. Dumpster Baby? Curbside Baby? Trash-Can Baby? Alley Baby? Could she at LEAST tell me WHERE I was found??? There was a long pause, as I think she had never encountered THIS type of problem on the job. She asked me to sit down. That’s when she said (with a measure of complete dread in her voice), “You were found in the restroom of a filling station. The truck merely pulled away, and the police case was closed.”
I guess “filling station” sounds better than “gas station.” When I told my husband, he was appalled. “She didn’t tell you what BRAND??? Well, NOW what am I gonna call you?? Shell Baby? Exxon Baby? Mobil Baby?”
We haven’t done all the research as to what gas stations would have been around at the time in California. But we like to think it was one of those with the cute green dinosaurs.
You can call me “Sinclair Baby.” He does.