Procrastination

I took a break – a fact some of you (gently) brought to my attention. I’d like to say I was writing something else. I was, in a manner of speaking,  though the words have yet to actually appear on a page. I would be a great writer if I didn’t have to print my words (I’m going to let the joke about eating them move on down the road). I’ve spent 3 months, more, researching the Lizzie Borden murder case of 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts – the trial transcript and newspaper accounts from all corners of the globe. Growing up in Massachusetts, we skipped rope to the popular rhyme: “Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.” Nevermind that the rhyme is wrong, on at least four counts. We sang it, and we believed it. Lizzie Borden was creepily guilty. We didn’t need to read about it. Who would make up a rhyme like that if it weren’t true? We didn’t learn about it in school (it would have made a great college course). We knew of it solely from the playground, and no one questioned whether or not Lizzie was guilty; no one knew she had been tried and acquitted; no one much cared.

It is generally referred to as the Lizzie Borden case. In fact, the victims were Andrew Borden and his wife, Abby (Lizzie’s father and, alas, stepmother – a distinction which were among the first words to come out of Lizzie’s mouth when the police sought to question her the morning of the murders). It was apparently important to Lizzie that dear Abby (dear Abby?) not be confused with Lizzie’s real mother, the one who counted in Lizzie’s eyes (though her “real” mother died when Lizzie was barely 3 years old; Abby had been around for about 27 years).

The police investigation was slipshod, even given the forensic limitations of the times. Fingerprinting, though dating back to the times of Hammurabi,  was not yet considered reliable. In the same year of the Borden murders, an Argentinian police chief obtained a confession from a mother to the murder of her two sons after he confronted her with evidence of her bloody thumbprint at the murder scene. No attempt was made, though, to obtain fingerprints from the Borden house. The premises were not even formally searched until several days later (there was a more cursory search when the police first arrived on August 4th), while Lizzie and Emma were at the cemetery for internment services. The (remaining) occupants of the household (Lizzie, Emma, the maid, and a visiting uncle) were allowed to come and go as they pleased, though they were closely followed if they left the house. On the Sunday after the murders, Lizzie was seen burning a dress on the kitchen stove, quite possibly the dress worn by her on the morning of the murders. A friend (with raised eyebrows) suggested to Lizzie that perhaps burning the dress was not an appropriate thing to do, particularly when there was a police officer standing sentry in the backyard. Lizzie’s response? She stepped to the right so as to be out of view of the police officer.

With all of the police bumbling, there was still one seemingly inescapable conclusion: the only people in or around the house at the time of the murders (which were committed approximately an hour and a half apart, between 9 and 10:30 a.m. on August 4, 1892) were Lizzie and the maid, Bridgett Sullivan. Suspicion quickly centered on Lizzie. In the following week she was summoned to testify before a private inquest. She was not permitted to have the benefit of her own counsel and was subjected to a lengthy questioning that was more in the nature of a cross-examination – indeed, a badgering. Upon the conclusion of the inquest Lizzie was formally arrested. Rather than incarcerate her with the other women prisoners, Lizzie was permitted to take up residence in the matron’s quarters in the police station, from which she regularly sent out for dinner and other perks to make her stay more enjoyable. She read Charles Dickens, and she entertained visitors. The police themselves seemed conflicted about whether a woman of Lizzie’s social standing (and prior unblemished record), a regular church-goer, could possibly be guilty of such a horrific crime.

The “did she or didn’t she” part doesn’t much interest me (I think she did). For the record, though, it was not 40 whacks, and then 41 for her father. Abby received 18 or 19, while poor Andrew suffered 12 or so. In both cases, more than enough to get the job done. Dead is dead. The fact that it was more than enough (I think), points to the rage of the murderer. While not conclusive, many hackings of that sort are the result of personal relations (many times family members) going woefully adrift. It seems preposterous to suggest an unknown intruder snuck into the house, hacked Abby to death, then hid for an hour and a half, hacked Andrew to death, then made his (her?) escape in broad daylight from a house fronting on one of the busiest streets near the center of town.  Even so, and assuming the culprit was Lizzie, the police were gloriously inadequate in constructing the necessary circumstantial case against her.

There is a new book just published, Parallel Lives, which purports to provide an in-depth look at Lizzie (she changed her name to Lizbeth after the murders) and Fall River in the Gilded Age. The Gilded Age is a term coined  by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in the book they co-authored: The Gilded Age: A Tale of TodayInstead of a Golden Age, Twain and Warner saw the societal excesses (read Newport mansions) brought on by the exponential growth of the modern industrial economy as “gilded,” with all of the ostentatious wealth nothing more than a thin veneer of gold. The same might be said about other periods in American history that spawned McMansions on places like Nantucket Island and the sale of $20 million apartments in Manhattan.

Parallel Lives is 1000 pages – that should keep me busy for another 3 months. I want to read it (and I would if it weren’t so damn expensive). There is something fascinating about the Borden case and the times in which it happened; about the fact that a gruesome double murder became “news” not only across the rapidly expanding United States, but throughout many parts of the world – all without benefit of television, Internet, e-mails, cell phones, fax machines, cars, and for the most part, telephones. It is true that the first official notification of the crime was made (not from the Borden house but a nearby commercial establishment) to the Fall River Central Station Police Headquaters by telephone. But that call resulted only in the police sending a junior officer to investigate, by walking over dirt roads the short distance to the Borden residence at 92 Second Street. Once there, the officer was shown the body of Andrew Borden, hacked to death on a sitting room settee, one eye-ball split in two. It wasn’t pretty. There was no mention, indeed no thought, of Abby, except that she perhaps was out because (according to Lizzie) a note had been received that same morning about someone taking sick. Neither the “note” nor the “sick” friend was ever found. The police officer dutifully walked back to the Central Station to report the murder of Andrew, saying something to the effect: “He’s dead.” Following instructions, he then returned to the house, whereupon the body of Abby was discovered in an upstairs guest room. It also was not pretty. Once again the police officer again walked (well, let’s hope he was at least trotting) back to Central Station to amend his report: “She’s dead too!” And thus begat the most intense of police investigations, seemingly unrivaled (at least to that point in our history) both in thoroughness and incompetence, with a little corruption thrown in for good measure (see the “Trickey Affair”).

Parallel Lives promises to provide us with another, more in-depth, view of Lizzie and the Fall River in which she lived. The authors, members of the Fall River Historical Society, do not try to solve the murder (smart), but promise new documentation of the life and times of Lizzie Borden. Okay, we know she was kind to animals (she left a part of her estate to endow the Fall River Animal Society), and sometimes had sticky fingers in the downtown department stores. Those hawking the book on websites and in other places promise that a reading of Parallel Lives is an “eye-opening” experience – a strange choice of words considering Andrew’s fate. Andrew and Abby have now been dead for close to 110 years; Lizzie and her sister Emma (they died within a week of one another) have been gone for going on 80 years. There is an economic benefit to many for keeping the murders a mystery. I don’t have a problem with that. It got me to read through all the newspaper articles, a fascinating journey. Without the mystery, there’s less to talk about and much less money for those interested in making it. But the idea behind Parallel Lives is a good one. What is most fascinating about the Borden murders and the trial of Lizzie is the times in which it occurred, in the waning moments of the 18th century. Yet it was a criminal case that mesmerized the entire United States, even the world. Crowds of people jostled to read the wall to wall newspaper coverage, as each edition was taped outside the newspaper offices fresh off the printing presses. Something like 55 reporters covered every day of the trial, along with telegraph runners to get each story published at the first moment possible. Sketch artists provided in-depth scenes inside the Court room, and both the Government and Lizzie were represented by the best available lawyers.

If the Borden murders happened today, Lizzie would get her 15 minutes of fame (whacking someone with a blunt instrument will do that). But she would probably not get much more than, say, Edgar Smith got back in 1968, when he wrote his book while on death row (Brief Against Death). Championed by William F. Buckley, Jr., (of all people) Smith argued his murder conviction was all a horrific mistake. I read the book and was convinced. I was on his side, one of the few times I found myself agreeing with Buckley. Edgar finally got a new trial. Just before the trial was about to start, he copped a plea to manslaughter in exchange for time served. Before he was off the Courthouse steps, Smith let everyone know his plea was a fraud, made only to guarantee his release from prison. I nodded approvingly. Who could blame him? We’d all do the same thing. That was all well and good, until Edgar went out and tried to kill another girl in 1976. He was caught almost red-handed. Whoops. It was all a lie, even though – in a brief showing of chutzpah – the now twice accused felon tried to defend the second attempted murder charge by citing the claimed injustices of his first murder conviction. Huh? The result: guilty and life in prison. So far as I know, that is where Smith remains, far from the public view, his 15 minutes on the scrap pile. And yet Lizzie, who was exonerated by a jury of her “peers” (translation: 12 rural male farmers), remains in our consciousness.

When Lizzie Borden confronted her “peers” in June of 1893, it was, perhaps, the first truly great “trial of the century.” That it occurred in a country courthouse in New Bedford, Massachusetts with the windows open (no air conditioning) and a cow mooing in an adjacent pasture did not stop celebrities from attending, usually arriving by train from Boston – the same train that Dr. Edward Stickney Wood, a Harvard University chemistry professor and the prosecution’s expert witness, used to travel back and forth from his Cambridge offices, sometimes with the severed skulls of the victims in a dark valise at his side. There was even a celebrity reporter, Joe Howard, infamous in his own right – an 18th century Dominick Dunne (or maybe it should be the other way around). He signed his columns Howard and provided the world with much of the flavor and atmosphere inside the Courtroom. Reading his articles is a treat.

Nowadays, a trial of the century seems to come along every ten years or so, but the Lizzie Borden case was from a different era. It was a link in the chain between rural America and modern communication. Word of mouth, newspapers, magazines, telegraph – these were the ways in which the news and gossip of that case was devoured by people all over the world. In 1892, people traveled by train and carriage, maybe a horse, or they walked. One day soon after the double murders, a man walked all the way from New Bedford to the  Fall River Central Precinct Police Station to confess to the crimes. He asked to be hanged immediately. It soon became apparent he was a little bit “off” from having served in the War Between the States. On the promise of his family to “look after” him, he was sent home. They were different times indeed.

There are parallels to O.J. Simpson. O.J. lingered in our public consciousness because he was already a star athlete (retired) and celebrity. There was nothing star-studded about Lizzie. In fact, because Lizzie was so “ordinary” – a churchgoing, Victorian spinster living at home with her father and step-mother – it made the accusations against her all the more extraordinary. But even O.J., in time, wore on our patience, to the point where his (incredible) feats on the football field were more an embarrassment than an accomplishment . Both crimes were grisly, and the evidence pointed to the guilt of each accused. In 2004, the public had trouble accepting that a celebrity, a national sports icon, known for leaping through airports in Hertz car rental ads (as a female helpfully implored “run O.J., run!”), could be guilty of such a horrendous crime. Many in the black community thought Simpson was being treated differently solely because he was black, an interesting twist for someone who had seemingly “made it” in white society. Others shook their heads as they watched O.J. hunkered down in the back seat of that white Ford Bronco, ominously followed by all those patrol cars and police helicopters. When we found out he had $10,000 in cash with him and seemed headed for Mexico, the tide of public opinion took a seismic shift towards guilt. Simpson’s days of superstardom were soon to be replaced by a lifetime of super ignominy.

In 1892 the public had trouble accepting that Lizzie, a Victorian single woman living at home (all of 32), could be guilty of splitting open the heads of her father and step-mother. Lizzie was a 9th generation Fall River resident and, yes, even distantly related to the same clan that brought us Borden’s milk. O.J. used a knife. Lizzie was accused of using a hatchet (which was never recovered – it may have been tossed in the slop of a backyard outhouse or the handle may have been burned on the kitchen stove, along with the dress which Lizzie wore the day of the murders). There were seemingly tense family relations in both instances. O.J., it soon became apparent, was insanely jealous and had a history of domestic issues with Nicole, his ex-wife. Lizzie barely spoke to her stepmother, and both she and her sister implored their father to move out of Second Street (which had no indoor plumbing or other modern improvements of the age) to a wealthier section of town. Andrew was a good businessman. He also was cheap. 92 Second Street was a house of locked doors.

Both O.J. and Lizzie had financial resources to pay for the best legal help. Each trial endured questionable judicial decisions and actions. Both trials attracted worldwide attention. The public ultimately came to accept  that both Lizzie and O.J. committed the crimes. Even though both were acquitted, they were convicted in the Court of public opinion. Lizzie went on to a relatively quiet life in the better part of town (motive?), save for a little shop-lifting and a dalliance with a lesbian actress (Nance O’Neill), with whom Lizzie may or may not have had an affair. She was also kind to animals.  O.J. went on to commit other nefarious acts, succeeding in falling even further from grace. In addition, Simpson was held accountable for the murders in a civil lawsuit (requiring a less stringent burden of proof), something unheard of in Lizzie’s day. There also did not appear to be anyone around in Lizzie’s time with either the money or fortitude for such a lawsuit. Lizzie’s sister, Emma (who was out-of-town visiting friends the week of the murders), moved with Lizzie to the house on French Street in the better part of Fall River. They called it Maplecroft. Whether or not Lizzie committed the murders, she and her sister (from whom she subsequently became mysteriously estranged), ended up with what they claimed was lacking when her father and step-mother were alive.

In both cases there was evidence of police incompetence, perhaps worse. The public was ravenous for information. What is fascinating is the manner in which the press met the needs of the feeding frenzy in 1892 and 1893.   One deputized Rhode Island private detective (Edwin D. McHenry) in the Lizzie Borden case sold phony information to the press (the “Trickey Affair”). Henry G. Trickey (Dickens would have liked his name) was a young star reporter for the Boston Globe. He arranged to buy information concerning the police investigation from McHenry, who had been deputized to help with the murder investigation (which had already grown well beyond the capacity of the Fall River Police Department). The information, the $500 payment for which was presumably authorized by Lizzie herself (to find out what the prosecution had up its sleeve), was scandalous. It claimed that, the night before the murders, Andrew discovered Lizzie was pregnant and confronted her, whereupon Lizzie refused to reveal the name of the man who had impregnated her. Andrew essentially threatened to throw Lizzie from the house. Armed with this information and the names of numerous witnesses allegedly prepared to swear to its truth, the Boston Globe rushed into print with a front page story. The case had been broken! Lizzie was pregnant! The only problem was . . . it was all a big fat lie. The story was concocted and Trickey (?) and the Globe were duped. With egg on its printers, the Globe rushed an apology into print and thereafter wrote generally favorable and sympathetic stories about Lizzie throughout the course of the ordeal. Trickey, for his part, took off, first visiting his family in Illinois, then heading to Ontario, Canada to escape indictment (a sealed indictment was handed down at the same time as the formal indictment for Lizzie). Once in Canada, he registered in a hotel, using the name Henry Meltzar. On December 3, 1892, Trickey attempted to board a moving westbound train in a Canadian depot when he lost his footing and fell to his death. The whole Trickey affair paid dividends for Lizzie in the court of public opinion, where a debate raged as to the true meaning of innocent until proven guilty.

You could say, concerning Back Bay Baby (oh yeah, the adoption story….), that I have been procrastinating. Guilty. I think anyone who has undertaken a search for their personal history, especially those who were in any sense abandoned, will understand. It is interesting to me that I chose this point in Back Bay Baby to take a break.  With the success in getting access to my birth records came both excitement and fear. The fear part had to do with having to accept what I already knew – somebody gave me away. Looking at the signature of my mother, Virginia, on the Petition for Adoption, somehow made things different. It was no longer what someone was telling me, following a script that even I recognized concealed as much as informed. Was that a good thing? One can say, and it would be right, that my adoptive parents did not wish any further harm to come to me. In time, I would come to see there was more to it than that.  But after that day at the Dedham Probate Court came the limited success of the Simmons Detective Agency, interspersed with my foray into the adoption reform movement.  The rap groups were filled with sharing and with pain. I felt for the others, but I also withdrew. I told myself I just wanted to find my mother, just wanted to know what happened to me. I was very lawyerly about it, removed almost, as if I were my own client. As Abe Lincoln pointed out, that is not usually a good thing.

In the Fall of 1972, after speaking with Emma May Vilardi, I took personal control of my search, with her help. It became quickly obvious this was not a search that was going to be completed overnight. That had, perhaps, as much to do with me as with the circumstances. I think adoptees, in general, search in relation to their emotional well-being. It’s no secret that many adoptees begin looking shortly after they get married, or around the time they have a child. While I began searching about a year after I got married, it was more a matter of coincidence because that was when I discovered I could see my adoption records. If I had found out earlier, I would have started earlier. But the pace with which I undertook the search was tied to my emotional well-being – there were plenty of times when, for whatever reason, I crawled back into the rabbit hole and hung out, my “search” suspended.  There were any number of ready excuses. In a pre-Internet age, access to records and public information was decentralized, more difficult. Further, I was in my second year of law school in New York City. I was commuting back and forth to classes, a half hour drive each way. And I also got a job clerking at a labor law firm in Manhattan. The firm was a short walk from the New York City Public Library, which runs along Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets.

While the idea for the Library came out of the Gilded Age, the cornerstone was not laid until 1902. The building was not opened until 1911, a year after my adoptive father and mother were born and a year before the greatest ship ever built met an iceberg built better. The library building, facing Fifth Avenue, is graced by 2 enormous stone lions, originally named Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, after the  founders. Later the lions’ names were changed to Lady Astor and Lord Lenox, a nice touch which ignored the fact the lions were both male. Finally, in the 1930’s Mayor Fiorello La Guardia nicknamed them “Patience” (the one to the south)  and “Fortitude,” qualities he felt New Yorkers would need to survive the Great Depression. LaGuardia, considered one of history’s best big city Mayors, used to sit as a Judge in New York City Municipal Court while he was Mayor. He once presided over a misdemeanor case against a woman accused of stealing a loaf of bread. She said she stole it to feed her family. LaGuardia insisted on fining her $10, then announced he was fining everyone in the Courtroom 50 cents for living in a city where a woman needs to steal a loaf of bread to feed her family. With her fine paid, the woman left the Courtroom with close to $50.00. Not a bad guy.

In late 1972 I walked between Patience and Fortitude for the first time, turned right to walk through the great reading room (worth the trip in itself) and made it to the Genealogy Department. I was told to keep things quiet, not because it was a library but rather because I was looking for information to which some people thought I might not be entitled. All I was going to do was search the birth and microfilm records for any mention of Virginia Peters or Edward Yedlin. I searched birth records, telephone records, voter registration lists, starting in the 1920’s for birth records and in the mid 1940’s for telephone and voter registrations. There were adoptees searching there for their own information, sitting at large wood tables and pouring over birth record books.

Like almost all other states New York sealed its records upon an adoption, but hospitals were required to report births within 15 days. Those records were compiled in Birth Record books, copies of which were kept in the Library. Later, once adopted, the information from the original birth certificate would be “amended,” with the adoptive parents added and the original parent/parents deleted. All other information remained the same, including the birth certificate number. No attempt was made to amend the birth record indexes. Thus, if you were born in New York City, you could use the identifying number on your amended birth certificate to search through all the birth record books for the year in which you were born. It was like beating the system, a little known (at that time) fact that genealogists shared with one another.The records, however, were not chronological (for one thing they were compiled from among the 5 separate boroughs of New York City – Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.) Thus, one needed to look through all of the thousands of births recorded for a particular year of birth (and sometimes overlapping into the following year). The typeset was small, and the searching tedious. One distraction and the number could be missed. Sometimes books were searched two and three times. Since I was born in Massachusetts and already had my identifying information, I didn’t need the birth record books for that purpose. However, I soon found myself helping others find their records, sometimes spending hours looking through the books, certificate number by certificate number, solely to see the look on the face of another adopted person discovering a crucial part of their identity. Painstakingly, with an emphasis on pain. Another form of procrastination, but one with a good purpose.

At the time, the word was that the professional librarians who worked in the genealogy department did not approve of people using their records to “subvert” the sealed records laws. Rumor was that they would not help. The aura was that it was wrong (as if adoptees needed anyone else to add to their guilt). Nevertheless I played the game, never divulging the reason why I was looking and, indeed, not asking for help unless it was absolutely necessary. If it was, I made up a story. Either I was a surprisingly effective liar or they really did not care, because I never encountered one bit of resistance.

In time, I located a number of families named Yedlin (the surname of my mother’s husband) in the phone directories, the last one in the 1950’s. There was one address in particular on the upper West Side, which happened to be in the same neighborhood where my wife’s uncle lived with his family. I made note of every entry and, of course, searched all the current telephone records as well. After discussing this with Emma May, I then expanded the search and located other Yedlins (fortunately not a common name) throughout the country. In particular, there were a number in New York, some in Florida, and in a few other places. After I compiled the information, which I accumulated over the course of several months, I did absolutely nothing with it. I was not really sure what to do, other than to call. The few numbers I did try were no longer in service. Also, I did not like lying, at least not about this. I didn’t think I could pull it off. It was one thing to go see my birth records, another to have a detective agency search, a third to gather information from public records. But now I needed to act, and that was difficult. It involved picking up the phone, actively engaging people in my search. I felt like I was betraying my adoptive parents and, in general, doing something I was not supposed to be doing. I had it pretty good – grew up in a nice house, summer-house in New Hampshire, good friends from high school and college, married to a nice person, in my second year of law school. Was I just opening a can of worms? Was it fair to my parents to go behind their backs searching for the persons and the place from which they saved me? As much as I felt guilty, I also felt compelled to proceed. My head could not register the conflict among feelings that I did not seem able to control. The result? Procrastination.

My Driving Wheel

To say that Emma May Vilardi had a gravely voice is not to have known her. For years I only knew her by telephone, along with a steady stream of lined, 3 x 5 inch, orange note cards. The note cards contained search suggestions she mailed to me, all patiently hand-written in blue ink. Each one gently prodded me forward.  A professional genealogist, Emma became interested in helping those disconnected by adoption while seeking answers for her own medical issues. She was stymied by the fact of her mother’s adoption.  Not for long. Those fighting for sealed adoption records got more than they bargained for with Emma May Vilardi. She was unstoppable. That she also knew what she was doing was a huge resource for many adoptees, like myself, who did not yet have a clue about how to proceed.

After attending the rap session at BJ’s apartment, it was clear the next move was up to me. Good news or bad, Virginia Peters was not going to appear on my doorstep. Unearthing her was going to take some digging. I had mixed feelings about it. It was both something I wanted to do and something that gave me fear. I never spoke about the fear. In 1972, there were not a lot of other male adoptees armed with their sword and sandals. At that time, there were just 4 states that allowed adult adoptees access to their birth records. In the wake of the Baby Lenore case, fearful that adoptees might (God forbid) actually exercise their rights, legislatures throughout the country quickly bequeathed the Tupperware treatment to adoption records, once again sealing them airtight.  The records that I saw at the Dedham Probate Court in July, 1972 were sealed not long after I was there. Even though I know all of the information in the file, the law now prohibits me from seeing them again (¨Look Donny, Kenny if you must, run along now on your stick pony. There`s nothing for you here¨). Whoever said what you can’t see won’t hurt you was clearly not adopted, plus they probably didn’t watch Jaws.

The reason often cited for ensuring the sealing of adoption records was that mothers relinquishing their children for adoption had been promised confidentiality. Allowing adult adoptees access to those records (so the argument goes) would breach that promise (ah, okay – we get it. So it’s a question of morality – you’re just being good guys – honoring your word, so to speak). In truth, it was a promise rarely given. And, as Pam Hasegawa pointed out in her succinct testimony before the New Jersey Assembly on June 14, 2010 (in support of the NJ Adoptees‘ Rights Bill), it is a bogus excuse. Pam researched the legislative intent behind various NJ Sealed Records laws dating back to 1940 and found the real reason: the records were sealed so that birthparents would not later show up and make things difficult. Later, it was said the reason for the laws was not to protect natural parents from being contacted by a child, but to protect them from making rash or abrupt decisions regarding relinquishing their child for adoption. In fact, Pam went on to document that years ago, once an adoption was formalized, many adoptive parents received both the child’s birthname and the name of the birthmother. (www.vimeo.com/16277015). Let’s face it. The records were sealed because they (whoever they are) believed that open records would be a deal breaker for people looking to adopt, as in we’ll have so many little orphans running around we won’t know what to do with them. It took a while to perfect the spin to justify the secrecy, but in the end that is what it was – an excuse. If, in the Baby Lenore case, the media coined the phrase ¨torn from the only parents she has ever known,¨ they also seem to have hopped on the bandwagon with ¨we have to keep our promise to the birthmother.¨ Adoption by sound bite.

My sister, who ratted me out to our parents after I saw my adoption records (¨you’ll never guess what that ingrate Donny did¨), never got to see her own. It was as if the adoption gods were somehow punishing her for her lousy betrayal. But they didn’t punish her for long (okay, maybe for another 15 years or so). Carol never searched, but in one of those quirky twists of fate, her mother appeared on her doorstep, or – more accurately – the milkman did. When we lived on Paul Revere Road, fresh milk was delivered to our back door several times a week. The milkman, it turns out, was Carol’s birth uncle. You can’t make this stuff up. Carol came from Needham. Her mother lived with her parents near town. The parents rented a room to a young guy (whoops). The young guy, from Poland, took a fancy to Carol’s mother, who soon enough became pregnant with Carol. The mother was very young. A private adoption was arranged to a Needham family. The family took Carol shortly after birth (I wonder if they changed her name?), but things did not work out. Carol was returned. In isolated moments not quite approaching brotherly love, I have conjured up explanations for why my sister was returned to sender. No amount of sibling rivalry, though, could wish that on anyone. It must have been excruciatingly difficult, even for an infant – maybe especially so. I read recently about some adoptive parents who were not happy with their Russian adoptee. They felt they were misled, like they had a warranty or something. The child was put on a plane, alone, and air mailed back to the Russian adoption agency. A note was attached. He didn’t just get left in a grocery store – he was also returned, like spoiled milk.

Carol wasn’t air-mailed and she was just an infant. Her return was surely due to the inability of the first adoptive parents to care for any baby, let alone my sister. It would have been nice if they first figured out it’s not really cool to take babies for a test drive. After that failed adoption, Carol was adopted again, this time by our parents. This all happened in 1941, almost 6 years before I was born and 8 years before I showed up on Paul Revere Road with only the clothes on my back. Apparently, my mother and father knew not only the family of Carol’s mother, but also the first pair of adoptive parents. They all lived in Needham. What must it have been like for my mother to walk into Rimmele’s Market in downtown Needham with Carol by her side, while the mother or the mother’s mother were shopping there as well, not to mention the mother for a moment who gave Carol back? It was never mentioned in our house. So far as I know, Carol did not know. I certainly didn’t. Whatever chosen baby story my parents told Carol, they did not choose to share with me.

Both ALMA’s and BJ’s rap groups were predominantly female. There was one other guy at each meeting, but I did not connect with either. Not much had been written yet about adoptees searching for their roots. Florence Fisher’s book, The Search for Anna Fisher, would be published the following year. BJ’s perceptive and important additions to the adoption dialogue (Twice Born; Lost and Found; Journey of the Adopted Self) were still a few years away from making their mark. At home, my wife was supportive, though we were not able to discuss much beyond the facts – what I had discovered and what I needed to discover. Our non-commmunication had more to do with the fortress I had constructed for myself than anything else – my Nueschwanstein (Mad Ludwig apparently had a few birth issues of his own, taken to referring to his mother as ¨my predecessor’s consort¨). I was barely peeking out from one of the turrets. The drawbridge was still firmly slammed shut. Heck, I didn’t even know there was a drawbridge.

A few days after my evening at BJ’s, I called Emma May Vilardi. Sitting on the same love seat where I read the report of the Simmons Detective Agency, in our second floor apartment in New Rochelle, I was watching a Red Sox game – the black and white television propped on top of a wood crate, our early 70’s decor. The prior October, just a few weeks before D. B. Cooper went sky-diving, Boston traded away Jim Lonborg (Gentleman Jim), Ken Brett (George’s brother), Billy Conigliaro (Tony’s brother), Joe Lahoud (whose grandfather played in the Negro Leagues), Don Pavletich (nobody’s brother that I know of) and George Scott (the Boomer) – all to the Milwaukee Brewers, pretty much decimating the remnants of the Impossible Dream Team of 1967 (save Yaz, Rico and Reggie). I spent the summer of 1967 at Fenway Park, going to most games with my Needham friend, Jimmy. In that Spring we made a bet about who would make it to Fenway the most during the season. Known for always bargaining for strokes on the golf course (and for loudly whispering ¨trouble¨ whenever one of us hit an errant shot), Jimmy lamely fished for a Fenway concession. Admittedly, it was a lot easier for me to blow off school and drive up to Boston from Providence to catch a game, than it was for him to travel all the way down from White River Junction. ¨Life ain’t fair buddy – are you a fan or are you going to keep moaning about Crankin’ Dan Osinski giving up a few more shots over the Green Monster?¨ One day, I was sitting in our usual location in the right field bleachers ($1 ticket to sit on an aluminum bench), enjoying the afternoon sun when  Jimmy came chugging up the steps out of breath, mumbling (he was a professional mumbler) that his mid-week trek to Boston was only going to get him a draw for the day. We sat about 15 rows below where Ted Williams hit his 502-foot home run (knocking the straw hat off Joe Boucher, a Yankee fan) on June 9, 1946 (spurring my mother into labor and ushering me into the world). Now the spot where the home run landed is commemorated by a seat painted red. Back then, we only knew it was somewhere behind us, way ¨up there.¨ The Splendid Splinter’s home run was declared  the ¨longest measurable home run in Fenway Park history¨ – which, over the years, I have taken to mean if someone hits one anywhere near as far, they don’t bother to measure. I once saw the Boomer hit a home run so far, the packed Fenway crowd seemed as if it were on tape delay, collectively silent as the ball soared, and then clanged among empty aluminum rows far away from home plate. I didn’t see anyone running for a tape measure.

Listening through the black earpiece, Emma instantly put me at ease. It took a bit to get used to her voice, which sounded as if it were coming to me from a room where oxygen had been replaced by smoke. She immediately offered to help, and I explained to her what I had done so far. We agreed it made sense, for now, to concentrate our (not just me!) search efforts in New York, chasing after Edward Yedlin in the hopes of landing Virginia. I told Emma I did not want to let on to anyone else what I was doing. I felt protective of both of my mothers, the one I knew and the one who left me in the store. Emma understood. Apparently I was not the first adoptee to float that boat of hope and fear. She had heard it before. Emma suggested I start my search at the New York City Public Library on Fifth Avenue, just a few blocks from Grand Central Terminal. The library, she explained, had a genealogy room on the first floor, to the right, reached by walking through a massive reading room. There were records of New York City births (Edward Yedlin?) and old telephone directories on microfilm. Emma cautioned that I should keep to myself the reasons for my search because we were still in an age where secrecy trumped genealogy. Other adoptees had run into problems when they asked for assistance. I could start looking for the Yedlin family. Maybe my mother was living in New York, though I sensed she was still in Boston. It turns out I was wrong on both counts.

Emma also asked me to send her a copy of the report from the detective agency. Ensconced in the era before fax machines, computers and cell phones, we would communicate by letter and telephone. I thanked her and asked if I could send her some money (she declined). Reenergized, I hung up the phone  – both because the Red Sox were winning, and I had done something to get moving. Without realizing it, I had been feeling down since my rap sessions, like (courtesy of Tom Rush) some old engine that lost its drivin’ wheel (www.cowboylyrics.com/tabs/rush-tom/drivin-wheel-2243.html. But in one phone call, my little ¨I Think I Can¨ freight train chugged into second gear. I promised myself a trip to the library the following week and went off to mail a copy of the Simmons report to Emma. Once again the fantasy tugged at me that Virginia (maybe spurred on by my crackshot genealogist) would somehow come back for me, as if she had merely forgotten to pay her grocery bill.

What’s in a Name?

I sometimes wonder if my adoptive parents wondered about changing my name. Did it occur to them it might not be such a smashing idea? It’s not like I was just coming home all cute and fluffy from Kenmore Hospital. I’d been around for almost 2 years. I was Kenny. . . ??? Come to think of it, I hope I wasn’t named after Kenmore Hospital??? ¨Oh, look at the sign! Why don’t I just call him Kenny?¨ If that’s what happened, thank God my birthmother wasn’t thinking about naming me as she was passing through Kenmore Square.

After I learned, in 1972, that I was not called Donald right from the beginning, I thought about those first 6 months with my new family on Paul Revere Road, when I didn’t speak or cry. Of course I didn’t – you were calling me by the wrong name! I know that whatever issues I faced, they were more complicated than simply dealing with a different name. Like Frank Shorter said on entering the Olympic Stadium in Munich, give me a break. There’s an imposter adrift. I already had a name. Lately, things had not been going that well for me. A little stability would be nice, thank you. By the way, whatever happened to that bomber’s jacket? You know,  the dirty one. I don’t want to seem ungrateful (a thankless word designed to make an adoptee’s skin crawl)….., but when you stopped by to get me, did they happen to mention my name to you? It’s Kenny!

Many years ago I used to describe to friends, acquaintances (basically anyone who would listen) what it felt like to be adopted, as if I alone had the answer. Mustering a telling ¨I’ve Been There¨ look, I began by asking a question. Do you remember getting lost in the grocery store when you were young? Of course you do. Running up and down the aisles playing, you suddenly turn around. Your mother is not there, not anywhere to be seen. You look in the next aisle, and she’s not there either. A little panic begins to set in. You know you should not have wandered off by yourself. Maybe she even told you to stay close. You try to calm yourself. It will be okay, but pretty soon you are running up and down the aisles, quietly terrified. You only want one thing – your mother. Where is she? And then, just as nearly complete panic is about to overtake you, there she is, reaching for a box of Cheerios for you. Whew! – a great sense of relief,  a promise not to do that again. At exactly this point in the story I would pause, all-knowing-like, look my friend in the eye and say: it’s like that when you get adopted. You’re lost in the grocery store. A little panic sets in. Your mom is gone. You run up and down the aisles, but she has vanished. The only difference is, when you get adopted, your my mother never comes back. She’s not reaching for Cheerios. She’s out in the parking lot, reaching for the keys to the car. Now that I am older and supposedly a bit wiser, that explanation all sounds a bit melodramatic, a little over the top. But one day my mother did leave, not when I was all sparkling and cuddly in Kenmore Hospital (devastating enough), but after almost 2 years. Maybe not in the grocery store. Worse, really. One day she was there, and then the next moment she was gone. And a short while later, while I was still terrified – still looking, expecting my mother to come waltzing in – these other people I did not know put me in a car and started calling me Donny. I don’t remember any of it, but I also want to say I somehow remember all of it. It’s presumptuous to say that is what it feels like to be adopted, but when my kids were young and ran off in the grocery store, I didn’t like the feeling.

I have to admit, absolutely nothing registered that day in Dedham, when I first saw my original name, Kenneth James Peters – no sense of recognition, no warm fuzzy feeling, not anything. I thought only one thing – the good State of Massachusetts screwed up my adoption records. No wonder they wanted to keep them sealed. They couldn’t even get my name straight. Later, when it finally dawned on me (okay, terrible pun) I started checking out the name. Kenneth is considered derived primarily from Scotland, and a Gaelic version of it is translated as the ¨handsome one¨ (I like that one). Another interpretation is ¨fire-head¨ or ¨born of fire,¨ seemingly appropriate for the kid later destined to set the Needham Heights community record for consecutively struck Diamond Safety matches.

After I saw the Probate Court records, occasionally I would look in a mirror and think Kenneth, Kenny, Kenneth James, Kenneth James Peters. I looked at the guy looking back at me, who was the same guy at whom I was looking – the man in the mirror. Try as I might, the names did not resonate. They still don’t. Kenneth is a name now that I associate more with Dan Rather, a guy I admired from his early days reporting from Dallas in the aftermath of  President Kennedy’s assassination until, in later years, he seemed to go a little weird on us. He was subjected to a beating near his home on Park Avenue in 1986 by 2 guys chanting ¨Kenneth, what is the frequency?¨ I wondered if he was adopted? Did Dan Rather have another name? Him too? Empathetic, I was beginning to understand why Dan got a little funky.  Though we (wink wink) thought Dan was maybe up to something a little kinky,  it later appeared that maybe he was just mugged by two media obsessed lunatics. And from there the media took over, morphing the phrase into, practically, the only Kenneth we have ever known. It spawned songs, plays, novels, movies, and even a stint on The Late Show with David Letterman, and ultimately passed into our lexicon as a term describing a dazed or clueless person. I did not take offense.

Kenneth was also a principal character in Sir Walter Scott‘s The Talisman. An ill King Richard the Lionheart is cured through the magic power of a talisman, provided by a mysterious Saracen emir (actually Saladin, whose conquest of Palestine was the basis for the Third Crusade in the first place). Later, Kenneth is charged one night with protecting the banner of England. He is lured away by the King’s devious wife, Queen Berengaria, to receive an urgent message from his amor, Edith Plantagenet (the royal cousin). While Kenneth is gone the banner gets torn down and his trusty hound wounded. A loose noose from being hung, Kenneth was spared execution when the kind emir offered to take him as his slave. Later Ken sneaks back into the English camp, disguised as a mute attendant (no talking, no crying!) to King Richard. Too smart for all that, the King sees through the ruse, but gives our boy Kenneth the chance to find out who ripped down the banner and wounded the dog. The banner back in place, Kenneth’s hound knocks the Conrad of Montserrat (Montferrat actually, but who cares, it’s just a name) off his horse. A duel follows between Kenneth and the Conrad. Kenneth wins, after which Sir Kenneth is revealed to be. . . . Prince David (huh?)- It turns Kenneth was never Kenneth to begin with, though his newly discovered royal status allows (Prince David) to hook up with his love, Edith. Plus he gets a cool talisman as a wedding present. (www.walterscott.lib.ed.ac.uk/works/novels/talisman.html).

The name Donald, on the other hand, as some of my friends were wont to point out during my childhood, was made famous by a flat-footed, color-blind animated duck.

I admit it bothered me that they changed my entire name. Still does. I get the bit about last name, but not the first. I admit it bothered me that they threw away my clothes. Still does. And it bothered me, of course, the fact that my parents did not just get rid of the few things I had, which happened to be clothes, but burned them. Still does. It made quite an impression. I doubt my parents thought much about what feelings I might have had about those things. I was a little kid, a little kid that was not even talking. There was a reason, not a good one, why they changed my first name. They kept it from me for years, and it was not until 1994 when my father, for the first time, told me  he remembered my name was Ken. He waited over 40 years to tell me, long after my mother had passed away. No guilt, no I am sorry for that. Just a matter of fact explanation. Even after fall these years, it did not occur to him that it could possibly have made any difference to me. When my oldest son, David, was 5 years old, his mother and I had been separated for more than 6 months. We were waiting for the divorce papers to be finalized. I had a girlfriend, who lived in New York City. One night David and I stayed over. That afternoon I bought David some new sneakers. He was really happy with them. The next morning we were rushing to leave the apartment to make it to preschool and work. As we left the apartment, I took David’s old sneakers with me. David trailed behind. Briefcase in one hand, I opened the trash chute and threw in the old sneakers with the other. We were on the 6th floor. The trash bin for the building was in the basement. ¨My sneakers, my sneakers!¨ David ran to the shoot, crying. I had not even thought he might want them. They were probably as ratty as my bomber jacket.

I have heard, from time to time, of adoptees who have changed their names – sometimes the last name, sometimes the first. In England it is a simple affair. You can even do it online. It is not that complicated in the United States either. I never considered doing so and have not ever wanted to return to Kenny, a name which does not move mountains for me – any more than Donald. If I were to change my name, maybe I would do what that bloke in England did. He changed his name to Mr. None of the Above. I wonder if he was adopted.

Fuera de la Pista

Yo estaba ocupado estar ocupado con otras cosas. Buscamos nuestro nuevo apartamento, comprar un segundo coche, se trasladó desde Westport a New Rochelle, comprar mis libros la ley para el próximo semestre, tomó el examen de la Nueva York del conductor del Estado (felicitarnos por nuestra puntuación perfecta en una prueba diseñada para las personas que podrían apenas leer), y observó las Olimpiadas – los Juegos Olímpicos de Munich en 1972, uno de esos momentos en los que el tiempo se detuvo.
Durante años he tenido sueños de hacer el equipo olímpico (en ejecución). Yo nunca se reunieron y, finalmente, aceptó que no era lo suficientemente bueno. Ese año, los Juegos Olímpicos comenzaron a finales de agosto y corrió al 11 de septiembre. Yo estaba particularmente interesado por Frank Shorter se ejecuta en dos carreras, los 10.000 metros y la maratón. Corrí contra Frank en cross-country y pista, por primera vez en la escuela de preparación, más tarde en la universidad. Él siempre me golpearon en el cross-country, y yo a veces lo golpearon en las distancias más cortas. Frank se graduó a principios de Yale y se fue a Florida a entrenar con, entre otros, Barry Brown (el ¨ Pied Piper de los corredores, ¨ según Marty Liquori). Barry, un All-American, se graduó de la Universidad de Providence el año antes de entrar en la Universidad de Brown, en 1965. En mi primer año, tuvimos una práctica · · Conoce contra Providence College en la pista cubierta de Moisés Brown, una escuela preparatoria de East Providence. Corrí la milla, 11 vueltas en curvas cerradas. Dado que no era un funcionario se encuentran, el primer año corrió con el equipo universitario, y Barry Brown corrió también. Pensé que era bastante bueno. Me encontré con Barry, el cuello y el cuello, vuelta tras vuelta. Yo, el primer año de advenedizo, le iba a caer. Llegamos al comienzo de la última vuelta. Me sentí muy bien, simplemente colgando del hombro derecho de Barry – y, a continuación. . . . Barry se fue. Me pegó una vuelta por la mitad, todo lo cual fue adquirida en el tramo final. Un lejano segundo lugar, me asomé por el óvalo a verlo deslizarse más allá de la meta. Barry, quien se suicidó en 1992, fue considerado un corredor de élite falta sólo una más de velocidad, algo que le impidió llegar nunca a un equipo olímpico. En el momento en que terminé la carrera, que ya tenía en sus sudores. Cuando, años más tarde, leí de su suicidio (al parecer por motivos económicos), me preguntaba cómo alguien aparentemente tan exitoso podría terminar su vida por entrar en el garaje, a partir de un Mercedes de color rojo, y dejarla funcionar. Dejó atrás a su esposa, un niño de 7 años de edad, y una nota diciendo que tenía a quién recurrir. El hijo, Darren, comprensiblemente, triste y enojado, más tarde se convirtió en un mismo corredor. Cuando se rompió la milla de 4 minutos en los repetidores de Texas en 2008 (3:59.99), se convirtió en el back-end del primer padre dúo hijo / tanto para romper esa barrera de referencia, algo digno de ver. (Www.news.youthrunner.com / noticias / noticia / darren-marrones-raza-de-toda una vida; http://www.runnersworld.com / artículo / o, 7120, s6-243-297-13.149-2-1X2X3X4X5X6X7X8X9X10- 11,00. html).
Barry era un miembro de la legendaria pista del Club de la Florida, junto con Frank y otros corredores de gran éxito. Mi auto-comparación con Frank, débil como era, terminó allí. Frank Shorter abovedados al estrellato a nivel nacional, clasificado como el mejor corredor de EE.UU. en 10.000 metros y el maratón de 1972. Fui a Dedham. En los Juegos Olímpicos, Frank corrió por primera vez en la final de 10.000 metros, celebrada el 3 de septiembre, terminando quinto a un rendimiento récord mundial por Lasse Viren de Finlandia (que también ganó los 5000 metros). Dos días después, las cosas se pusieron feas. Hay eventos en la vida que se destacan por su audacia, su impacto en cada uno de nosotros. Los asesinatos de John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy, John Lennon, los acontecimientos del 9 / 11. Para las personas mayores, tal vez la amenaza de Hitler, la Batalla de Normandía o de Hiroshima. Y para los mayores que todavía, tal vez el hundimiento del Titanic, el juicio y la electrocución de Sacco y Vanzetti, el crack bursátil de 1929, o la Gran Depresión. Estos son eventos que todo el mundo efecto, entrar en la conciencia colectiva. Otros eventos, igualmente audaz, igualmente difícil de comprender, son más personales, como la reacción de la familia al suicidio de un padre, la carga de mantener un secreto de familia, o, sí, la reacción de un niño al abandono.
Los Juegos Olímpicos de Munich en 1972 (denominado el ¨ ¨ Feliz Juegos por agentes alemanes) fueron las primeras en Alemania desde el fiasco de los Juegos de Adolf Hitler en 1936. Hitler destinados a desfilar ante el mundo su visión de un superior, carrera a pie · aria ¨ (que ni siquiera existen). Fue superado por un excelente atleta negro Jesse Owens, que ganó cuatro de pista y campo derecho medallas de oro frente al Führer. Después de que Hitler sólo sacudió las manos de los alemanes ganadores de la medalla de oro en el primer día, los funcionarios olímpicos dirigido de manera similar que debe reconocer a todos los ganadores, o ninguno de ellos. Él escogió ninguno. Mientras que los medios de comunicación tuvieron un día de campo retratar a los atletas negro americano que muestra a Hitler y su concepto de la supremacía racial, fue abrumadoramente en silencio un par de semanas más tarde, cuando John Robinson, un negro estadounidense ganador medalla de oro (800 metros de ejecución), se les niega el derecho para competir en una carrera de atletismo en la Academia Naval de los EE.UU. porque era negro – un héroe en Alemania (donde, Owens y otros atletas de negro fueron vitoreados por multitudes nazis, si no por el Führer), una descalificación en el hogar. (Www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/olympics//detail.php?content=aa_athletes&lang=en).
En agosto de 1970 mi pronto-a-ser esposa y yo visitamos Munich, junto con un amigo de la universidad. La ciudad, entonces parte de Alemania Occidental, se estaba preparando para los Juegos 1972, Juegos una diseñada para curar algunas de las heridas causadas por Hitler y su búsqueda por el dominio mundial de su raza aria confeccionados. Habíamos alquilado un poco de Renault para el verano, con un cambio de 5 velocidades en el salpicadero. Una mañana temprano me llevó alrededor de una rotonda en hora punta, tomar lo que yo pensaba que era una salida de salir de la ciudad hacia Fussen, una ciudad de Baviera cerca de la zona del Castillo de Mad Ludwig. En su lugar, nos encontramos (yo todavía no sé cómo) de conducción en las vías del tren en uno de los pocos por encima del suelo estaciones de U-Bahn. El U-Bahn, el sistema de ferrocarril eléctrico de Munich, se encontraba en medio de una actualización para los próximos Juegos Olímpicos. Entrar en la estación en las vías, nos encontramos con miradas ario-como de los varios centenares de alemanes de pie sobre la plataforma de hormigón por encima de nosotros y mirando por la pista para su tren de la mañana. Sentirse muy inferior, que se estrelló en reversa y se retiró a la rotonda antes de que el próximo tren U-Bahn puñetazos nuestro boleto. Con seguridad de vuelta en la rotonda, me detuve a preguntar cómo llegar a Neuschwanstein (Mad Ludwig): ¨ ¡Ay ista Fussen ¨, me preguntó, en alemán (Boston estilo) a un peatón rubio, de ojos azules, que proporcionó mi rubia, de ojos azules cara con una explicación detallada y completamente indescifrable en perfecto alemán – a la que amablemente respondió ¨ Shein Danke, ¨ volvió en el Renault, y sacó el mapa aún no fiables.
En la madrugada del 5 de septiembre de 1972, con 6 días para que termine de juegos, ocho terroristas palestinos, que pertenece a un grupo llamado Septiembre Negro, entraron en el complejo Olímpico de Múnich en ropa deportiva y llevar bolsas de tela de lana basta ocultar fusiles de asalto AK, pistolas Tokarev y granadas . Pronto entró en apartamentos utilizados por los miembros del equipo israelí. En la lucha que se produjo dos atletas fueron asesinados de inmediato y los israelíes 9, que no escaparon fueron tomados como rehenes. El uso de máscaras de esquí de aspecto misterioso, y el vertimiento el cuerpo de los muertos israelíes (Moshe Weinberg) fuera de la puerta del apartamento, Septiembre Negro exigieron la liberación de más de 200 palestinos y otros detenidos en cárceles israelíes. Israel anunció que no habría negociación. Después de casi 18 horas, los terroristas y los rehenes fueron trasladados en helicóptero a una base aérea de la OTAN (Furstenfeldbruck), aparentemente para volar a El Cairo, Egipto. Las autoridades alemanas planeado un intento de rescate, a pesar de que subestimar el número de terroristas. En la batalla, todos los rehenes fueron asesinados, 5 (consolidados y los indefensos) un disparo en uno de los helicópteros y luego incinerados por una granada lanzada en la cabina por un terrorista (Luttif Afif, el líder). Los otros cuatro fueron ametrallados a la muerte. Todos menos tres de los terroristas murieron. Según la mayoría de las cuentas, los alemanes se consideró que la mala gestión de asalto a mano armada a los terroristas. Los tres terroristas capturados, uno de los cuales fingida muerte en la pista, fueron encarcelados. Jim McKay, que cubre los Juegos Olímpicos de ABC, fue en el aire poco antes de las 3:30 am para corregir los informes anteriores de los rehenes se había salvado. Yo todavía estaba viendo. ¨ Se han ido todos. ¨
El 29 de octubre de 1972, menos de 2 meses después de lo que llegó a ser conocido como la Masacre de Múnich, dos terroristas secuestraron un Boeing 727 de Lufthansa en Beirut, el Líbano y ordenó que sea trasladado a Munich. Exigieron la liberación de los terroristas restantes 3 Septiembre Negro en espera de juicio en Alemania Occidental. El gobierno alemán estuvo rápidamente de acuerdo y dos de los terroristas fueron trasladados de inmediato a Libia a los héroes de la bienvenida. Los israelíes no fueron consultados. La evidencia más tarde apareció que la liberación de Lufthansa, el secuestro y posterior de los rehenes fue, de hecho, la idea de un gobierno alemán más preocupado por los ataques terroristas en Alemania (y quizás la publicidad potencial negativo de una prueba). El Mossad israelí dice que más tarde perseguido y matado a dos de los terroristas sobrevivientes. El tercero (Jamal Al-Gashey) se presume de estar vivo todavía y, al parecer escondido en África o Siria.
Se tomó la decisión de seguir los Juegos Olímpicos, un servicio conmemorativo que se celebra en el Estadio Olímpico el 6 de septiembre, menos de 24 horas después. Las declaraciones de Avery Brundage, entonces presidente del Comité Olímpico Internacional, apenas se menciona a los olímpicos israelíes asesinados y enfurecido a muchos de los 80.000 espectadores. Los Juegos se continuó con la plena aprobación del gobierno israelí (aunque su equipo restante se retiró). La atmósfera había cambiado para muchos atletas, que ya no sentía el deseo de competir (aunque la mayoría se quedó). Holandés fondista José Hermans, según fue citado ¨ Usted dar una fiesta y alguien es asesinado en la fiesta, no seguir la fiesta. Me voy a casa ¨.
Cuatro días más tarde el maratón olímpico, el evento final de los Juegos, se llevó a cabo. Si iba a haber otro ataque terrorista, el maratón fue el blanco probable. De Seguridad ha sido finalmente aumentó después de la crisis de los rehenes y la masacre, pero no hubo manera legítima de seguridad las 26 millas de la regata por las calles y parques de Munich. Había rumores de otro ataque terrorista, prevista para la ceremonia de clausura. Una avioneta fue robada de Stuttgart y la información que se indica terroristas árabes planeaban colocar una bomba en la Ceremonia de Clausura. Aviones de combate fueron enviados a seguir el plano con instrucciones para darla de baja si se acercaba a Munich. El avión nunca fue encontrado. Aún conmocionado por la masacre, he seguido la carrera en la televisión, el enraizamiento – aunque tenue de la fantasía -. De Frank, en un ¨ que podría haber sido mi estado de ánimo · Años antes de que me prometí a mi madre, que cada año el Patriot día me llevó de Needham sobre la Heartbreak Hill, en la avenida Commonwealth para ver el maratón de Boston, que iba a terminar la carrera que yo un día – lo hice, aunque no hasta el año 1977. El curso de Munich maratón, que cubre el estándar de 26 millas, 385 yardas, fue diseñado sin apretar para formar la silueta de la mascota olímpica oficial, Waldi (a primeros Juegos Olímpicos). Diseñado por Otl Aicher (que más tarde murió a causa de un accidente de cortadora de césped) Waldi era un perro salchicha, y sus colores coinciden con los de los anillos olímpicos (con exclusión de los colores nazi de negro y rojo). La carrera se corrió en sentido antihorario, comenzando en la parte posterior del cuello Waldi y delineando la forma de su cuerpo de perro salchicha, con su extremo posterior representada por el Inglés de Múnich, Jardín, y la entrada al Estadio Olímpico de completar la silueta de nuevo en la base de Waldi de cuello. (Www.swifterhigher.com/2008/07/meet-the-mascots-waldi-munich.php).
Frank corrió la carrera como corredor de pista, con los aumentos repentinos de la velocidad para desafiar a los demás corredores. En la marca de nueve millas, una vez horquilla ayudó a darle una ventaja de 5 yardas. Solía que romper con el paquete (lo siento Waldi). La próxima vez que se veía que tenía una ventaja de 50 yardas. El aumento se prolongó durante 8 kilómetros, y construyó una ventaja de más de 2 minutos sobre sus competidores más cercanos, Karel Lismot de Bélgica y Mamo Walde de Etiopía. En ese momento se desaceleró, pero no mirar hacia atrás. Frank entrenados para que la raza mediante la ejecución de más de 180 millas por semana. Ahora, él tenía un tercio de la carrera, cerca de 9 millas, de izquierda a reclamar una medalla de oro olímpica. A menos de 3 millas de él el final, sabía por experiencia que estaba corriendo más rápido que su cuerpo le estaba diciendo. Escuchando a su mente, corrió a través del dolor de acercarse a la entrada del estadio. Ningún estadounidense había ganado el maratón olímpico desde que Johnny Hayes en 1908, precedida por Thomas J. Hicks en 1904 (De hecho, fueron los únicos). Cerca del estadio se escuchó un estruendo grande, que atribuyó a reacción del público a un lanzador de peso o el saltador de altura. Entrar en el túnel que lleva a la pista para sus tres cuartas partes de una vuelta a la línea de meta, se imaginó el rugido de 70.000 espectadores. Acabando en la pista del estadio, oyó …. nada. Un estudiante de secundaria (Norbert Sudhaus) había saltado al campo de un cuarto de milla de la meta y entró en el estadio como el ganador ¨ ¨. Sudhaus tiene el rugido de la multitud, no Frank. Eric Segal, una de Yale (alma mater Shorter), profesor de clásicas y el autor de la historia de amor (el amor significa nunca tener que decir lo siento), fue uno de los comentaristas de la televisión de ABC Sports. Él (y yo) fue de apoplejía. ¿Cómo puede ser esto? En lugar de aplausos, Frank escuchó silbidos y abucheos (por Sudhaus, que parece haber vuelto a caer en el anonimato), pensando para sí mismo, ¨ Está bien, soy un americano en Europa, pero me da un descanso. ¨ Los funcionarios dieron cuenta de la injusticia y la corrieron el falso fuera de la pista. Frank ganó la carrera en el segundo tiempo más rápido cada vez.
Los Juegos Olímpicos habían terminado. Mark Spitz ganó siete medallas de oro, estableciendo un récord mundial cada vez (y, de ser judío, se vio obligado a salir antes de la ceremonia de clausura debido a la posibilidad de ser un objetivo terrorista más). Olga Korbut gritó, obtuvo un 9,8 en las barras asimétricas que todo el mundo, excepto los jueces creía que era un 10,0. Ella aún así ganó tres medallas de oro y una de plata. El equipo masculino de baloncesto de EE.UU. perdió a la URSS en el juego de baloncesto más controvertidos en la historia olímpica. Un juego de dos árbitros dirigido ¨ ° ¿en off dio a los soviéticos tres ocasiones de gol en los últimos 3 segundos. Los dos primeros no tuvieron éxito, y el pensamiento americano que había ganado. El tercero fue un éxito y contó, como resultado de la pérdida por primera vez a los Estados Unidos desde que el baloncesto se incluyó en los Juegos de 1936. Un atractivo del juego por los estadounidenses se negaron y se aprobará sobre la Guerra Fría líneas. Frank Shorter ganó la Maratón Olímpica, lo que desató una locura correr en los Estados Unidos (incluido yo). Y el terrorismo dio un nuevo rostro, más audaz.
Era domingo, Al día siguiente llegué a casa de mis clases del colegio de abogados, aparcamiento mi luz azul Toyota 1900, compró usado, en la calzada de alquitrán recién pavimentada negro corriendo todo el lado izquierdo de la casa de nuevo a una por separado independiente garaje. Un día soleado, me subí por las escaleras de madera gris de ancho, y abrió el buzón negro pequeño al lado de la puerta de vidrio. En ella fue una pieza de correo, un sobre blanco que me ha dirigido a la Agencia de Detectives Simmons.

Espadas y Sandalias

A la espera del informe de la Agencia de Detectives Simmons, comencé mi segundo año de la escuela de leyes en septiembre. El año antes de que alquilamos un apartamento del ático, con paredes inclinadas hacia adentro, a 160 Riverside Drive en Westport, cerca de una milla de la estación de tren. Yo conmutada cada día en Nueva Metro North Railroad línea Haven, luego de tomar el Lexington Avenue Express del metro de Nueva York para mis clases de la Escuela de Derecho de Brooklyn (mala idea). Tuvimos un gato llamado Teseo (inspirado en el viaje a Europa en el verano de 1971). Según la leyenda griega, Teseo fue engendrado por dos padres, Auspicios y Poseidón, en la misma noche. Poco después de su nacimiento Teseo fue abandonada por Aegis, el rey de Atenas (los padres sólo que nunca conoció?). Fue criado en la ignorancia de sus derechos de nacimiento (¿se imaginan?). Cada año en su cumpleaños de su madre, Aethra, lo mandó a levantar una gran roca, que finalmente fue capaz de mover al llegar a 18. Bajo la roca que se encuentran un par de sandalias y una espada, regalos de Aegis. Aethra luego lo envió a Atenas para presentar al rey. Al verlas el Rey sabía Teseo era su hijo. Más tarde, Teseo fue envenenado casi, mató al Minotauro, se enamoró de la hija de Minos, rey ‘(que posteriormente lo abandonó), se convirtió en rey de Atenas (tras el suicidio de su padre en el mar antes de ser llamado del mar Egeo), y luego fue asesinado por recibir un empujón de un precipicio. Por lo menos él consiguió su derecho de nacimiento. (Www.hmstheseus.co.uk / legend.htm; www.greeka.com / Attica / Atenas / Atenas-mitos / theseus.htm). Y yo pensé que eran sólo nombres de nuestro gato, que estaba también sin un derecho de nacimiento y le gustaba pasar el rato en el patio, durmiendo con quien estaba disponible.
En mi primer año en la escuela de leyes, mi viaje a Brooklyn (si todo ha ido bien) tomó alrededor de una hora y media – en cada sentido. Mi plan para estudiar en el tren se descarriló porque había demasiadas distracciones. Era imposible estudiar en el metro. Al final de mi primer semestre, me senté en el número 6 de tren expreso, en algún lugar entre la estación Grand Central y del condado de Hall, en mi camino a mi primer examen, los contratos. El profesor, Edward J. Fagan, infundió temor en los corazones de cada estudiante de primer año (a pesar de que una vez consiguió la mitad de la clase a reír cuando describió un marcapasos artificial como tener una ¨ garantía de por vida ¨ – la otra mitad de la clase al parecer, ¿No ‘t se obtiene). Mi libro estaba contratos sin abrir en mi regazo. Yo estaba demasiado agotada para estudiar más. Al otro lado del pasillo me di cuenta de un compañero de clase de revisar un libro de agravios. ¿Cómo podría ser el estudio de agravios en su camino a uno de los exámenes notorio profesor Fagan contratos? Incomprensible. Tenía que decir algo, grietas una broma débil sobre la planificación por delante (a la vez que rápidamente el cálculo de las opciones que un examen de agravios en mi futuro inmediato). Él no se rió. Él sólo le devolvió la mirada, sin comprender. ¨ Usted quiere decir que tienen contratos de hoy en día? · Estaba en la cabeza, y él apenas estaba la nota. Espero que no necesitaba un marcapasos.
Finley Hall, el nuevo hogar de la Ley de St. John’s School (cortesía de una importante donación de León Finley, un importante abogado de Nueva York), se inauguró en septiembre de 1972 sobre la base del campus universitario de la Universidad en Jamaica, Queens. No había forma de prácticas que podrían seguir viaje desde Westport – el viaje a Brooklyn era bastante malo. Y, entonces, comenzó a buscar un nuevo apartamento, finalmente alquilar la segunda planta de una casa en el Mayflower Avenue en New Rochelle, Nueva York, propiedad de la señora Miele, un corto dulce señora italiana que hablaba con acento fuertemente Inglés y deliciosa salsa hecha con tomates pasado de su jardín del patio trasero. También consiguió un segundo coche para poder conducir de ida y vuelta a Queens – New Rochelle era más o menos equidistante entre la Facultad de Derecho y el trabajo de mi esposa la enseñanza en Armonk.
Para llegar a nuestro apartamento del segundo piso se accede por el vestíbulo principal. Invariablemente, la señora Miele estaba allí para recibirnos. Viuda, su marido murió en el piso de la sala de un ataque al corazón sufrido años antes frente a la chimenea. Cada día se menciona a su marido y muchas veces escenifica sus últimos momentos. Me encantó la señora Miele y su Inglés roto. Ella vino a los Estados Unidos desde Italia en sus primeros 30 años junto con su esposo y los niños 5. Los chicos crecieron hasta convertirse en médicos, enfermeras e ingenieros. La Sra. Miele continuó viviendo en la misma casa, visitar a su esposo la tumba de la semana y tendiendo su jardín del patio trasero de hierbas y verduras. Nos quedamos allí dos años, hasta que tomé el New York State Bar examen después de la graduación de la escuela de derecho en 1974. Siempre se mantuvo en contacto con la Sra. Miele y la ayudó a una o dos veces, cuando se encontró con un inquilino recalcitrantes (después de que ella trataría de pagarme, yo me negaría, y entonces ella se presentaba en mi oficina en White Plains con 3 botellas de whisky irlandés nunca le conté a mi familia Inglés). Un día me detuve a su visita, y era evidente que estaba empezando a fallar. Ella me saludó con gusto, me mostró la repisa de la chimenea, y ofreció unas palabras sobre su todavía esposo partió. Entonces me senté en la cocina a la mesa de formica mismo, en una silla de metal con un colchón de plástico rojo. Había una enfermera negro que tiende a la señora de Miele ollas en la estufa, de la que la señora estaba visiblemente perturbado Miele. Sentado a mi lado, en uno de los momentos preciados de la vida, la señora Miele empezó a susurrar a mí en italiano (por lo que la enfermera no se entiende). A pesar de que no reconocía una sola palabra italiana, comprendí por completo. La próxima vez que pasé por comprobar, tanto la señora Miele y la casa se habían ido, ella para reunirse con su marido, la casa a lugares desconocidos.
Fue en ese apartamento que empecé mi búsqueda en serio. Cada día me esperaba tener noticias de la Agencia de Detectives Simmons, y cada día oí nada. Yo estaba buscando una solución rápida, esperando una llamada telefónica: ¨ Oye, Don, ¿tiene un papel y lápiz a mano. Ella es al 617-xxx-xxxx. Ella vive en Boston, no lejos de donde vivía cuando se adoptaron. Su dirección es tal y tal. Ella no sabe que sabe. ¨ espera que ella sea en Boston, o cerca de ella. Yo esperaba que su vida no había cambiado tanto como la mía. Después de todo, ella me mandó a una vida diferente mientras se mantiene la suya. Pero la llamada no llegaba. Después de algunas semanas, creció evidente que no era probable que una llamada. El siguiente paso iba a tener que venir de mí. Comencé a preguntarme si mi 125 dólares era una mini-sesión de shakedown, una falsa promesa diseñado para extraer de mí todo lo que pudiera tener. Por otra parte, $ 125 parecía una sesión de shakedown bastante insignificante, incluso para 1972. Luché para saber qué hacer, pues no quería parecer demasiado ansioso (por qué?). Yo estaba viendo a mí mismo actuar en una obra de teatro, y la parte que se llama el carácter razonable, intelectual interesados, aunque retirado de sentimiento. Yo hacía el papel con aplomo (que ayudó a que yo era el director), aunque con cada semana que pasa (día?) El papel se hizo más exigente, más imposible de representar. Yo estaba esperando a Godot. ¿Quién era Godot? Tal vez era yo, dando vueltas como loco tratando de mantener el silencio en la bahía. (Www.samuel-beckett.net/Waiting_for_Godot_Part1.html).
Finalmente reunido la voluntad de llamar al señor Simmons. A su favor, de inmediato respondió a mi llamada, me habló. Él era, como él decía, trabajando en mi informe, me lo esperaba por correo en pocos días. Se ofreció información concreta. Colgué el teléfono, creyendo que nada había sido realizado, pero espera que su promesa de un informe era cierto. Me recordó que había pagado sólo $ 125. También sabía que no podía permitirse más. No era como yo iba a pedir a mis padres adoptivos para un préstamo. Esta fue una de lleno en mí. El ir a Boston a buscar por mi cuenta no era una opción, como clases de la escuela de leyes estaban a punto de comenzar. No fue el regalo de Dios para la comunidad legal y necesaria para poner todos los esfuerzos posibles en el estudio (aunque a menudo parecía un éxito como abogado se predijo con exactitud en proporción inversa a lo bien que uno realiza en la escuela de derecho – por dicha medida, me gustaba mi posibilidades). Esperando el informe era la única opción. Fue también el más fácil. Mi espada y las sandalias eran opacas. Yo no tenía una copia del consentimiento para la adopción, después de haber sido demasiado miedo al riesgo de descubrimiento – aunque, por qué o por quién no estaba entonces seguro. Mi espada y sandalias, aunque definitivo, aún no se han descubierto.

En El Camino Otra Vez

Por mucho que yo podría pensar que 1972 fue todo acerca de mí, otras cosas que paso también. La revista Time, por ejemplo, llamado Clifford Irving hombre Con ¨ de la ¨ Año por falsificar AN ° autorizados · Biografía de Howard Hughes, el ingeniero increíblemente ricos / empresario / productor de la película (Ángeles del Infierno) y director de cine y filántropo. Algunos pensaban que la reclusión de Hughes estaba muerto. Intro, la derecha del escenario, el autor de Irving. A pesar de que nunca había hablado incluso a Hughes, que jugó el ermitaño no se presentará a disputar la demanda de Irving. McGraw Hill, el editor, se fue all-in, Irving pagar más de $ 750,000. Más tarde supimos que el autor entonces esposa (que ha tenido unos cuantos, como yo) depositó el dinero en una cuenta bancaria en Suiza, que abrió, falsamente, en el nombre de HR Hughes (Helga R. Hughes). (Www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/01/28/60II/main154661.shtml). Hubo escépticos, sin duda, pero Irving fue tan lejos como para engañar a ese asesino de gigantes, Mike Wallace, en 60 minutos (si no los camarógrafos). El show salió al aire justo después de los Vaqueros de golpear a los Dolphins, 24-3 el 16 de enero de 1972, en el Super Bowl VI (que fue la temporada siguiente, la mordaza, era perfecto para Don Shula y Morris Mercurio).
Clifford la Conferencia se ha deshecho cuando Hughes aceptó una conferencia telefónica simultánea con siete periodistas, denunciando el fraude del autor. La mayoría de nosotros cree Irving, o que por lo menos de enraizamiento para él en una especie de DB Cooper, de manera (Cooper es el hombre que secuestró un noroeste de Oriente Boeing 727 un día antes de Acción de Gracias de 1971. Exigir cuatro paracaídas y $ 200,000.00 en billetes sin marcar, DB bebió un whisky bourbon (por la que se ofreció a pagar) a la espera del rescate. A partir de entonces, saltó del avión con el dinero. El FBI sigue buscando a él. No se ve bien). www.en.wikipedia.org / wiki / D._B._Cooper).
Durante la entrevista con Mike Wallace en 60 minutos, nuestro hijo Clifford contó la historia de la reunión de Howard Hughes, por primera vez, junto con su investigador, Richard Suskind: ¨ Y Hughes dijo: “Supongo que sabes quién soy? ‘ Suskind dijo que «si lo hago al Sr. Hughes. Empezó a sacar la mano y luego se retiró al instante, porque Hughes no está muy interesado en estrechar la mano. Hughes metió la mano en el bolsillo y sacó una bolsa. Todavía no están de acuerdo. Yo digo que fue una bolsa de celofán. Suskind dice que era una bolsa de papel. Y él le dijo a Dick Suskind, “Tener una ciruela pasa? ‘Y Suskind tomó una ciruela pasa y le dijo:« Este es un orgánico de ciruela pasa, ¿no? “, Dijo Hughes,` Sí, sí. ¿Cómo lo sabes? “Él dijo:” Este es el único tipo que comer. Todo lo demás son veneno. “Y luego se apaga y se ejecuta en un debate sobre los alimentos orgánicos y vitaminas y lo que no, mientras yo estaba allí como un tonto.” (Www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/01/28/ 60II/main154661.shtml)
¿Cómo no lo hemos creído? Incluso Irving dijo: “Yo me habría creído si me enteré de que.” El diablo está en los detalles. Nos quedamos allí mirando, como maniquíes. ¿Y por qué estábamos alentando a un hombre en un lazo negro y gafas de sol negro con una madre perla negro de pasador de unión (antigua base de datos), mientras pasa por alto el hecho de que pasó una nota amenazando a la azafata, Florencia Schaffner. Florencia bajó la nota, sin leer, en el bolsillo, pensando equivocadamente DB estaba compartiendo su número de teléfono personal, con lo cual DB cortésmente le invitamos a leer la nota porque ¨ Tengo una bomba. · En caso de paracaidismo del avión con el botín a las 8:13 pm (la lluvia), en algún lugar al este de Ariel, Washington, DB desaparecido. Se convirtió en una leyenda, un tipo tan genial que podría haber sido Robert Palmer en el video musical de Simply Irresistible. (Http://new.music.yahoo.com/videos/RobertPalmer/Simply-Irresitible–36511210). De hecho, D.B. Cooper no era el verdadero nombre del chico ni su alias actual. Más bien fue la creación de un medio a un público hambriento y voraz. Juntos hemos creado la única D.B. Cooper, que jamás hemos conocido.
Si un autor simple podría haber mentido a nosotros de manera tan convincente, si se podría haber tirado abiertamente al ladrón (amable), que se escabulló con una pequeña fortuna, ¿qué íbamos a estar en manos de un gobierno que pueda estar con nosotros? Nos encontramos muy pronto con el caso Watergate, que (lo has adivinado) se inició en junio de 1972 (justo un mes antes de que viera mis registros de adopción) con la primera de dos robos en la sede del Comité Nacional Demócrata. Los robos, junto con la ayuda de John Dean y Garganta Profunda (bueno, y Woodward y Bernstein), culminó con la renuncia del presidente Nixon dos años más tarde. Durante su campaña para la reelección en octubre de 1972 (iba a aplastar a George McGovern), Nixon montó en el Norte a través de la avenida en New Rochelle, Nueva York junto con su esposa Pat, empujando a través de un toldo corredizo abierto de la limusina presidencial, saludando a una multitud . Yo estaba allí, justo delante de la taberna Iglesia (hamburguesas). No me devuelven el saludo. (Www.thewashingtonpost.com / wp-srv / política / especiales / esclusa).
No es de extrañar que ¨ American Pie ° fue el éxito número uno de la mayor parte de 1972? (Www.oldies.aboutcom/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.understandingamericanpie.com). ¿Podría ser que este momento, este año, es cuando las malas noticias llegaron a mi puerta? ¿Y por qué es importante todo esto – ¿por qué aquí, ahora, en mi historia? Aunque yo estaba buscando a mi madre biológica, que estaba buscando a mí mismo. Para entender (la medida de lo que pude) lo que sucedió en los dos primeros años de mi vida y lo que significó para mí, para entender, sentir, el contexto en que sucedió todo. ¿Dónde estaba yo en 1946? ¿Cuál fue como Boston? ¿De dónde voy a vivir? ¿Con quién? ¿Qué estaba pasando? ¿Cuál fue la música, el ritmo, el ritmo? Yo quería a tararear la melodía. Que resultó tan cierto para los inicios (formal) de mi búsqueda, en 1972, como lo hizo para el final, que finalmente me llevó todo el camino de regreso a Boston de 1946.
Adoptados hablar de fantasías. Sin saber la verdad, que construirlo. Para algunos su madre era una famosa actriz, una aventurera, una persona famosa, a pesar de que rara vez resulta cierto. Sabía diferentes. No estoy seguro de por qué, pero nunca pensé en mi madre biológica de esa manera. Yo no fantasear de mi vida con ella, al menos no en 1972. Yo quería que la realidad, lo que fuera. Sólo dime lo que pasó. Al menos eso es lo que yo pensaba que yo quería. Y es en este contexto que comencé mi búsqueda de mi madre biológica. Que yo julio leer (y queridos) The Boys of Summer, una memoria lírica escrita por Roger Kahn (www.rogerkahn.com). Alrededor de la 1952/1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (cuando Kahn fue un escritor fantástico para el New York Herald Tribune), el libro es, en parte, sobre su relación con su padre, Gordon Kahn, quien murió en 1953 poco después de que los Dodgers perdieron la 1953 de la Serie Mundial al otro equipo de Nueva York. Mientras fielmente un ventilador de los Medias Rojas (a pesar de mudarse a Nueva York que de septiembre), sentí una conexión con la historia de Kahn que no lo comprendiesen entonces. Lo hago ahora. Ese año, también fue al cine: Cabaret, El Padrino, Lady Sings the Blues. Vi La copa dorada en Masterpiece Theater y Colombo, Monday Night Football, y Mary Tyler Moore Show. Y escuché a Don McLean (American Pie), Bob Dylan (mirando el río, Cuando mi obra maestra de pintura), los Eagles (Take It Easy, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Witchy Woman) y, por supuesto, Tom Rush (en la camino otra vez, No Regrets, Who Do You Love). Vi por primera vez Tom Rush en el Club 47 en Mount Auburn Street, cerca de Harvard Square (www.tomrush.com/club47.html). Yo era un chico de secundaria que pretende ser un estudiante universitario y que sucedió en la escena folk de Boston Renacimiento. Me enganché, all-in Me ayudó a tararear mi canción. Ahora, a finales del verano de 1972, quería ir a los camerinos.

Chasing My Rainbow Circle

It was thin, the size of a college rejection letter. I wanted to be alone. I already was, but I wanted to be more alone. Unlocking the front door, I walked slowly up to our apartment and sat on a window seat under an oversized bay window. Outside, an oak tree dimmed the sun. Hiccuping for a breath, I watched my fingers slit the white envelope. The Agency’s report was inside – typewritten, single-spaced, mostly on one page, a little spilling over to a second. I scanned it and quickly confirmed what I somehow knew already – they had not found Virginia. Essentially the report was compiled from a review of public records, most likely records maintained right in their office. Today, most of the information could be found quickly on the Internet, but as of 1972  Al Gore had not yet invented it.

There was, to be sure, helpful information, including Virginia’s birthdate in 1924. The report provided the names of her parents, their dates of birth, as well as other potential relatives (including the name Cleasby, seemingly the maternal grandparents, which would come of use later). From the information, it was apparent my mother grew up in Haverhill, Massachusetts. An old address was provided. There were no current addresses. The Washington Street address my birthmother used when she signed the Consent for Adoption was now a Chinese Restaurant. It may have been a Chinese Restaurant in 1948. Dead end. Interestingly, the report stated my mother married in 1948, to a guy named Edward Yedlin, from New York City. His family address on the Upper West Side was listed. There was not much else.

I placed the letter on my lap. There was no number to call, no current address to visit, seemingly nothing that would quickly complete my search. My fantasy that the Simmons Detective Agency would, with little effort,  provide me the information I needed was gone. If I were able to be honest with myself (I wasn’t), what I really wanted was for my birth mother to find me. She seemed to have departed for parts unknown. Me too. If I had known then what I know now, there was enough information in the report for me to hop in my little Toyota Coupe and go back up north. I didn’t. I could have sung along to the new Tom Rush tape  – ¨Merrimack County,¨ looking for my own rainbow circle (www.cowboylyrics.com/tabs/rush-tom/merrimack-county-2240.html). Tom Rush’s Merrimack County is in New Hampshire, but the river, the Merrimack (or Merrimac to my parents), is the same one that curves through Haverhill, meandering down from its origins at the southwestern tip of Lake Winnipesaukee. On the other side of the Lake, Wolfeboro (America’s oldest summer resort, maybe), and later the Barber’s Pole on Tuftonboro Neck, were second homes to my family for over 100 years. They are as much as part of me, maybe more so, as Needham. Needham was where my friends were. Wolfeboro was where I learned to be friends with myself.

I knew little of Haverhill, though I thought of it in the same vein as Manchester, New Hampshire. We drove through Manchester each time the family travelled up to the lake, sometimes speeding through on the Everett Turnpike, taking the Hooksett exit to pass over the Merrimac River on a one lane bridge; other times taking the local route over the Queen City Bridge and up Routes 3 and 28 (avoiding a highway toll), past the old Indian Cliff Trading Post totem pole and on through Hooksett towards the Lakes Region. We studied Manchester in college, Economics 101, using a Robert J. Samuelson textbook that cited Manchester (shoes and hats) as an example of a failed industrial city due to poor economic foresight. Haverhill (shoes and hats) seemed in a similar canoe. Both were industrial cities. Both had failed to reinvest in its plants and machinery. In time, both were supplanted by other locations with better technology. Though now thriving again, in 1972 they seemed, well, tired.

The Adoption Movement was just gathering momentum at that time. There were few search organizations, and the ones that did exist were feeling their way. Many adoptees still felt guilty about searching. It was an issue that haunted me. I would tiptoe through my search, I reasoned. My adoptive parents need not know. No sense in hurting them. Virginia’s family need not know. This was between me and her. I had a right to know what happened to me for two years. In the same breath, I believed I did not have a right to unnecessarily disrupt Virginia’s life (no matter how much she had disrupted mine). I would quietly go about my business, finding my birthmother, tapping her on the shoulder, and asking her for the inside scoop on what happened. I know now I should have willed myself back to New England; that it was the most direct approach to finding Virginia. I didn’t think so then. Years later, I helped another adopted person find her birthmother. We knew only that my friend was born at home, as well as the general Brooklyn neighborhood where the birth occurred some 25 years before. One Saturday morning we took the subway down to Brooklyn, the same Lexington Avenue line I used to ride to my first year law school classes. We made our way to the neighborhood where she was born. We spent hours going from shop to shop, looking for people who had lived in that area for many years. Finding several, we asked if they remembered a baby born at home in the neighborhood about the time of my friend’s birthdate. Incredibly, we eventually found someone, a butcher I think, who vaguely recalled such a birth and knew the building. He pointed to it, just down the street. In a matter of days, my friend found her birthmother who lived a scant 10 blocks away. They ended up living together. It is sometimes amazing how much you can learn from so little. But for me, in 1972, other facts were at play.

First, there were law school classes. St. John’s kept attendance in every class, and reported the results to the State Bar upon graduation. If you missed more than 5 classes you did not receive credit for the course. It was going to be difficult enough for me to get credit by passing a final examination. I didn’t need issues about absence to make a tenuous situation worse. Second, there was the issue of money. I didn’t have it. Newly married, we were surviving on my wife’s teaching income. Spare cash was not in abundance. Paying for further services of the Simmons Detective Agency was not even discussed. While the Agency gave me reasonable value for the little money I paid, I could envision an intensive search costing what to me would amount to a small fortune. Third, I was swayed by the fact my mother married someone from New York City. I had names and a family address with which to work. I decided I would take on the search myself. If I found Edward Yedlin, I would find Virginia.

I settled into the second year of law school along with my new commute to Queens, speeding down Route 95 each morning and joining the backlog of cars waiting to pay the toll at the Throgs Neck Bridge, which connected the Bronx with the Bayside section of Queens. I sometimes car-pooled with a classmate who also lived in New Rochelle, but I never spoke with him about my search. The social circle of my wife and I essentially surrounded other teachers and administrators from my her teaching position in Armonk. Other than her, I did not have a close friend in Westchester, not anyone with whom to share my trip to Dedham and what it meant for me. I found myself thinking of it more and more, though I tried to limit it to deciding how I would go about searching. I treated it as an investigation, which it was, though I did not then understand fully exactly what I was investigating. Did I let the genie out of the bottle, or did the bottle just break? Did it make any difference? What should I expect? More importantly, what should I do? I needed to talk with someone. My wife, as understanding as she always was, came from a close-knit, loving family. Other than explaining to her what was happening, we were not able to reach any of the dust swept under the carpet. Neither of us knew the questions, let alone the answers. Not knowing what else to do, I picked up the telephone and called B. J. Lifton

Off the Track

I was busy being busy with other things. We looked for our new apartment, bought a second car, moved from Westport to New Rochelle, bought my law books for the coming semester, took the New York State driver’s examination (congratulating ourselves for our perfect scores on a test designed for people who could barely read), and watched the Olympics – the 1972 Munich Olympics, one of those moments when time stopped.

For years I had dreams of making the Olympic team (running). I never quite got it together and ultimately accepted I was not good enough. That year, the Olympics started in late August and ran through September 11th. I was particularly interested because Frank Shorter was running in two races, the 10,000 meters and the marathon. I raced against Frank in cross-country and track, first in prep school, later in college. He always beat me at cross-country, and I sometimes beat him in the shorter distances. Frank graduated early from Yale and went to Florida to train with, among others, Barry Brown (the ¨Pied Piper of runners,¨ according to Marty Liquori). Barry, an All-American, graduated from Providence College the year before I entered Brown University, in  1965. In my freshman year, we had a ¨practice¨ meet against Providence College at the indoor track of Moses Brown, an East Providence prep school. I ran the mile, 11 laps on tight turns. Since it was not an official meet, the freshmen ran with the varsity, and Barry Brown raced as well. I thought I was pretty good. I ran with Barry, neck and neck, lap after lap. I, the upstart freshman, was going to take him down. We got to the beginning of the final lap. I felt great, just hanging off Barry’s right shoulder – and then. . . . Barry took off. He smoked me, winning by a half lap, all of which was gained on the final leg. A distant second, I peeked across the oval to watch him glide past the finish. Barry, who committed suicide in 1992, was considered an elite runner lacking only a closer’s speed, something that kept him from ever making an Olympic team. By the time I finished the race, he already had his sweats on. When, years later, I read of his suicide (apparently for financial reasons) I wondered how someone seemingly so successful could end their life by going into the garage, starting a red Mercedes, and letting it run. He left behind a wife, a 7-year-old boy, and a note saying he had nowhere to turn. The son, Darren , understandably sad and angry, later became a runner himself. When he broke the 4 minute mile at the Texas relays in 2008 (3:59.99), he became the back-end of the first father/son duo both to break that  benchmark barrier, something worth seeing.  (www.news.youthrunner.com/news/story/darren-browns-race-of-a-lifetime; www.runnersworld.com/article/o,7120,s6-243-297–13149-2-1X2X3X4X5X6X7X8X9X10-11,00.html).

Barry was a member of the fabled Florida Track Club, along with Frank and other highly succesful runners. My self-comparison with Frank, tenuous as it was, ended there. Frank Shorter vaulted into stardom on a national level, ranked the best U.S. runner at 10,000 meters and the marathon for 1972. I went to Dedham. At the Olympics, Frank raced first in the 10,000 meter final, held on September 3rd, finishing 5th to a world record performance by Lasse Viren of Finland (who also won the 5000 meters, a rare double that he would duplicate 4 years later in Montreal). Two days later, life got ugly. There are events that stand out for their sheer audacity, their impact on each of us. The assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, RFK, John Lennon; the events of 9/11. For older people, maybe the threat of Hitler, the Battle of Normandy or Hiroshima. And for those older still, perhaps the sinking of the Titanic, the trial and electrocution of Sacco and Vanzetti, the stock market crash of 1929, or the Great Depression. These are events that effect everyone, enter the collective consciousness. Other events, equally audacious, equally difficult to comprehend, are more personal, like a father’s suicide, the burden of keeping a family secret, or, yes, the abandonment of a child.

The 1972 Munich Olympic Games (dubbed the ¨Happy Games¨ by German officials) were the first held in Germany since the fiasco of Adolf Hitler‘s Games in 1936. Hitler intended to parade before the world his vision of a superior ¨Aryan¨ race (which did not even exist). He was upstaged by a superior black athlete, Jesse Owens, who won 4 track and field gold medals right under the Führer’s moustache-dotted nose. After Hitler shook only the hands of German gold medal winners on the first day, Olympic officials directed he must similarly acknowledge all of the winners, or none of them. He chose none. While the media had a field day portraying the black American athletes showing up Hitler and his concept of racial supremacy, it was overwhelmingly silent a few weeks later when John Robinson, a black American gold medal winner (800 meter run), was denied the right to compete in a track meet at the U.S. Naval Academy because he was black – a hero in Germany (where he, Owens, and other black athletes were cheered by Nazi crowds, if not by the Führer), a disqualification at home. (www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/olympics//detail.php?content=aa_athletes&lang=en).

In August, 1970 my soon-to-be wife and I visited Munich, along with a college friend. The city, then part of West Germany, was preparing for the 1972 Games, a Games designed to heal some of the wounds caused by Hitler and his quest for world dominance of his made-up Aryan race. We rented a little Renault for the summer, with a 5 speed shift on the dashboard. Early one morning I drove around a rotary at rush hour, taking what I thought was an exit heading out of the city towards Fussen, a Bavarian town near the site of Mad Ludwig’s Castle. Instead, we found ourselves (I still don’t know how) driving over train tracks into one of Munich’s few above-ground U-Bahn stations. The U-Bahn, the city’s electric railway system, was in the midst of an upgrade  for the coming Olympic Games. Entering the station on the tracks, we were met with Aryan-like stares from the several hundred Germans standing above on the concrete platform and  peering down the track for their morning train. Feeling a bit inferior, I slammed into reverse and retreated to the rotary before the next U-Bahn train punched our ticket. Safely back at the rotary, I stopped to ask directions to Neuschwanstein (Mad Ludwig’s Castle): ¨Wo ist Fussen¨, I asked, in German (Boston style) to a blond, blue-eyed pedestrian, who supplied my blond, blue-eyed face with a detailed and completely indecipherable explanation in perfect German – to which I politely answered ¨Danke shein,¨ got back in the Renault, and took out our yet to be reliable map.

In the early morning of September 5, 1972, with 6 days left in Games, 8 Palestinian terrorists, belonging to a group called Black September, entered the Munich Olympic compound in track suits and carrying duffel bags concealing AK assault rifles, Tokarev pistols and grenades.  They quickly entered apartments used by members of the Israeli team. In the struggle that ensued two athletes were killed immediately, and the 9 Israelis that did not escape were taken hostage. Wearing eerie-looking ski masks, and dumping the body one of the killed Israelis (Moshe Weinberg) outside the apartment door, Black September demanded the release of more than 200 Palestinians and others held in Israeli jails. Israel announced there would be no negotiation. After almost 18 hours the terrorists and hostages were flown by helicopter to a NATO airbase (Furstenfeldbruck), ostensibly to fly to Cairo, Egypt. The German authorities planned a rescue attempt, though they underestimated the number of terrorists. In the ensuing battle, all the hostages were killed, 5 (bound and defenseless) shot in one of the helicopters and then incinerated by a grenade tossed into the cockpit by one terrorist (Luttif Afif, the leader). The other 4 were machine-gunned to death. All but 3 of the terrorists were killed. By most accounts, the Germans were considered to have mismanaged the armed assault on the terrorists. The three captured terrorists, one of whom feigned death on the tarmac, were jailed. Jim McKay, covering the Olympics for ABC, went on the air shortly before 3:30 a.m. to correct earlier reports the hostages had been saved. I was still up watching. With the resignation of defeat hanging in the air, McKay announced: ¨They’re all gone.¨

On October 29, 1972, less than 2 months after what came to be known as the Munich Massacre, 2 terrorists hijacked a Lufthansa Boeing 727 in Beirut, Lebanon and directed that it be flown to Munich. They demanded the release of the remaining 3 Black September terrorists awaiting trial in West Germany. The German government quickly agreed and two of the terrorists were immediately flown back to Libya to heroes welcomes. The Israelis were not consulted. Evidence later implied that the Lufthansa hijacking and subsequent release of the hostages was, in fact, the brainchild of a German government worried about further terrorist events in Germany (and perhaps the potential negative publicity of a trial). The Israeli Mossad is said to have later hunted down and killed two of the surviving terrorists. The third (Jamal Al-Gashey) is presumed to be alive still and allegedly hiding in Africa or Syria.

A decision was made to continue the Olympic games, a memorial service being held in the Olympic Stadium on September 6th, less than 24 hours later. The remarks of Avery Brundage, then President of the International Olympic Committee, hardly mentioned the murdered Israeli Olympians and outraged many of the 80,000 spectators. The Games were continued with the full approval of the Israeli government (though their remaining team withdrew). The atmosphere had changed for many athletes, who no longer felt the desire to compete (though most stayed). Dutch distance runner Jos Hermans was quoted as saying  ¨You give a party and someone is killed at the party, you don’t continue the party. I’m going home.¨

Four days later the Olympic Marathon, the final event of the Games, took place. If there was to be another terrorist attack, the marathon was the likely target. Security had finally been increased after the hostage crisis and massacre, but there was no legitimate way to secure all 26+ miles of the race course through the streets and parks of Munich. There were rumors of another terrorist attack, planned for the closing ceremonies. A small airplane was stolen from Stuttgart, and information indicated Arab terrorists planned to drop a bomb on the closing ceremonies. Fighter jets were sent to follow the plane with instructions to shoot it down if it approached Munich. Mysteriously, the plane was never found. Still shell-shocked from the massacre, I followed the race on television, rooting – however tenuous the fantasy – for Frank, in a ¨that could have been me frame of mind.¨ Years before I promised my mother, who each year on Patriot’s Day drove me from Needham over to Heartbreak Hill on Commonwealth Avenue to watch the Boston Marathon, that I would finish that race myself one day (I did, though not until 1977). The Munich Marathon course, covering the standard 26 miles, 385 yards, was designed loosely to form the silhouette of the official Olympic mascot, Waldi (an Olympic first). Designed by Otl Aicher (who later died from a lawn mower accident) Waldi was a dachshund, and  his colors matched those of the Olympic rings (excluding the Nazi colors of black and red). The race was run counter-clockwise, starting at the back of Waldi’s neck and outlining the shape of  his dachshund body, with his rear end represented by Munich’s English Garden, and the entrance to the Olympic Stadium completing the silhouette back at the base of Waldi’s neck. (www.swifterhigher.com/2008/07/meet-the-mascots-waldi-munich.php).

Frank ran the race as a track runner, using surges of speed to challenge the other runners. At the 9 mile mark, a hair pin turn (Waldi’s mouth!) helped give him a 5 yard lead. He used that to break away from the pack (sorry Waldi). Next time he looked he had a 50 yard lead. The surge lasted for 8 miles, and he built a lead of more than 2 minutes over his closest competitors, Karel Lismot of Belgium and Mamo Walde of Ethiopia. At that point he slowed but didn’t look back. Frank had trained for the race by running upwards of 180 miles per week. Now, he had a third of the race, about 9 miles, left to claim an Olympic Gold Medal. No American had won the Olympic Marathon since Johnny Hayes in 1908, preceded by Thomas J. Hicks in 1904 (in fact, they were the only Americans ever to win). Within 3 miles of the finish, he knew from experience that he was running faster than his body was telling him. Listening to his mind, he ran through the pain to approach the stadium entrance. Near the stadium he heard a large roar. Entering the tunnel leading to the track for his three-quarters of a lap to the finish line, he imagined the roar of 70,000 spectators for him. Running out onto the stadium track, he heard …. nothing. A high school student (Norbert Sudhaus) had jumped onto the course a quarter-mile from the finish and entered the Stadium as the ¨winner.¨ Sudhaus got the roar of the crowd, not Frank. (4 years later Frank did not hear the roar of the crowd either, finishing second to Waldemar Cierpinski of East Germany – for years illegal doping accusations have dogged Cierpinski’s two marathon gold medals). Eric Segal, a Yale Classics professor and the author of Love Story (love means never having to say you’re sorry), was one of the television commentators for ABC Sports. He (and I) were apoplectic. How could this be? Instead of cheers, Frank heard whistles and catcalls (for Sudhaus). Shorter thought to himself, ¨okay, I am an American in Europe, but give me a break.¨ The officials realized the injustice and forced the fake off the track. Frank won the race in the second fastest time ever. When later asked what he thought about the guy in front of him, Frank replied: ¨What guy?¨

The Olympics were over. Mark Spitz won 7 gold medals, setting a world record each time (and, being Jewish, was scurried out of Munich before the closing ceremonies because of the potential for being a further terrorist target). Olga Korbut cried, scored a 9.8 on the uneven bars that everyone except the judges thought was a 10.0. She still won 3 gold medals and a silver. The US men’s basketball team lost to the USSR in the most controversial basketball game in Olympic history. A game of two referee directed ¨do-overs¨ gave the Soviets 3 chances to score in the final 3 seconds. The first two were unsuccessful, and the Americans thought they’d won. The third was successful and counted, resulting the first ever loss for the United States since basketball was included in the Games in 1936. An appeal of the game by the Americans was denied and decided on Cold War lines. Frank Shorter won the Olympic Marathon, sparking a running craze in the United States (which included me). And terrorism took a new, bolder face.

It was Sunday, The next day I came home from my law school classes, parking my new-to-me light blue Toyota 1900 on the freshly paved black tar driveway running along the left side of the house. A sunny, cloudless day, I waved to Mrs. Miele tending her vegetable garden and walked around to the wide front porch.  Hopping up the grey wood steps, I opened the small black mailbox to the left of the glass front door. There was just one letter, a white business envelope addressed to me. It was from the Simmons Detective Agency.

Golpe de Golpe

Las semanas que siguieron mezclados entre sí. Poco después de llegar de ver el expediente judicial, fui a mi primera (y última) reunión de la Libertad de Asociación del adoptado Movimiento, celebrada en la Quinta Avenida de la Iglesia Presbiteriana, 7 West 55th Street – sólo por la Quinta Avenida del Rockefeller Center y Catedral de San Patricio – el distrito de renta alta. Yo no sabía qué esperar, aunque me trajo la poca información que tenía junto a mí a hablar con un consultor de búsqueda. La Iglesia es una casa de piedra rojiza gótico victoriano, con arbotantes y arcos apuntados (3 de ellas – la tríada de la adopción!). Yo sólo quería saber lo que me sucedió 26 años antes. Una iglesia construida en 1873 en un estilo de hace siglos originalmente considerados bárbaros parecía un lugar adecuado para comenzar. (Http://nyc-architecture.com/MID/MID041.htm).
En la propia sesión, celebrada el sábado, fue un poco decepcionante – no mucha gente y no ayuda mucho, al menos no existe. Las personas adoptadas se acaba de salir de su encierro para buscar sus orígenes, quizás animadas por el espíritu libre de la década de 1960. Si bien la reunión en sí fue un poco de una decepción (creo que ingenuamente esperaba que ir y que le digan cómo y dónde encontrar a mi madre ese día), conocí a Florencia Fisher. Ella otra vez me invitó a un grupo de rap que se celebrará en su apartamento en Riverside Drive, en el Upper West Side de Manhattan. Además, mientras que el buscar ayuda en la reunión era rudimentario, Florencia me dio dos nombres (junto con sus números de teléfono) que, en el tiempo, eran de gran valor: Betty Jean Lifton (conocido como BJ, un escritor y una persona adoptada), y Mae Emma Villardi (un genealogista e hija de una persona adoptada). Pronto hablaría con los dos, y que solo valía la pena el viaje a Manhattan.
El fin de semana siguiente fui al apartamento de Florencia. No sólo eran adoptados allí, pero sus padres biológicos, así, uno de los birthparent en particular: Olga Scarpetta. El caso del bebé Lenore era famoso en Nueva York y en todo el país. Olga Scarpetta, la edad de 32 años, de una familia colombiana adinerada, llegó a Nueva York en 1970 para tener a su hijo, supuestamente porque se acababa de enterar que el padre estaba casado con otra persona. (Www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/ 1995/08/20/1995-08-20_custody_fight_left_scars_paw.html). Lenore nació el 18 de mayo 1970 y dentro de cuatro días Olga entregó el bebé a Spence Chapin, una conocida agencia de adopción de Nueva York. Ella firmó el consentimiento para su adopción en Spence Chapin el 1 de Junio, a menos de dos semanas después del nacimiento de Leonor. El bebé ya había sido colocado en adopción prospectivo (normalmente el proceso tomó cerca de 6 meses a 1 año para la formalización), con Nicolás y DeMartino Jean, que vivía (junto con su hija adoptiva de 4-años de edad) en la Avenida 10 en el Bay Ridge sección de Brooklyn. No estaban las cosas hasta que, creyendo que había cometido un terrible error, Olga regresó a Scarpetta Spence Chapin el 29 de junio y exigió el regreso de su bebé. Entonces las cosas se pusieron interesantes.
Spence Chapin se negó a respetar el pedido de la madre biológica, a pesar de una Nueva York Estatutos para permitir que ella apareció 30 días para cambiar de opinión. Spence Chapin también dijo nada a la DeMartinos, con quien vivía Lenore en su casa de Brooklyn. La Sra. Scarpetta fue a la corte para hacer cumplir su derecho a la devolución de Baby Lenore. La DeMartinos presumiblemente desconocen el procedimiento hasta que pocos días antes de audiencia de la corte programada para el 02 de noviembre. Por otra parte, que no tenían capacidad legal para participar en la audiencia debido a que la disputa fue entre Olga Scarpetta y Chapin Spence. El 16 de noviembre la Corte Suprema de Justicia dispuso que Anthony Ascione bebé Lenore ser devuelta a su madre biológica. El DeMartinos se negó. La División de Apelación del Tribunal Supremo, y más tarde el New York Corte de Apelaciones, tanto afirmó el fallo del tribunal inferior. El DeMartinos sigue negándose a cumplir, optando en su lugar para hacer un caso federal de la misma. El Tribunal de Distrito de Estados Unidos a partir de entonces decidió que no tenía jurisdicción. Más tarde los Estados Unidos Tribunal de Apelaciones también falló en contra del DeMartinos. Una estancia de la Orden de Nueva York se solicitó ante el Tribunal Supremo de Estados Unidos, que se negó a actuar. Ahora era de mayo de 1971, y Baby Lenore continuó viviendo con la DeMartinos, técnicamente en desafío a la orden del juez Ascione desde el prior de noviembre. El juez ordenó que Ascione bebé Lenore ser entregado inmediatamente a la señora Scarpetta. Negativa a cumplir daría lugar a cargos de desacato criminal contra el DeMartinos, que sería sometido a detención inmediata. Y aquí es donde. . . la DeMartinos se perdió. Su abogado informó que ya no estaban en Nueva York. Dentro de una semana, volvió a surgir en la Florida, listo para la batalla allí. Eso DeMartinos la escogió la Florida parecía más que una coincidencia. Olga Scarpetta había más remedio que ir a Florida e interponer demandas por el regreso de su hija. Los tribunales de Florida rápidamente del lado de los DeMartinos, al señalar que los DeMartinos fueron ¨ los padres sólo (Leonore) he conocido ¨ (una frase que sigue siendo utilizado y abusado, por parte de jueces, periodistas, y los litigantes – google los rendimientos frase más de 28 millones de resultados). El DeMartinos Lenore planteadas en la Florida, la adopción formal de ella, con su consentimiento, cuando llegó a la edad de 19 años. (Www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2001/06/27/2001-06-27_possession_and_control_baby.html). Después de perder en la Florida, se hablaba de un recurso presentado por Olga. Ninguno llegó.
Nick DeMartino dijo una vez, tal vez en una elección desafortunada de palabras, que ¨ si alguien le diera un perro y luego meses después que quería volver, que les decía a ir al infierno. ¨ Para ser justos con Olga de Scarpetta, no ° es meses más tarde, ¨ y ella no estaba pidiendo la devolución de un animal doméstico. No era culpa suya que Spence Chapin optó por no decir nada a DeMartinos durante 4 meses. Para ser justos con Nicolás y DeMartino Jean, que luchaban por su familia y por lo que pensé que era correcto. Así era Olga. En 1994 (cuando Lenore sólo 22 años de edad), Jean DeMartino quitó la vida, en Florida, después de luchar contra varias enfermedades. El abogado que representó a la familia a principios de año asistió al funeral. Lenore, ya no un bebé, le agradeció a su madre ¨ y papá. ¨ En uno de esos giros extraños del destino, casi al mismo tiempo Lenore recibido una carta, se le informaba que Olga Scarpetta, su madre biológica (un profesor de la Ciudad Universidad de Nueva York con un doctorado en sociología), había muerto de cáncer de mama. Lenore dijo: ¨ me sentí como yo podría haber tenido un extraño murió. . . Ella debe haber sido muy confuso, muy dolido. Me entristece por su ¨. Www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/1995/08/20/1995-08-20_custody_fight_left_scars_paw.html). Olga dijo una vez que llegó a Nueva York aturdido por el descubrimiento de que el que pronto sería su esposo y padre de Leonor ya estaba casado. Ella no le dijo a su familia al principio y terminó buscando el asesoramiento de Spence Chapin: ¨ El principal problema en ir a ellos para la consejería es que la adopción es su negocio. Ellos (Spence Chapin) hablan de ella con tal naturalidad que no le ayuda a llegar dentro de ti mismo. ¨ (www.adultadoptess.org/forum/index.php?topic=3788.0).
Como estudiante de derecho, y ávido lector de periódicos, yo conocía la historia del bebé mucho antes de Lenore que asistieron a la sesión de rap. Yo no sabía Olga Scarpetta iba a estar allí. Estaba retirado de la obtención de días lo que quedaba de los registros de mi aprobación – sólo unos días ya retirado de la firma de mi madre biológica propia por primera vez, una firma renunciar a todos sus derechos legales para mí. Que necesitaba, quería mucho, para encontrarla, y fue por esa razón me encontré en el apartamento de Florencia Fisher. Sabía Olga Scarpetta sólo de los periódicos. Al igual que la mayoría de los grupos de rap (no importa el tema), nos sentamos todos en círculo. Fue un gran salón confortable. Me senté en una silla junto a mí, mirando por la ventana que mira al oeste hacia el río Hudson. Sun tuvo en la habitación, tocando Olga, quien estaba sentada en un sofá – el centro de atención. Florencia se sentó en un sillón a su derecha. Estaba en la habitación. Florencia habló primero y luego alentó a todos a presentarse y decir un poco sobre quiénes eran y qué hacían allí. (Yo estaba allí para encontrar a mi madre biológica y en cuanto a quién era yo, todavía estoy tratando de averiguarlo). Hemos escuchado a Olga, simpatizan con su pesadilla legal. Había hecho todo de acuerdo a la ley y todavía tengo jodido. Para este día, una ola de náuseas alcanza mí cuando oigo la frase: ¨ arrancada de la única hija que nunca supiera. ¨ ¿Por qué el DeMartinos, o cualquier otra persona, el beneficio por un retraso. Al menos con el DeMartinos, el retraso parece más culpa de Spence Chapin, que (probablemente pensando que el caso nunca haría lo suficiente como para alterar el DeMartinos) mantuvo aislado de los procesos judiciales por 4 meses. Cuatro meses es mucho tiempo (así que es de 2 años). Hay casos más escandalosos de la DeMartinos, donde los futuros padres adoptivos en circunstancias similares han buscado intencionadamente, retraso y luego trataron de aprovecharse de la demora que han causado. En el caso de Baby Jessica (madre biológica signos consentimiento para su adopción sin antes decirle a birthfather; mentiras sobre él en el formulario de consentimiento; posteriormente dice birthfather, que demanda para recuperar al niño, porque él nunca accedió a su adopción), por ejemplo, parece que el adoptivo los padres (Jan y DeBoer Roberta) intentó arrastrar a cabo un procedimiento judicial (por más de 2 años) y luego argumentar ¨ No tienen Jessica de los padres sólo ella ha conocido ¨ (que perdieron). Más tarde, cuando fueron obligados a entregar el bebé a los padres biológicos, el DeBoers participó en un circo mediático que seguramente no estaba en el interés superior del niño. (Www.newseek.com/1994/03/21/she-s-not-baby-jessica-anymore.html).
Pero Olga Scarpetta era también una madre biológica, el primero que tuve alguna vez (a sabiendas) se reunió. Ella había firmado un documento de consentimiento renunciar a sus derechos a Baby Lenore, lo mismo mi propia madre biológica había hecho después de haber vivido conmigo durante 2 años. Yo no tenía simpatía por que, al menos no entonces. No ese día. No hace muchos años por venir. No sabía qué hacer con él. Estaba centrado todo en mí. Francamente, Olga parecía una ruina (mirando hacia atrás, ¿quién podría culpar a ella). Me senté allí preguntándose si tal vez Lenore bebé podría haber sido mejor donde estaba ella, con la DeMartinos en la Florida.
He dejado el apartamento de Florencia Fisher insatisfechos. ALMA estaba poniendo encima y no parece aún dispuesto a ofrecerme el tipo de ayuda que necesitaba. Fui a dar un poco de ayuda jurídica, la redacción de la organización inicial de los estatutos – algo que, como estudiante de segundo de Derecho, yo estaba completamente mal preparados para manejar. Gracias a Dios por las formas jurídicas. Años más tarde, cuando me ayuden a redactar los estatutos de otro organismo de adopción, el ALMA estatutos fueron utilizados como un modelo, hasta que nos dimos cuenta de que eran (para ser educado a mí mismo) de valor. Salí del apartamento de Florencia, ganas de hablar con la Agencia Simmons detective, y de llamar a BJ Lifton y Emma Mae Villardi. Las 3 cosas que me impulsó a la Caída.
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Knock Knock

The weeks that followed mixed together. Soon after I got back from looking at the Court records, I went to my first (and last) meeting of the Adoptee’s Liberty Movement Association, held at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, 7 West 55th Street – just up Fifth Avenue from Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral – the high rent district. I did not know what to expect, though I brought what little information I had along with me to talk to a search consultant. The Church is a Victorian gothic brownstone, complete with flying buttress and pointed arches (3 of them – the Adoption Triad!). I only wanted to find out what happened to me 26 years before. A church built in 1873 in a centuries’ old style originally considered barbaric seemed a fitting place to start. (http://nyc-architecture.com/MID/MID041.htm).

The meeting itself, held on a Saturday, was a bit of a disappointment – not many people and not much help, at least not there. Adoptees were just coming out of the woodwork to look for their origins, perhaps emboldened by the free spirit of the 1960’s. While the meeting itself was a bit of a letdown (I think I naively expected to go and be told how and where to find my mother that day), I did meet Florence Fisher. She again invited me to a rap group to be held in her apartment on Riverside Drive, on Manhattan‘s upper westside.  Also, while the search help at the meeting was rudimentary, Florence gave me two names (along with their phone numbers) that, in time, were invaluable: Betty Jean Lifton (known as BJ, a writer and an adoptee), and Emma Mae Villardi (a genealogist and daughter of an adoptee). I would soon speak with both of them, and that alone was worth the trip to Manhattan.

The following weekend I went to Florence’s apartment. There were not only adoptees there but birthparents as well, including one birthparent in particular: Olga Scarpetta. The Baby Lenore case was famous in New York and across the country. Olga Scarpetta, age 32, from a wealthy Colombian family, came to New York in 1970 to have her child, purportedly because she had just found out that the father was married to someone else.(www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/1995/08/20/1995-08-20_custody_fight_left_scars_paw.html). Lenore was born on May 18, 1970 and within 4 days Olga surrendered the baby to Spence Chapin, a well-known New York  adoption agency. She signed the consent for adoption at Spence Chapin on June 1st, less than 2 weeks after Lenore’s birth. The baby had already been placed for prospective adoption (the process normally took about 6 months to 1 year to formalize) with Nicholas and Jean DeMartino, who lived  (along with their 4-year-old adopted daughter) on 10th Avenue in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. There matters stood until, believing she had made a terrible mistake, Olga Scarpetta returned to Spence Chapin on June 29th and demanded the return of her baby. Then things got interesting.

Spence Chapin refused to honor the birthmother’s request, even though a New York Statute appeared to allow her 30 days to change her mind. Spence Chapin also said nothing to the DeMartinos, with whom Lenore was living in their Brooklyn home. Ms. Scarpetta went to Court to enforce her right to the return of Baby Lenore. The DeMartinos were presumably unaware of the proceeding until just days before the Court hearing scheduled for November 2nd. Moreover, they had no legal standing to participate in the hearing because the dispute was between Olga Scarpetta and Spence Chapin. On November 16th Supreme Court Justice Anthony Ascione directed that Baby Lenore be returned to her birthmother. The DeMartinos refused. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, and later the New York Court of Appeals, both affirmed the lower court ruling. The DeMartinos continued to refuse to comply, opting instead to make a federal case out of it. The United States District Court thereafter decided it had no jurisdiction. Later the United States Court of Appeals also ruled against the DeMartinos. A stay of the New York Order was sought before the United States Supreme Court, which declined to act. It was now May, 1971, and Baby Lenore continued to live with the DeMartinos, technically in defiance of Judge Ascione’s Order since the prior November. Judge Ascione directed that Baby Lenore be turned over to Ms. Scarpetta forthwith. Refusal to comply would result in criminal contempt charges against the DeMartinos, who would be subject to immediate arrest. And this is where . . . the DeMartinos got lost. Their attorney reported they were no longer in New York. Within a week, they resurfaced in Florida, ready to do battle there. That the DeMartinos chose Florida seemed more than a coincidence. Olga Scarpetta had little choice but to go to Florida and sue for the return of her daughter. The Florida Courts quickly sided with the DeMartinos, citing that the DeMartinos were ¨the only parents (Lenore) ever knew¨ (a phrase that continues to be used, and abused, by judges, journalists, and litigants  – googling the phrase yields over 28 million results). The DeMartinos raised Lenore in Florida, formally adopting her, with her consent, when she reached the age of 19. (www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2001/06/27/2001-06-27_possession_and_control_baby.html). After losing in Florida, there was talk of an appeal by Olga. None came.
Nick DeMartino once said, in perhaps an unfortunate choice of words, that ¨if someone gave you a dog and then months later wanted it back, you’d tell them to go to hell.¨ In fairness to Olga Scarpetta, it was not ¨months later,¨ and she was not asking for the return of a pet. It was  not her fault that Spence Chapin chose not to tell the DeMartinos anything for 4 months. In fairness to Nicholas and Jean DeMartino, they were fighting for their family and for what they thought was right. So was Olga. In 1994 (when Lenore was only 22 years old), Jean DeMartino took her own life, in Florida, after battling several illnesses. The lawyer who represented the family years earlier attended the funeral. Lenore, no longer a baby, thanked him for her ¨mom and dad.¨ In one of those odd twists of fate, at about the same time Lenore received a letter, informing her that Olga Scarpetta, her birthmother (a professor at the City University of New York with a doctorate in sociology), had died of breast cancer. Lenore said: ¨I felt as I might have had a stranger died. . . She must have been very confused, very hurt. It makes me sad for her.¨ www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/1995/08/20/1995-08-20_custody_fight_left_scars_paw.html). Olga once said that she came to New York reeling from the discovery that her soon to be husband and father of Lenore was married already. She did not tell her family initially and ended up seeking the advise of Spence Chapin: ¨The main problem in going to them for counseling is that adoption is their business. They (Spence Chapin) talk of it so naturally that it doesn’t help you to reach within yourself.¨ (www.adultadoptess.org/forum/index.php?topic=3788.0).

As a law student, and avid reader of newspapers, I knew the Baby Lenore story well before attending the rap session. I did not know Olga Scarpetta was going to be there. I was just days removed from obtaining what remained of my adoption records – just days removed from seeing the signature of my own birthmother for the first time, a signature relinquishing all of her legal rights to me. I needed, wanted very much, to find her, and it was for that reason I found myself in the apartment of Florence Fisher. I knew Olga Scarpetta only from the newspapers. Like most rap groups (no matter the topic), we all sat in a circle. It was a large comfortable living room. I sat on a chair by myself, looking out the west-facing window towards the Hudson River. Sun splashed into the room, touching Olga, who sat alone on a couch – the center of attention. Florence sat in an arm-chair to her right. I was across the room. Florence spoke first and then encouraged everyone to introduce themselves and say a little bit about who they were and why they were there. (I was there to find my birthmother; as for who I was, I am still trying to figure that out). We listened to Olga, sympathetic to her legal nightmare. She had done everything according to the law and still got screwed.  To this day, a wave of nausea overtakes me when I hear the phrase: ¨torn from the only child she ever knew.¨ Why should the DeMartinos, or anyone else, profit by delay. At least with the DeMartinos, the delay seems more the fault of Spence Chapin, who (probably thinking the case would never make it long enough to upset the DeMartinos) kept them insulated from the legal proceedings for 4 months. Four months is a long time (so is 2 years). There are more outrageous cases than the DeMartinos, where prospective adoptive parents in similar circumstances have intentionally sought delay and then tried to profit from the delay they caused. In the Baby Jessica case (birthmother signs consent for adoption without telling birthfather; lies about him on the consent form; subsequently tells birthfather, who sues to regain the child because he never consented to her adoption),  it appears the prospective adoptive parents (Jan and Roberta DeBoer) attempted to drag out  legal proceedings (for over 2 years) and then argue ¨don’t take Jessica from the only parents she has ever known¨ (they lost). Later, when they were required to hand over the baby to the birthparents, the DeBoers participated in a media circus that surely was not in the best interests of the child. (www.newseek.com/1994/03/21/she-s-not-baby-jessica-anymore.html).

But Olga Scarpetta was also a birthmother, the first one I had ever (knowingly) met. She had signed a consent paper relinquishing her rights to Baby Lenore, the same thing my own birthmother had done after living with me for 2 years. I didn´t have sympathy for that, at least not then. Not that day. Not for many years to come. I didn’t know what to do with it. I was all focused on me. Frankly, Olga seemed a wreck (looking back,who could blame her). I sat there wondering if maybe Baby Lenore might have been better off where she was, with the DeMartinos in Florida.

I left Florence Fisher’s apartment dissatisfied. ALMA was just cranking up and did not seem yet prepared to offer me the type of help I needed. I went on to provide some legal help, drafting the organization’s initial by-laws – something, as a second year law student, I was completely ill-equipped to handle. Thank God for legal forms. Years later, when I would help draft the by-laws of another adoption organization, the ALMA by-laws were used as a model, until we recognized they were (to be polite to myself) useless. I walked out of Florence’s apartment, looking forward to talking with the Simmons Detective Agency, and to calling BJ Lifton and Emma Mae Villardi. Those 3 things propelled me into the Fall.