11:29 p.m. - Mon 6.01.2009
Well, I received the big case file late Friday afternoon (I'd expected it to come via the Post Office, but they shipped it UPS. But anyway...).
When I say "the big case file", I'm not whistling "Dixie" - The file involves pretty close to a ream of paper. And while there's some repetition (Particularly at the end), and copies of medical bills and so forth, it still makes for pretty substantial reading.
I've read it "cover to cover" three times now, and read bits I've highlighted to friends and well-wishers another three or four times.
But I'm still trying to absorb what I've read, because there's just so much there (The file starts in 1960, when my mother first went into the system, and ends in 1977, when I was almost out of the Pupo home - Though the reports become pretty cursory once I moved with the Pupo family from West Virginia to Michigan in the early 70s. More on that at a later time).
I went into the system about ten days shy of my first birthday - Quoting the report, "Mrs Hoffmaster feels that her child may be defective and it is too much for her to care for him".
At that point, I had already been in the hospital a couple of times, for malnourishment and pneumonia. A big issue was that my mother was feeding me canned condensed milk, which was giving me diarrhea, instead of whole milk, because she couldn't afford the gallon of milk a day it took to satisfy me and the two other kids (In addition to myself, she'd had an earlier child "out of wedlock" during a brief stint in the air force, and another with Gregg Hoffmaster, an abusive alcoholic, who she was married to, and who was in jail for forgery, when I was conceived; the timing of her giving me up, it seems from the file, was in part because he was about to get out of jail, and she was fearful of what he would do to her).
There's no easy way to put this - when I went "into the system", I was a mess - One case report states that I had "pus-filled blisters" on my buttocks going all the way up to my waistline, and that my legs "ran perpendicular" to my body; apparently, I couldn't put my legs together because of my untreated diaper rash (One report talks about the poor condition of my clothes, and my "diapers" made of bedsheets).
I couldn't walk or talk (I learned to walk first, but didn't really talk - beyond a handful of simple words - till I was three years old).
But fortunately for me - about the only good fortune I was going to have, it turned out - I ended up with Mrs Lydia DeHaven.
(But I've started this late, there's a lot to get through, and I have to be up early tomorrow, so this will have "to be continued"...)
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