Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Disturbing questions raised by One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

With all the bru-ha-ha over The Adopted Family, other childhood books have been coming to mind recently. I had completely forgotten about this book until The Adopted Family came up, and shortly on the heels of that OFTFRFBF came swimming (harharhar) to the surface as well. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is a work of unmitigated genius and brilliance.


Because it contained a poem that struck me so deeply I can write it out from memory today.

Look what we found
in the park,
in the dark.
We will take him home.
We will call him Clark.

He will live at our house,
he will grow and grow.
Will our mother like this?
We don't know.

Before I break down my impressions of this poem, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present Clark

This poem in particular, out of all the wonders in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, always drew me back again and again because of the following:

Fascinating bit number one: the dark. These two were allowed out after dark. I wasn’t allowed out after dark. Maybe if I had a brother I would have been allowed out after dark, but I doubt it. Once my sister was about 3 we were allowed to play on the back patio after dark, but only if someone was in the family room. We were not allowed to set ONE FOOT OFF THE PATIO, YOUNG LADIES DO YOU HEAR ME? We’d often test this by in actuality setting one foot off the patio, at which the three strikes and you’re out rule was invoked. On the third giggling foot off the patio we were then ordered back inside despite our howls of protest. But these two were out after dark, and more importantly –

Fascinating bit number two: in the park. Wow. A park. These two got to go to a park. We never went to a park. Now in all fairness there were no parks near us, however when we would go to relatives houses we passed plenty of parks. A park is a weird concept. There are things there to play with but most importantly of all, there are other kids there playing on the same things. We’d often ask from our delegated sides of the back seat, “oh! A park! Can we go there? Pleaasse?” but were told no, because parks were for poor people who didn’t have nice backyards with a swing set and a jungle gym in the shape of a boat and a pool so why on earth would we want to go to a dirty park. We did because all kids want what they can’t have. The combo of a nearby park plus the opportunity to be out after dark is truly humbling.

Fascinating bit number three: their mother. What did their mother say? Did she like it, as was asked in the poem? Or did she make them return Clark to the park in the dark? Did she allow them to keep Clark for a while but then have him suddenly disappear one day replaced by an Irish Setter puppy because Clark was insane? Or did she allow Clark to grow old and to be a cherished member of the family? These questions trouble me, but not at much as

Fascinating bit number four: Clark. Where did Cark come from? What was his name before he was Clark? Who made the glass container he was in? Was it his parents? Or was he the pet of someone much bigger? What was Clark doing in the park? Why was he left there? Did anyone come looking for him? How big did he grow? Did he burst out of the glass container, or did maybe their dad make him a bigger container? How did they get the container to stand up straight? Did Clark talk? What did he think about these two adopting him like this? Was he a thinking talking being? If so, these two are kidnapper adopters, and that’s bad.

To this day I don’t know the answers. So I went googling. I found, much to my surprise, that there are many real kids asking the same question. I thought I was the only one, but after finding so many blog posts about Clark, I was left feeling very unspecial. We’ll never know what happened to Clark from the dark park. This bothers me deeply.

The Adopted Family should be here sometime next week, and I’ll get it scanned and posted as soon as I can. For a real treat, you can hop on pop over to Julie to see a few choice scans of The Chosen Baby, and then if that’s not enough inner child emotional abuse for you check out this. The page unfortunately doesn’t appear to be updated in a long time and her guestbook is full of spam, but it’s still out there on the web. She’s got the whole kitten caboodle of what appears to be a different version of The Chosen Baby on her website. Brace yourself for the kicker in the forward.

Just remember friends, that everyday from here to there, funny things are everywhere.

Except this:

I had a small glimmer of hope that my actual adoption agency might actually have been Catholic Charities after all, but no such luck. I didn’t think so, but I gave it a try again anyway. The woman I spoke with a few years ago has retired, and she had a history of not being totally honest with adoptees. I got a call from them today verifying they had nothing with my date of birth or adoptive parent’s names in their records. Bummer.

But the search rolls ever onward…….

7 complaints from ingrates:

Newlyorphaned April 11, 2007 at 10:06 PM  

Clark? To deep for me!

Sorry about the CC thing! I know it would have been easier than dealing with your state! I've heard they can be a bugger though too!

abebech April 11, 2007 at 10:35 PM  

"because parks were for poor people"
don't tell my kids . . .

So sorry about CC. Wish you could get somewhere . . .

Off to read more about Clark and ofcourse, the chosen baby.

L April 11, 2007 at 10:55 PM  

Ummm. I hate to sound really dense here but wouldn't your a-parents know what agency they used? I mean they must remember the name because they probably used them again to adopt your sister right?
What's the deal? Won't they tell you the name of the agency they used?

Ungrateful Little Bastard April 11, 2007 at 11:10 PM  

Thanks guys.

And Beth... oh Beth, you do not sound dense at all. I understand this because for years I assumed I was the dense one.

In a nutshell, from the time we were children our mom told my sister and I that we were adopted through CC. My dad NEVER talked ONCE about us being adopted. At my dads funeral, an aunt told me when I brought it up that there was no way we could have been adopted through CC because our dad was not Catholic.

My sister and I just had our heads spinning around this little ditty for a number of years, until I finally brought it up to my mom who said the standard, 'I never told you that, I told you it was the Catholic Bureau."

oookayyy, so someone told me there actually was an agency back then called the Catholic Children's Bureau, and they folded into CC in the 70's. So I gave it a try again, the woman on the phone verified that there was indeed a CCB, and they did indeed turn into the CC, however, nope, no one with my adopted parent's last names in their records and nope, no one with my date of birth.

For the reason WHY she won't tell me where I was adopted from.... god who knows? The next time I bring up, um... mom...? the catholic bureau says they have no record of me, $10 says I'll get, 'I never told you the catholic bureau'...

and the beat goes on........

Possum April 12, 2007 at 7:25 AM  

Sometimes a-parents just drive me to despair.
Possum -> running around the room like a mad woman - with arms flying in the air.
(I am a visual girl...I keep saying this OVER and OVER again!!!)
Hugs Miss T.
It sucks.
Poss. xxxxx

suz April 12, 2007 at 10:31 AM  

wow. on the fish. heres another lovely childhood book that gets me.

pd eastmans "are you my mother".

sigh. people tell me at least he finds his mother in the end..but still. just so triggering.

Ungrateful Little Bastard April 14, 2007 at 12:58 AM  

I hear that Suz, that title gets me.

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