I’m being adopted, but I don’t know that. I’m walking around the table behind the chairs where six big people are sitting. I don’t recognize a very big man. Years later, I find out that he is the attorney. I know something is not right. No one is laughing and it’s quiet except for the sounds coming from the big man I don’t know. Somehow I understand that I always sit at the table when the big people sit there except for now. I get to eat good things that mommy puts on the table. I don’t understand why I’m not sitting at the table or on anyone’s lap. I go get my teddy bear and sit on the floor until my daddy finally comes over and picks me up. Now everyone is laughing and talking.


I’m in the kitchen with the aunt I adore. She’s going to give me a slice of the chocolate cake I’ve been craving all morning–the cake she bakes just for me because she knows it is my favorite. Then I watch as she picks up the whole cake, runs to the door that goes out to the yard, throws the cake and it smashes into the grass. I don’t understand. “I hate those goddam ants,” she yells, but I’m crying too hard to understand why she has thrown my beautiful cake away. I look at her and she’s crying, too. I can’t remember what happened next. I was only five.

Scroll down for another vignette.


Susanne-doll-baby-doll was a large, soft-body doll with big, round, black eyes that rolled around. She looked the way she was–loved almost to destruction. Susanne-doll-baby-doll, my always-used, complete name for her, was my companion and quite alive to me at the age of four.

My sweet, shy, tiny grandmother lived in another state from mine and once when I was visiting her, she asked me to come with her into her bedroom–the only time I was ever in there, and so it was a little scary to wonder why.

Grandma picked up Susanne-doll-baby-doll’s twin (except for being entirely unmolested) and said she’d take my doll and give me hers. I was horrified. I squeezed Susanne-doll-baby-doll and shook my head, “no,” but I was afraid to move.

Grandma put her doll back on the bed, took my hand and led me to her other private domain, the kitchen, where she gave me two cookies. “One cookie,” she said, “is for Susanne-doll-baby-doll, who is special because you love her so much.” I didn’t understand what she meant, but I knew that for some happy reason, I was getting two cookies and Susanne-doll-baby-doll still belonged to me.


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