Monday, January 19, 2015

Sent away -- again (part III) .....

I have few pleasant memories of my time at the school.  As I recall, it started snowing early (October?) and the snow continued into spring (March).  There were numerous black flies which, I was sorry to learn, bite.  HARD.  Since there were so few students, it was difficult to find anyone that I felt an affinity with, and I never did fit in.  Fulfilling a lifetime (or school lifetime, at least) fantasy, I joined the cheerleading squad, which was open to anyone who wanted to participate.  At nearly 200 pounds I was, no doubt, the most improbable cheerleader ever, but I was enthusiastic -- for a while.  The other girls on the squad didn't care for me -- and let me know -- and we were a fairly rag-tag group.  We did have one girl who could do both a cartwheel and a split; the rest of us mostly jumped around waving our arms in semi-unison.  I quit the squad about half-way through the season.

The school had a stable and boarded horses for the local community.  I loved horseback riding when I'd gone to girl scout camp years before, so when the opportunity presented itself to earn riding time, I eagerly signed up.  In order to be able to ride a set amount of time, I had to first work by feeding the horses for a (much longer) set amount of time.  I didn't mind the trek down to the stables until, as I mentioned, it started snowing.  After that, not having proper outdoor attire, it became too much of a chore and I quit that as well.  I don't think I got to ride more than once or twice the entire time.

The one true bright spot was that I was able to participate in the drama program without worrying about my aunt being unwilling to transport me to rehearsals.  Because of the school's small size, anyone who auditioned for a part was pretty much guaranteed to get one.  I landed the lead in the school's fall production, during which the script called for me to smash a plate onstage and fall to my knees, screaming in emotional agony.  It was wonderfully cathartic.

A "suggested donation" of 25 cents gives you a good idea of the quality of the performances.




Sent away -- again (part II) .....

The driving distance from our house to the school was approximately six hours.  It took about half that time to fly, and by midday we'd landed in Waterville, Maine (population ~18,000).  From there, we drove a rental car to the school, which was located in North Vassalboro.  Though just 10 minutes outside the "city," it was an extremely rural area, home to numerous dairy farms and had a population of just over 2,600.

Having grown up first in a small city, then in a suburban community, I was upset to find myself in what I perceived to be the middle of nowhere.  The school, itself, was a disappointment.  Unlike the nice Canadian school I'd toured, this facility had an enormous main building, but it was shabby and in need of maintenance.  My assigned dorm room was large, but run-down, and from the moment I set foot on campus, I felt like I didn't belong.  I didn't want to be there, but it was what I'd chosen (based only on a directory description) and this was to be my prison "home" for the next nine months.

Oak Grove-Coburn School -- closed in 1989; now the site of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

Sent away -- again (part I).....

Sometime during my sophomore year of high school, I made a suggestion to my uncle.  Having met with my guidance counselor and counted my credits, I realized that I would have enough credits -- though just barely -- to graduate one year early.  My uncle's response was a quick and firm "no."  Since I had skipped first grade, I was already one of the youngest students in my grade, and graduating early meant that I'd be just two months past my 15th birthday.  He thought that I was simply too young and too immature.

Later during the school year, I made another suggestion -- that I be allowed to finish my last two years at boarding school.  I'd met a girl at "fat camp" the summer before who attended boarding school and said she enjoyed not living at home.  Again, my suggestion was rejected.  During the brief time that my younger brother lived at home (between discharge from the juvenile psychiatric facility and being remanded to the adult psychiatric hospital [at the age of 14]), my uncle and his wife had placed him in a nearby boarding school.  He'd lasted only a couple months before being expelled.  Since boarding school tuition is non-refundable, my thrifty uncle had lost quite a bit of money with that venture.

That didn't stop me from asking again, several more times that year.  However, each time I was told that boarding school was not a possibility.

No graduating early, no boarding school, no getting out of the house anytime soon.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What the "experts" decided .....

In preparation for my (as yet unsuccessful) quest to have my adoption annulled, I decided to request a copy of the records from my second adoption, so I filled out the form, had it notarized, and mailed it off to the Department of Families and Children.  Soon afterwards, I received an e-mail from one of the employees of the "Adoption Search Unit" with the following information:

The application for adoption states the following:

[Grandfather], sole surviving legal guardian of [me], a minor child, desires to place said [me] for adoption with [uncle] and [uncle's wife].  And whereas [uncle] is the natural uncle of said child and thereby a blood relative descendent from a common ancestor not more than three generations removed from said child.  That the court approve a certain adoption agreement between [grandfather] the surviving legal guardian, [uncle] and [uncle's wife], the proposed adoptive parents of said child, to adopt said [me], which agreement is dated 12/28/67 at [city, state].

The record indicates that you were placed with maternal aunt and uncle on 11/9/67.  Your grandmother's burial per her death certificate was 11/6/67 in [cemetery] in [city, state].

The follow-up letter, which didn't provide much information beyond what I'd already learned.