Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Ugly p3

My mother was young. I tell myself that. She was far from her family. She had no mother around. The only real adults were men. They could not understand all the things a woman goes through during those time. She had no-one to explain to her about how babies form and how many things could go wrong.

I don't really blame her.

I wish I could truly believe that. But those are the first words I heard.

I know people don't believe you can remember that far back. But I do. And my first feeling was rejection. The first name I was called was Ugly. It was not the last time. It was used so much I thought it was my real name or at least one of my names until I was seven.

The father who gave me to my mother took me away quickly.

The women gathered around me.

"Poor thing."

"It doesn't look like any of the men or even the mother."

"We should bring it to a doctor. Get it checked out."

One woman took me. "SHE, she is not an it! She is a baby. I will take her."

One of my fathers drove us to the hospital. We waited in the ER for a long time. A very long time. I started crying. I couldn't stop. My crying for hours is what finally got me looked at.

Bright, bright white light. Each face less loving than the last.

"Someone give this child something to eat!" A man in a white coat ordered.

They fixed me a bottle and feed me. The substance they feed me would come out of my face.

" We can fix this cleft lip and pallet opening with surgery. The birthmark will have to stay. Other then that she looks like a very healthy baby. Why didn't the doctor who deliver the baby explain this to you? " He looked at the woman who brought me in suspiciously.

"This is not your baby? You don't look like you just gave birth."

"No, sir. It was a home birth and the mother freaked out."

"Is the mother alright? Does the father have insurance? Are you the father?" He looked at the father who brought me in.

"I think she is. No insurance and there is no father. I mean..."

"You kids. Creating babies. Having them at home with who knows what around. Not knowing which one is the father. This is not the first child I have meet from your communes. A little girl needs a Daddy.

This is going to cost money. Can your commune come up with the money for her surgery? The longer you wait for it the harder it will be on her. "

My father and the woman looked at each other. They didn't have any real money. Not the kind the doctor wanted.

"When you have the money give this person a call. " He handed them a card with the name of a doctor and an amount written on the back.

"Nurse, get them some formula and some bottles to take with them. "

The nurse left quickly.

"I strongly encourage you to try to get the mother to breastfeed. It is the cheapest way to keep the baby healthy."

The nurse returned with a weeks worth of formula, 4 bottles a package of diapers and pins.

"Take these and here is some pamphlets on how to take care of a baby. The mother might be 'emotional' or depressed. Watch her around the baby."

The nurse washed me off, diapered me and swaddled me in a blanket. Showing the woman how to did it every step of the way. She handed me back to the woman.

When I was brought home everyone gathered around. It was explained about my medical condition and what was needed to fix it.

Each father emptied their pockets. Each mother did as well. For the women, who later saw themselves as mothers to me as they would play with me, smile at me and give me the love my own mother did not have to give.

The months passed. My mother finally did take me to her breasts. She was never alone with me. One of my fathers would be there or one the other women. She didn't do much more than feed me ending each feeding with "Get that Ugly thing away from me!" She was sure I was her curse, her scarlet letter to wear for sinning against God. I know because she would wake up and say it every morning she saw my face.

They would find little jobs here and there. They would bring me to the street with them and out right beg for money. Other communes heard of what had happened. How a baby with many mothers and many fathers needed money for an operation. They would come by and give us what they had. My mothers and fathers sold pot for the 'fix my face fund', my mothers sometimes had sex with older men for profit, sometimes they sold flowers they picked.

It was my first birthday when they finally called the doctor to set up the appointment. At least that is what they told me. May 24th,1967.

My mother called me Ugly.

Each father and mother had different names for me. I responded to almost anything by the time I was a year old. Some named me after their mothers or grandmothers. Some after flowers or other things. Some changed their name for me as I grew. One mother said I reminded her of a cat when I was born. So she called me Kitty. That was until she saw me play with a sunbeam when I was 2 months old. Then she called me Sunbeam. Later as I made a mess while eating sweet potatoes I was Pie Face. When I was crawling I reminded her of a turtle. So I became White Turtle. When I got closer to a year old I was picking the heads of dandelions. So then she called me Dandelion. Another called me Papillon after the birthmark on my face.

When I was brought to the doctors office they asked for a birth certificate. There was not one.

My mothers and fathers brought me to city hall to get one.

"Mother's name?"

"Roberta Susan Miller."

"Father's Name?"

They looked around.

"The Universal God of Love and Understanding."

"So that would be none."

My father's were not amused. They really did want The Universal God Of Love And Understanding on the birth certificate.


"Yes, please."

"Ha, like I haven't heard that before from you hippies? BOY or GIRL?!"


"Place of birth"

"The Planet Earth"

"San Francisco, it is than. You wouldn't have a date and a time would you."

"Damn, did anyone look at the clock that day? " the mummers among themselves.

"May 24th. Sorry no time other than it was dark out. " My birth mother talked for the first time in all of this. No one was sure what day it was either. It was May. She decided to choose Bob Dylan's birthday. It did make it seem like she was paying attention to something that day.

"The child's name?"

"Ugly." My mother responded.

"No! Don't write that!" the others said quickly.

"Good I was hoping you were not serious. So what is her name?"

"Dandelion, Papillon, Rose, Moonbeam, Alice, Rainbow Walker, Emma, Peace Frog, Matilda" They all said their name for me in turn then my birth mother said "Miller"

"You have got to be kidding?"

"No!" They said together.

"Just write it down." my oldest father said to the women behind the counter.

They waited the appropriate time and got my official piece of paper saying I existed and my name was NOT Ugly. Officially. Not Ugly. Though my mother still called me it from time to time. But mostly she started calling me Dani. Everyone else still called me their name for me.

As I grew older other people thought Dani was short for Danella. They never believed that me that it was short for Dandelion.


Sparkle Plenty said...

I'm getting caught up and will be checking in as often as possible to read more.

"She responded by hurling a lava lamp at his head. One person screamed that it was expensive."

Part 2 WAS very funny. And, this chapter--despite the "ugliness"--is rather dear. Thank goodness for Dandelion's "orgy family." I never thought a child conceived in an orgy would be parented by the orgy.

I was too embarrassed to comment on your previous story because I didn't get it at first. Sad. (Both that I didn't get it at first and the story.) But, neatly done.

The Silver Fox said...

Ahhhh! So Bobbie Sue's calling the baby "ugly" wasn't just a reaction to the trauma of giving birth. She had a birth defect.

I agree with Sparkle. It seemed highly unlikely that the commune would come together and make the child "theirs." Nice that they did. Must have been something behind all that hippie philosophy after all.

Ishat's Fire and Ice said...



Glad you made it.

I guess I wasn't very clear the people in the house raise her, not all the people from the orgy. Hell we don't know how many men were at the orgy. Bobbie Sue only remembers 4 first names because there were four men who lived in the house.

These people mostly were here before the explosion of hippies. Anyway... I don't want to give too much away.

They are not sure who is responsible for the baby and still have the older generation's attitude about responsibility, sort of. When they couldn't get her to abort, they had to deal with this for the first time. They are trying to blend the new with the old. The whole orgy isn't raising the baby, just the ones who live in the same house.

I have found people can stay committed to a cause for a while if they believe they believe in it. If she didn't have a birth defect, if the mother reaction wasn't what it was and kept being what it was they might have not thought twice about it. A more mature mother would have moved her baby out. Moved back with her mother. Bobbie is only 16 now.

The part of the orgies who is raising Dani, is also the people who live together as a family. Who happens to have sex together.

I explained too much, but didn't want to give away what was to come.

There is a difference between the men of that generation and my own. And a difference from the generation before them.

I know men have always run away. But not all. And I am giving them their idealism.

In older generations I have meet men who raised children as their own while having more with the mother.

Ishat's Fire and Ice said...


Thanks for keeping the comments coming.

Like you said, the writer is god.


I think I talked about the points I might not have conveyed in the story with Sparkle.

Feel free to disagree. I welcome it.

I guess I am giving the men of the commune the benefit of being good men.

Sparkle Plenty said...

HI, ISHAT'S!!!!! :-)

I just was figuring "five to eight possible fathers," four guys live in the house, all of the four guys* thought they could be the father, orgies galore, thus the term "Orgy Family"--also 'cause it tickled my fancy. I didn't mean to make light of the family aspect--I love the description of them coalescing around the child for the child. I love the idea of her "Mamas and the Papas." It's quite true that people can rally together and stay committed under the right set of circumstances.

*All of a sudden, I've turned this into a very racy mathematics word problem!

The Silver Fox said...

Oh. The way I'd interpreted it was that some of the men in the house slept with some of the women in the house, and that there were different sexual combinations going on. Usually a pairing of this one or that one, maybe a threesome or foursome, and -- at least once -- an orgy involving most if not all of the house's inhabitants. So I thought all the orgy's attendees were living there. Then, in the midst of all that "Free love! Free love!" hoopla... BOOM. "Hey, everybody! Here's a rather unfortunate by-product of all that sex. It's called a BABY. And since it looks like its mother isn't going to be any great shakes at raising it, at least at first, it's time for ALL of you to grow up... especially you guys.

And I should point out, just in case there's any confusion, when I said it was "unlikely" for everybody to pitch in and help, I meant "You wouldn't necessarily think they'd all grow up so immediately like that, but sometimes people act like people, and not cardboard cut-outs." I didn't mean to suggest, "Oh, that'd never happen in real life!" To quote Wolverine from the ollllden days when the "new" X-Men were just catching on, "Life's like that, throwin' little curves at you when you least expect it." (Or words to that effect.)

Ishat's Fire and Ice said...


I still have 2 chapeters in my head. I didn't want to give away what was to come, I didn't want to say too much, but I was afraid I didn't write it in a way that explained it.

Ishat's Fire and Ice said...


With so many people in the house it makes it easier for people to pitch in. Very unlikely anyone is saddled with the baby for long periods of time all the time.

Also the time period. Unlike today, a lot of the babies from the end of WW2 had many siblings. So many of the hippies came from large families. That means lots of practice from younger siblings on how to take care of babies. Growing up in a large family I had that over most of my generation who only had one sibling. At 8 I knew how to change a diaper. I got stuck watching siblings often.

When I actually got paid to babysitting it came very naturally. Helping little children when I was a teen came naturally, because I was around both older and younger siblings always.

It lends itself to a different dynamic when you are a young adult.

There were pairs, etc, but there were everyone getting it on, too.

The men generally were older than the women. Bobby Sue is 16, she came there when she was 15. She came there with a 25 year old. In the time frame, and still in some areas, mid twenties was when men were expected to settle down an mature have a family. In our area now it is pushed back to 30. The men are in the age group with they were always told they should be starting a family. That also takes part in how they are reacting.

Kinda wanting your cake and eat it too. With the baby, it also makes them well known in the community. There is a big addicted to other people praising you for what you are doing. They look like good guys and that is a high all in itself.

Also babies are chick magnets.

Anyway, many factors go into them taking Dani on and continuing to help her. Again, not wanting to give away future chapters.