Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Painted rocks, orphans & more orphans: let’s have more of one, less of the other

Friday morning I was downstairs in the lobby of my apartment building, feeling a little frustrated as one of the other tenants was trying to engage me in what I considered a silly argument.  I just wanted to add some money to my laundry card.

(We have a laundry vending machine in the package delivery room off the lobby, where you can add money to your National Laundry card.) 

Anyway, Joel is a single man on my floor, he works from home.  (He likes to remind you of that every chance he gets too.)  He’s 53, never married.  He was waiting for a courier, and said my friend Lida was down there earlier, waiting for her mom to pick her up.  Joel said he wished he had a mom.  When I asked him what he meant by that, he said “I’m an orphan.” 

When I expressed sorrow and asked if he grew up in a children’s home, or with relatives or in a foster home, he said “It wasn’t like that at all.  I was raised by both my parents, but my dad died in 1995 and my mother died 7 years ago.  I’m an orphan now.”

I said “Um… I thought to be an orphan you had to lose both parents before the age of 18?”  He said “Untrue, and if I had my phone I’d prove it.  When you go back upstairs, google it.”  I said “I believe you, but I lost my own dad in 2001 and my mom in 2004.  I don’t consider myself an orphan.”  Joel said “I was an only child.  Were you?”   You got me there, Joel. 

(Strangely, the topic of orphans would come up again later.) 

Just then, my friend Lida breezed into the lobby.  I said “Hi Lida, I thought you left with your mom?”  Lida said “Doug, Doug!  I had to go back upstairs I forgot something!  Guess where I’m going today!”  I shrugged my shoulders.  She said “To the park, to plant some rocks!”  I made a confused face and she burst out laughing and grabbed my forearm with both her hands.  She said “Don’t worry I’ll explain!”

I’ve written about Lida before, I met her the first week I was here and we quickly became friends.  She’s 41 years old and cute as a button.  She has amblyopia (what some people refer to as lazy eye, her left one) and the mind of a second grader.  But she has a studio on the floor above mine, lives alone and takes care of herself nicely. 

She has to follow certain rules though, like not leaving the premises on her own or turning on her stove.  She has a microwave, electric kettle and George Foreman grill to do her cooking.  She works 4 days a week at Giant Eagle supermarket as a bagger. 

Lida went on to tell me that her & her mom were going to North Park to put painted rocks under various bushes and around the roots of trees. People who found them were free to admire them or take them home or plant them somewhere else.  Lida fished out a freezer bag of red stones from her Wizard of Oz tote and handed it to me.  She said “Can you guess what these are?”  I said “Um… strawberries?” 

She burst out laughing and said “No, try again!  They’re ladybugs!”  My heart wilted.

Later when I was talking to my friend Danielle, I shared the Lida story and added “I couldn’t help but notice Lida’s pants.  She was wearing those yoga pants that are like a second skin, with little white Snoopys all over them.  She has a really cute figure.  What if some shady character spotted her in the park and sexually assaulted her and got her pregnant?  I just saw Mastriano on the news this morning.”

If you don’t live in the state of Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano recently won the GOP candidates seat for the race for governor this November.  He’s a formidable character, the very definition of frightening right wing extremism.

The faces of good vs awful:  Josh Shapiro, our Democratic nominee on the left & Doug Mastriano on the right. 

Mastriano promises to ban ALL abortions in Pennsylvania if elected, even in cases of rape or incest.  “No exceptions!”

Getting back to my question, Danielle said “She’d be forced to have the baby.” I said “What if you were assaulted?  You mean to tell me Josh is going to sit there and watch his wife’s belly grow with her attacker’s baby for nine months?” 

Danielle said “I have the resources to go to Canada and get an abortion.  Lida will be expected to hand hers over to some nice Christian couple.” 

I said “And what if the baby has a lazy eye and is born a special needs baby like Lida?”  Danielle said “It would probably wind up in an orphanage.  We’ll probably see more of those springing up in the next 20 years.”

My friend is probably right.  And the Democrats will wind up fighting to get funding for them, while the Republcans tell us to take a hike.

44 comments:

  1. I hadn't thought of the possibility of more orphanages. Sad. Linda in Kansas

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    1. I hadn't either, Linda. I don't know what to think.

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  2. I am pro life. It isn't the baby's fault its father is an evil man. You just don't know who you are aborting. It could be Hitler or Einstein. I gave birth to a kid nobody wanted and I love her dearly. Because of her, I have 2 grandkids. All life is precious. Gigi hawaii

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    1. Well Gigi, you're smart and a friend, and I respect your opinion--but I'll never believe a woman should be forced to have a baby against her will. We might as well round fertile women up and treat 'em like cattle.

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    2. OK, Doug. Thanks for not deleting my comment. Lol. Gigi hawaii

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    3. Delete Gigi Hawaii?? Never! :^)

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  3. Pro-choice here all the way. Orphanages and poorhouses, we'll be back to where we were many decades ago. No abortions, no safety nets, no support for working people. I've heard people refer to themselves as "adult orphans" but I think it's just a way to indicate that they've lost both parents, not that they actually are orphaned. Joel seems like he takes that term literally.

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    1. Thanks Margaret, well said. And I so much agree about going back to institutionalizing unwanted children... along with women mutilating themselves (or worse) from do-it-yourself attempts.if no one's going to help them. As for Joel (and btw, I should've used fake names here and I didn't), he is more like a big baby! Sorry, I had to say it.

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  4. Dug, I love the idea of putting painted rocks in the park. I've heard of some place that puts hand-blown glass pieces around an island and people look for them.
    As for pro-life and pro-choice, I respect people's opinions, but to me there's no difference in the 2. I'm certainly pro-life, but I'm also pro-choice. I don't think I could ever get an abortion, but also would never tell another woman what she should or shouldn't do with her body (IMO it's between her and God). And there will always be circumstances that affect the situation.

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    1. Rian, thanks very much for your comment here--so well said. I try to see both sides (though I'm pro choice), but I like this a lot. And I'd love to see those hand-blown glass pieces, so cool!

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  5. Ha, I'd naturally assume 'juvenile' as well when I hear the word 'orphan'. You remind me of how diverse and interesting fellow apartment dwellers are. I miss those interactions from my highrise days. Still stunned by the anti-abortion rulings in your great nation. I think the early stage abortion pill, RU-486, should be readily available to anyone, anywhere!

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    1. Florence, I read this and I just think "common sense". How I wish it prevailed here like it seems to in Canada. Anyway, I do like the diversity here, with 100 neighbors you're going to meet all types. At the same time, I daydream about your charming homestead! πŸ™‚

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  6. Love painted rocks. Had someone leave one by my mailbox and I kept it. It makes me smile.
    I kind of agree with Rian. I would never have an abortion nor counsel someone to have one. However, they have the right to choose that path and shouldn't have to resort to prohibitive travel and expense or back alley. I had a good friend choose back alley and it almost killed her.
    I think Joel is exaggerating the orphan routine for sympathy and is a bit pathetic.

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    1. Patti, thank you. You have your opinions, but your empathy too. We could use more thinkers like you in politics. And I feel a little guilty, but boy did you sum up Joel! I honestly kept waiting for him to say he was just kidding, but he didn't. When Lida entered the lobby he went outside and smoked a cigarette! 🀨

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  7. I never understood the term “pro-life.” A lot of people consider themselves that but the better term is pro-birth. Pro-birth folks want to build a wall at the boarder so those seeking a better life, can’t. They’re against free healthcare, birth control and welfare. In their mind, once you’re out of the womb, you’re on your own. Oh and GUNS, give everyone a gun..sorry, that’s not pro-life. -Danielle

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    1. Danielle, you always tell it like it is. Thank you! And as always, thank you for letting me share our conversations on here. You're one of the most unafraid people I know. πŸ™‚πŸ‘

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    2. You are right, Danielle. The term is not accurate. It should be pro-birth.

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  8. Have you ever heard of a book called "Freakonomics - The Hidden Side of Everything?" In it, he lays out a convincing argument (based on many scientific studies) that crime and abortion are closely tied together. Namely, the more women who are forced to have children they don't want leads to an increase in crime. It was very interesting.

    Like Gigi, I don't think I could ever kill a fetus, unwanted or not, even if I am inadvertently creating more crime decades into the future. It just seems wrong to my moral values to take the life of a living thing that will become a human. But I also don't think the government really needs to have a say in whether or not someone chooses to do so for their own moral reasons different than mine. To me, it is a decision that needs to be made between the mother, the father and their god.

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    1. Ed I haven't heard of that book, but I think I'll look more into that, it does sound pretty interesting. Well, I can certainly respect your pro-life views, but I very much appreciate your overall judgment it be with the parents (or parent). I just think that even for the "pro-est" pro-lifer, there's always going to be extenuating circumstances and our GOP candidate doesn't.

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  9. Hi Doug, so many interesting comments as always. I firmly believe every woman should have the choice to have an abortion or not. I just can’t understand what is going on in the states lately! Sad, sad, sad.
    Painted rocks are popular around here quite a bit. I have found a few recently. Most are quite beautiful. People hide them in our two local parks.
    Linda sounds very sweet. Wonderful she can live on her own and have some independence.
    Take care Doug.❤️
    Robin

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    1. Thanks for sharing Robin (and I agree about the interesting comments, including yours). And I don't want to say you're right and others are wrong, but.. that's how I feel too. I'm not a woman of course, but I just think we take this right away from them and we'll be going after gay marriages and other minority victories next. Welcome to the new America! Oops sorry for my mini rant! Anyway Robin, you would like Lida. She is about as innocent a person as they come. Thanks again for sharing. πŸ™‚

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  10. You certainly have some interesting neighbours and even more so, interesting conversations with them. :)

    I consider myself pro-choice too. I've been in the situation where I was pregnant and not certain if I wanted to continue the pregnancy. I did, in the end, and have a son I love very much. But I was in a good place in my life (with the exception of his father), had things been different I likely would have made a different choice. It didn't take much to dump the guy...he went on to get another woman pregnant just a few months later and was a dead-beat dad with that child as well. I have a suggestion, all men should get a vasectomy to ensure no unwanted pregnancies. When they are ready for children, it can be reversed. I'm being only slightly facetious with that statement.

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    1. Hi Maebeme, and thank you very much for sharing your story. I very much appreciate your honesty here, I'm glad things worked out for you in regards to your son. I've gotta say.. that idea about the vasectomies for us men isn't such a bad one. It's mostly male politicians stepping on women's rights, let 'em put up or shut up! πŸ™‚πŸ‘

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  11. I am pro-choice. However, that being said, I don't see that I could have ever had an abortion. It feels wrong to me on a personal level. I also don't think that my thoughts on it should matter to anybody but me.

    I think the part that bothers me the most is the flat out lying that the right is using to make their argument. Abortion is not 'legal' right up to nine months. A late term abortion is always a tragedy. My son and his wife had a child who died. It was taken a month early in an attempt to save it. He did not live. It would be called an abortion by the standards that the republicans are using. It wasn't. I can tell you that never was a baby as wanted as that one. It broke all of our hearts.

    A quote from Donald Trump, president at the time: With a late-term abortion, "the mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully. And then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby." It's not true. It has never been true. Yet the gd president stands there before the crowds and claims that it is true.

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    1. Debby, this was captivating thank you. I was so sorry to read about your son and his wife, how that can even be compared to an abortion is beyond me. And I remember Trump's quote all too well, but I'm glad you shared it here. What an awful thing he spewed, at the time I just prayed that people were smart enough to realize what a hateful liar he was. And still is! Anyway, thank you again for sharing here.

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    2. Debby I'm not seeing anything?

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    3. Hmm...it sent. Let see.

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  12. It seems like the same people that are screaming about their gun rights are the ones that want to take away women's rights. There's something funny about that picture.

    Lida sounds like a very sweet friend and I love painted rocks!

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    1. Bonnie, I thought that too but I'm glad to hear someone else say it! Thanks my friend. And yes, Lida is about as good as they come, and I've never met a painted rock I didn't like! πŸ˜„

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  13. If Lida is going to the park with her mum, I think she'll be okay. Does she understand she should never go there alone? As for the Orphan thing, I don't think it matters if you are an only child or not. If your parents die, then you are an orphan. I'm an orphan too. But I do wonder if we shouldn't keep the term just for children who lose their parents and then have to be raised by family or foster parents, since most adults over a certain age are sure to be orphans, but they are fully functioning without assistance. Feeling sorry for them as "orphans" seems a bit ridiculous.

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    1. Thank you River. Well, you can't get to the park without a car or the bus so no worries there. And I very much like your "orphan logic", I agree completely with what you wrote! πŸ™‚

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  14. I thought Roe v Wade settled the abortion issue long ago -- if it didn't, it should have. It was a good decision. My ex-wife considered herself an orphan, at age 45, when her mother died. I guess I understood where she was coming from, but I really didn't understand the feeling. After my mom and dad died, circa 2000, I was sad, but still didn't feel like an orphan. But ... there's no accounting for feelings.

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    1. Thanks Tom, I thought it was settled 50 years ago too! As for your ex-wife, I think you said it best. There's no accounting for feelings. πŸ™‚

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  15. My mother died when I was in my forties, with my dad long gone, and I remember that feeling of not having parents any more. I wouldn't exactly call myself an orphan, but I know I felt real loss. And years ago, I helped my stepdaughter get an abortion. She was 14 and didn't know what to do. We talked about her options and she finally decided it was best, but she agonized (we both did) over it.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your feelings DJan... I thought a tremendous sense of loss myself when my mom passed, but it seems like seeing yourself as an orphan discounts their legacy. And your poor stepdaughter.. my gosh how could anyone become a mom that young. I'm very glad she had you to turn to.

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  16. The backlash of these extremist decisions will be Lifelong for so many and they care not about the hardships and trauma they will exact upon Society. In Years to come, after all these unwanted or unplanned Babies are actually Born, the very same people who insisted they be protected in the Womb will not give two shits what happens to any of them outside of the Womb, nor will they want to provide any Services or Support System for any of them or their Families. The whole issue has never been about the Children or the Mothers/Families who will be forced to bear the consequences of someone else's decision that gave them no options/choice or control over their own Bodies. I would never presume to tell another Human Being what that agonizing decision should be, it is theirs to make and theirs alone.

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    1. So well said! Thank you Bohemian, boy did you hit the nail on the head.

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  17. I am pro-life, but it's hard to even have that discussion anymore because it often ends in shouting. I won't respond to those in your community with different opinions - we're all entitled to those and they should be respected. But I do take issue with the belief that what could happen with Roe soon is a result of a bunch of evil right-wing religious zealots out to subjugate women. It’s a mainstream belief held by about 50% of the country, including men and women or all ages, races and religious affiliations. To illustrate, Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in US, has about 908K Facebook followers; Live Action, a non-profit pro-life organization, has more than 3 million.

    I'm sorry, but I have yet to have anyone tell me why it is okay to end the existence of a biologically living, genetically human entity. Perhaps it comes down to whether one believes humans at any age, born or unborn, have intrinsic worth. I believe we do.

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    1. Hi David, well I certainly appreciate your honesty and sharing it here on my modest blog. It's helpful to hear both sides. πŸ™‚

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  18. Pro choice here. It's the way I've always voted. I'd been in college a semester when Roe v. Wade passed. I'm sick that we're having to rehash the decision. My Dad was an OB-Gyn in the late '50s, '60s, and on til 1985. There will always be abortions. He knew which doc at that time did them safely, even if not legally. Too many women have horrendous injuries or excessive bleeding and die from trying to hide their botched abortion. The jerks who want to declare a miscarriage a crime make me puke. Many women have miscarriages, usually in the first trimester. Only when one occurs, do we find out how many other women went through that. That fact that those are called "spontaneous abortions" must have the Republicans in a tither. I hope the Democrats and Independents wake up and get to the polls. Linda in Kansas

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    1. "There will always be abortions.". Linda thanks very much for sharing, this is what I think many refuse or don't know to see. That's cool about your dad,and yes yes about Dems getting to the polls. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

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  19. Well, I'm definitely pro-choice. It's the poor that will suffer because they often can't travel out of state to get an abortion. And then, they'll have another mouth to feed and be forever struggling. For other desperate women, they will resort to method that will cause their death or severe injury. It really infuriates me that you would want the government to be put in charge of our bodies. Even in case of incest or rape? Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!

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  20. Oh gosh! I just read what Linda wrote. She said it better.

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