If this visit to Found Baby's musings is your first, welcome! Found Baby writes about her everyday adventures, about how she feels, thinks, and the challenges she faces living in a world so obsessed with beauty and perfection. As she adjusts to life out of the ground, she can't help but recall bits and pieces of her life before she was buried, and those memories are heartbreaking. It might help if you start from her first post back in March 2010, and read backwards to learn the story about how she was found. If you are simply reading the current post, may her story of survival and hope touch at least one of you. She believes there are no coincidences, and you landing on her blog isn't one either.
Welcome, no masks needed...........Found Baby.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Tears of Delphine

For the next three days I waited with baited breath. I waited for Arly to sit me down and tell me that she had all the answers, that she could tell me what had happened to my Angel Face. I paced, I fretted, I paced, but no answer came...and I got angry. I just couldn't understand why she wouldn't finally, after all these months, tell me what she had found out...and that she knew what had happened. 

As the warmth of the sun lit up my face through the window I laid in the bed a while and watched the shadow leaves dance across my fingers. It appeared to be a beautiful day, a bit chilly because I was bluer than blue this morning, but not cold enough for sky blue. Found Friend was still snoring and for the life of me I couldn't figure out how such  a loud sound could come from such a tiny nose. I thought about my anger for a while, how it seemed to seep through my pores and create a film around my spirit. I had to let it go, I had to trust that Arly would clue me in when it was time. So I did.

After a while I rolled out of bed and heard music playing in the kitchen. This meant Arly was in a spectacularly great mood and this got my juices flowing toward optimism. 

Sure enough, Arly was pouring coffee and I could tell she was smiling because the steam seamed to hit her face and smile too. This made me wonder what she was up to....and I knew it was something. When the usual good morning hugs were given, Arly whispered in my ear that she had a new friend she wanted me to meet, one that was coming to live with us for a while, and who needed some special friends. Wooohooo! I loved meeting new friends now, Arly knew this, but as soon as I got all excited the sense of dread hit me in the gut because  I was afraid she wouldn't like me. All the fears of being made fun of because of the way I looked flooded my eyes, but Arly just smiled. She promised me Delphine, that's the new girl's name, would love me. She would love me because Delphine was special too. 

There was something about her, she glowed pink and fresh, and not once did I notice her hair. Well, maybe once, but it was a millisecond compared to the fact that she reminded me of how we all were once pretty like her. Hesitantly, I said "Hi", and quiet tears started flowing from her face. I asked her why she was crying and she just hung her head. I had been here before, when I was first brought out of the ground, and I knew why her heart ached. And then, as quick as lightning, a hint of terror crossed my heart and was gone as soon as it came. I had hoped she didn't notice that my blue faded into ice blue or that the three hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. I knew this face...I knew it like I was breathing. 

All Arly would tell me was that Delphine was sick and the medicine she had to take every day made her hair fall out, and Delphine was embarrassed that she looked ugly and that people would make fun of her, so she was going to join our family for a while. 


At first, I didn't realize she never flinched when she saw me, that was a first, but as I began to talk with her, and share a little about my story, her tears turned to smiles and her eyes regained somewhat of a sparkle. For hours we spent talking, like best pals, I let go of the spit of fear I had felt before and tried to shake the feeling that I had seen her, had known her. 

 She told me all about having to stay in the hospital and being sick, and missing her friends. She shared how horrified she was to lose her hair, and I chuckled at her and shared my story of having roots grow out of mine. I told her all about My Angel Face and the struggle I have had living life without her. We would be soul sisters, I knew this, and I was grateful for Arly bringing her here, and I knew from the bottom of my heart that our connection was linked deeply in the past, we had walked this place together, and the fact that she was here was no coincidence. 

Later that day I pulled Arly aside and asked her why she was sick. Arly simply said she had a germ inside her body that made her that way and the doctors were working hard to help her. The medicine she takes to get well sometimes make one's hair fall out, which is one reason Delphine was so sad. I thought about this for a long time and it made me kinda sad, no, a lot sad too. I didn't really think Delphine needed to see any more sad faces for a while, so I made a promise to myself that I would bring her tears new smiles....through my blue face and hair with roots. And I would pray for her too. I was grateful for Delphine. 

I was grateful....and now I was also terrified. The minute she looked at me and winked through her beautiful transparent eyes I knew we were in danger. I knew our lives were fixing to head down a journey I once lived before, and nothing at all was as it seemed. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Opossum Comes a Calling!

Holy Cow Moly! Arly got an opossum today....or should I say an "Opossum!" When I first saw him, I mean Philip I, I chuckled a bit because he was just a tad 'weird looking,' then I remembered how I looked and decided he was pretty handsome...as possums go. I knew about opossums, but what I knew didn't fit the bill for Philip. Late at night, especially when the moon chose to stay hidden, I would feel the prickle of tiny fingernails across my back and at first think I was saved. Sadly, once the cold, wet nose would start rooting around I would realize it wasn't my knight in shining armor coming to rescue me but an opossum, a grub hunting, bug snorting opossum! I didn't particularly care for them. When Angel Face was little, one got into the trash can and scared us both half to death when we took Mama's garbage out. He hissed, like we were wicked or something, but Philip seemed a lot different than those opossums. Philip seemed....friendly. 

His eyes were the same color as mine and Arly told me he was found under a car and left for dead. Oh, my heart broke because it made me remember that feeling of being left for dead, and I knew that I would instantly love Philip. Found Friend wasn't so willing, in fact, she was scared hairless and decided to stay far away from Philip. That meant he was all mine, which made me secretly happy on the inside. For the life of me I couldn't quit looking at him, his whiskers, his long piano fingers, and that tail! I figure God's imagination started to work overtime when he created opossums because they were one interesting critter. 

Philip seemed to like me too, but keeping his attention and carrying on a conversation took a bit of a go. Good thing I smelled like dirt I figure, kind of made him feel at home. We spent a swell bit of time playing in our bucket of dirt today and it wasn't so bad. I mean, it didn't bring back horror thoughts of being buried, in fact, it was the first time ever that I could remember loving the feeling of dirt on my skin. Guess that was because having an opossum to share the dirt with wasn't such a bad thing after all, and glad as goats I wasn't something he was prone to eating. 

Before I could reach my hand up toward his face his eye caught the light landing on something at the base of the stairs. I gently looked over and realized he had no idea what this was.....but I did, and it would change everything. Sitting ever so still on the stairs was a small brown package, wrapped in twine and a message scrawled across the front. 

Ardith Goodwin
"A Clue To The Answers You Seek"
Wilson B. Chinaberry

My heart exploded out of the dirt.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

An Apple a Day

It is hard to comprehend the past few days really. What I can recall is that Arly found me passed out beside my bed, barely breathing. So much about that night is fuzzy really, except I remember heaving and feeling as if the very breath inside me would never return. Honestly, I wanted to die. Maybe Arly knew this, maybe she understood that the pain of what I had felt and remembered in that nightmare was too much to bear. I really couldn't tell, but she had watched me with a careful eye the past few days and made me promise to talk about it when I was ready. Gazing out the window, I knew I would never be ready to have that conversation, not for a very long time. I just didn't want to go there, and part of me knew Arly understood this. 

This evening though something happened that upset Arly and at first I didn't quite understand why. She received some news that a man named Steve Jobs had passed away of  Pancreatic Cancer at age 56 and was heartbroken over it. I knew all too well what this cancer thing meant, as Angel Face's PawPaw died way too young over what she called the "C" word. I asked Arly about him, and why she was so upset. At first she didn't feel up to talking much about it but later she pulled me in her lap at the computer and showed me a picture of him. 

As I looked at him he seemed like such a young man to have died, kind of like PawPaw, and then I realized he was only 6 years older than I was. Arly then went on to tell me how important he was to the tech industry and how he had changed people's lives because of his inventions with the computers and many other things.  I thought a lot about this, and how some folks seem to work hard to serve others and contribute. Angel Face never really got a chance to do that, but I know like I am breathing that if she could have, she would have served others, her heart was just that big. 

Arly said she wanted me to hear a quote from Steve Jobs about dying......or living actually. I looked at her like she was daft, but when she read the quote I knew exactly why she shared it with me. 

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs

I also felt ashamed for feeling like I wanted to die earlier. Yes, I hurt, my heart hurts, but I am still here. I still have something left to give, and deep down inside I know that Angel Face would want me to do that. I looked up at Arly with tears in my eyes and knew that I would be OK. I may have this huge hole in my heart but at least I have the ability to feel, and love, and experience life. Angel Face doesn't have that, but I do. What I know now is that despite what I remember or am not ready to face, there is life to be lived while all that takes place, and that life is important. I buried my head in Arly's lap and lay there for a while. We were both sad over losing people in our lives, but we were both still here, looking at the grass from the top not the bottom. I would have to work on being grateful for that, for I sure don't want to go back to picking dirt out of my mouth. 


Flashback Part 2

The days following my nightmare seemed as if they all blurred into one, long bit of existence. It wasn't that I was trying to forget her, I just found the memory so painful that going back there....re-living that horrid night wasn't something I thought I ever would have to do. Exhausted, I picked myself up and decided to to put the images that broke my heart away, deep inside where no one, not even I could reach them. There was only one problem. I had no control over what my mind did at night. With this realization, I made a promise to myself that I would not fall asleep. I wouldn't close my eyes after the lights dimmed, not for a split second. I would nap while Baby B was close by. I would catnap when Arly was playing some tunes and I could pretend to close my eyes and listen. I simply wouldn't sleep at night.....sleeping was not an option. 

It was close to three days before Arly realized that something wasn't right. Maybe it was the fact that my rusted eyelids started creaking and actually closing every now and then or maybe it was the fact that I would daze off in the middle of a conversation. Regardless, Arly knew something was up and I wasn't sure if hiding the fact that I was afraid to go back to sleep was a great idea. As much as I wanted to say something, to fall out and tell her what I had remembered, I knew that if I did there would be many more questions than I was prepared to answer. You see, there was much more at stake here than just recalling a bad time. If I agreed to tell the truth, especially the truth as it seemed to be imprinted in my mind, I would be putting Arly in danger as well as Baby B. I had already lived this nightmare once. There was no way I was willing to live it again, and if that meant keeping the truth a secret, then that is what I was prepared to do. 

Arly insisted that we go to bed early because I think she was wising up on my effort to avoid getting some shut eye. Secretly I had wondered if Baby B had ratted me out, but she made no mention of it which is unlike her, so I just decided that my face must have given it away. Three separate times today I was able to get a bit of sleep so I figured tonight would be a piece of cake. Baby B and I headed to bed, pulled back the handmade quilt that Arly had made for us, and crawled into bed. As soon as I heard the faint whisper of Baby B's snoring I opened my eyes and started counting the faces that I found in the wooden planked ceiling. I could do this for hours and it helped me pass the night away. As I began to count though I heard a strange noise coming from the other room. It was as if there was a radio playing but somehow it lost its signal and the music turned to garbled noise. It wasn't loud, but if I got up to check it out I was worried that Arly might hear me, so instead, I just lay there trying to put it out of my mind. Cautiously, I looked up at the moonlight across the ceiling and saw the number 17 appear as if from now where. There was the face of a monkey in the moon and one rather regal looking ant with a crown and a collar. My eyes kept getting heavy. I opened them, held them open with my fingers, but as quickly as I did that....

Flashback Part II

11 steps to the bottom of the staircase was what I remembered and as he took a step on the first one the board creaked as if it were crying out in pain. There were small cracks in steps three and four which gave me and Angel Face a chance to see a tiny bear paw imprint on the bottom of his shoe. I knew this print all too well as it showed up on Angel Face's back occasionally, only backwards. She gripped my face ever so tightly, and as he began to move towards the tenth step a shiny, flicker of light flashed in the corner of my eye. It was a the tip of an ice pick which had fallen behind an old crate which Paw Paw used to use when he would get a bunch of block ice delivered. Angel Face saw it too and as she reached out to grab it with her tiny fingers the light caught the bracelet her mamma gave her in just the right way to make it glow like a moonbeam. It was too late. He had seen us, but not before she was able to grab the ice pick and conceal it under her sleeve. Ten Fingers reached out and grabbed her by the nape of her neck. As she screamed she dropped me, and I lay there unable to move with my eyes wide open and able to see everything. It was in this split second that I saw three things: the tip of the ice pick followed by what seemed like buckets of blood, Angel Face's bracelet shattered on the floor beside me, and Robin's Egg blue paint flown in my direction. After that, the lights went out.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flashback Part 1

Making my eyelids open was not something I found at all appealing this morning. On the other hand, keeping them closed and living in the land of nightmares wasn't something I was willing to do one second longer, so open them I did. Baby B was sound asleep, and a snorer. For that I was grateful, because I knew she wouldn't see the tears rolling down my face, hear my heart beat that seemed to pound out of my chest, or realize that something was wrong. Baby B seemed quite peaceful in her slumber, and I lay there and wept beside her.

We were hiding that night, behind the back of the cellar stairs, next to the cobwebs and the remnants of rat droppings. There was a stale smell in the air, and one of dampness that I thought would permeate our skin if we breathed for very long. Angel Face had this look of pure horror on her pale, porcelain face and all she could do was hold her hand over our mouths and pray our breathing was silent. We could hear him upstairs, between the cracks of the floor boards, his screams seemed to stretch out and grab us by the collar. This had happened before, when Angel Face's mother was out visiting her with her bridge group, but this night seemed different. This time, I sensed there was a real possibility that we may not survive this night. And just about then, the cellar door opened. 

I couldn't lay in the bed any longer for fear my sobs would wake Baby B, so I ever so slowly pulled back the covers, being careful not to send a chill to her legs, and put the blanket back just so. Arly wasn't awake, in fact, the house was quiet except for hum of the of the air conditioner, so I headed towards the bathroom where my special mirror stays, the one just tall enough for me to see myself without help. Looking in mirrors isn't my favorite thing to do, but I wanted to make sure there was no evidence of tears, or cat butter, or anything  resembling the fact that I had nightmares. I was bound and determined to forget what I dreamed, if it was the last thing I ever did. The only problem was, with every breath, all  I could hear were screams......

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let The Colors Flow

I realize I'm different. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. What's been bugging me lately though, like a NoSeeUm at a picnic, is that I don't feel different. I mean, I don't feel ugly. Inside, I feel beautiful, but outside.....I look ugly. At least I think that is how people see me. People seem to really care about being all dolled up, putting their face on, and doing up their hair. Angel Face used to play with my hair, when I had hair and didn't look like this, but she would have loved me even now. Angel Face wouldn't care that I am different, she would simply love me because of me.

One thing I have learned since coming out of the ground is that looks shouldn't matter as much as they do. When Arly takes me and Found Friend out on field trips, I watch people. I see their eyes staring back at me, like they are trying to figure out just what is wrong with me. Do they not get that sometimes their hair is hideous? Do they not realize their face may look like as different as inside, outside, and bassackwards? Maybe they don't really. Maybe they just see me as bizarre, and won't take the time to see past my face into who I am. I see that as a shame on their part. Humans are just too artificial I think. They need a good dose of some dirt to change their lenses.

This afternoon, as the sun started to dip just a little lower than it normally does I decided I would plank myself next to the window so I could feel the warmth of the light flowing in. I didn't expect what happened next. I mean, I had no idea the light would turn to color, and as soon as I realized it the colors started to flow all over me and all of a sudden I knew I would be OK, at least for today. Basking in the glow of all that rainbow light made me realize something. Yes, I am different. But on the inside, I am filled with all these brilliant lights that are beautiful, and one day, yes, one day, most folks will see the light inside me instead of landing their eyes on my face and stopping cold. Maybe I will tell Arly to write that in her book. Maybe I will tell her to tell them.....to see me for who I am, not what I look like. Then again, Arly already does that, and I bet as sure as I am blue she will tell the world for me. She will tell them, let their colors flow too!

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One Long, Hot Summer!

I used to lay in my bed at night and wonder what Arly was thinking. I wondered why she spent countless hours talking about how she found me, how tragic it was that I was found like.....well...you know, but that she quit using her typewriter thingy to share my story. My feelings were actually hurt a little and I didn't understand. 

Was it because she got tired of writing about an ugly doll?
Was it because she thought my story didn't matter any more? 
Was it because she didn't love me? 

All those thoughts, ideas, fears I say.....yes, fears, floated around in my head for the past few months and I didn't have the courage to be bold enough to ask her. As the days grew hotter, and the nights caused my hair to stick in clumps, all matted like because of this gosh awful Alabama humidity, I secretly wondered what had happened...until today that is. Today I got my answers, and if my cheeks could blush, I would be glowing a beautiful shade of amethyst, rather than my usual peacock blue. 

Arly has been writing a book.  Not just any book. Not just a simple story like Harold and the Purple Crayon. Not just a "sits on the shelf and gets dusty" book, but a book about ME! All this time, all this "what on earth was she thinking time", she was writing my story and now I feel all silly like. I really thought she didn't love me. For shame I say! Arly said it was no accident how I was found and this story was bigger than the both of us and needed to be told, but there were details about it she had to be careful with, for reasons she couldn't share with me. That made my heart skip I beat but I trust her....I trust her that she will learn the truth and share it. 

After looking into Arly's eyes...I mean really looking into them, I knew she had my heart so mine relaxed a bit and I felt known. This gave me a chance to come up for air and turn my attention to the coming days ahead and wanting to have my picture taken again. I kind of got spoiled being in front of the lens, and a small part of me kind of sighed because I missed having the looks of "pretty" even though I know I am pretty on the inside.

 At first, after I was found, I didn't want my picture taken because I was embarrassed about how I looked. But these days, I am embracing my 'inner beauty' and have high hopes to be a couture model. Arly had this magazine filled with dolls as pretty as petunias. Their faces where baby butt soft looking and their hair....well their hair is what dreams are made of. When Arly wasn't looking I crawled up onto that magazine with a mirror to get a look-see at what it would be like to have big hair. What do you think? Is it me? Gaaaahhhhhh! It's crazy looking isn't it? 

g hair to be loved. I've got that love couture market cornered these days, :) 

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Black Gold Is Not For The Birds

Black Gold, or oil, as some call it, seems to get folks all stirred up more than anything I know. For days I have heard conversations about oil in the Gulf, families going out of business, and animals dying. I don't quite understand exactly what has happened, but it sure has Arly upset, which reminds me of another time, many years ago, that people I cared about were upset over oil.

Angel Face's family was in the oil business. I know that because her daddy ran the company his daddy started back in the 30's, and they didn't lack for money or for round the clock visitors in the house. Her daddy wasn't one of those men who came home looking like a tar ball washed up on the beach or anything, he was a suit man, and the one all the other folks who came to visit seemed to give a heap of respect to. Most of the time the business of oil wasn't discussed while Angel Face or the family was doing family things, but I recall one  month, which led in to several, that the topic of oil was the only thing talked about, and Angel Face was glad for the distractions. 

"Oil Embargo", that's the phrase I would hear being chewed up and spit out during those months. The talk was so loud and angry filled, that I would guess the dolls in the next house could have heard it too. Angel's daddy stayed angry, he paced the floors, stayed gone at times a lot longer than usual, and I almost thought this embargo thing might be an answer from God to the prayers I had been praying, but it didn't last. It stirred things up, and eventually, things seemed to go back to normal, but I don't think normal is what anyone should call it really. 

Similar discussions have been going on here at Arly's, but with a completely different tone I think. She is sad. Sitting in her lap, while watching the local news, pictures of birds  coated in oil like oily chocolate dip cones flashed before us  and grown men stood crying about losing everything they had because of the spill. I knew this wasn't about a family upset about moving down the money ladder, it was about a terrible insult to all things beautiful, and I was sad too. 

I don't understand a whole lot about what people folk do and get themselves into, but I do know, after spending years buried underneath time filled layers of dirt, that nature must be protected. Angel Face loved nature too.

There was just something about going down to the creek and playing in the glass water, that's what she called it, that made her smile from the inside out. She had bug collections, and named each one with names beginning with F. Her favorite was Frinkle, some kind of weird looking beetle thing that had wings with jewel colors. I think she could have easily been a fairy in another life, living amongst the beautiful nature beings that most folks seem to take for granted, and maybe she is now. Maybe she is a fairy angel protecting all those things she loved.

Just before going to bed I remembered playing with a glass bowl and some sea shells on one of the field trips Arly took me on. I closed my eyes and prayed that God would place a bubble like that  around all things beautiful in the Gulf, and I pictured Angel Face with a bubble around her too, keeping all the "oily bad stuff" out, and letting only the beautiful in. I wish we would have had that bubble a long time ago, but some wishes come way too late don't they?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Superman Has Nothing On Me Today!

No blah, no ick, no wanting to bury my head back in the dirt today. On this day, I feel like nothing could get me down, not my blueberry face, my balding head, my cut off fingers, nothing, nada, zip! Not even being called a creep face. On this day I found out Arly has been looking for E.B.Chinaberry, Ecky is coming home from the doll hospital, and I have been invited to my very own art show. Days like this make life worth living. So, chase those mullygrubbies away folks and do the happy dance with me. (I can't really bend my legs so I need you to humor me on this one!) 

On a separate note, Arly told me she has to go the hospital in the morning to have some surgery. I asked her if she was scared, and she promised me she wasn't, but I am not too sure. Just between you and me, I am gonna hide out in her bag and go with her just in case she needs me to hold her hand. Since I don't really have too many fingers, she can hold my arm that is. Lord have mercy, I forget sometimes I am missing parts of myself. 

Think I just might go put some Peter, Paul, and Mary on vinyl to play in the front room and groove with Baby B for a while. Today, dirt is for worms and life is good!

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Heads

I have a blue face and a balding head. Terrible isn't it? When I walk past a mirror I sometimes do a double take because I don't recognize the face I see looking back at me. I didn't always look like this. Once upon a time, I had soft, curly hair that hung gently across my shoulders in little ringlets, my lips were a baby blush pink, and my eyes were, well, beauty star gorgeous. But now, I am what some call disfigured, or ugly, or at worst.....creepy looking. Yep, I said it, some people see me and just think I look creepy. 

For the most part, I don't mind the way I look. I mean, I have had a bit of time to adjust and get used to my new appearance, but every now and then there are moments that take me back to that horrific night, the night I was made to look like this. One of Arly's little friends came for a visit and brought her new little baby doll. That's what got me all in a tizzy because that doll had baby doll skin, like I used to have, and it made me angry. I didn't get angry at this new baby, instead, it made me angry about what happened to us all those years ago, to Baby B and Ecky, but most of all, to Angel Face. 

When no one was looking, I crawled up on the table where that little, or should I say, little doll with a rather large head, was propped up next to her blanket. I couldn't figure out why her head seemed so large compared to mine. She didn't talk, she didn't wink or smile, she just sat there staring blankly into space. At first I got the shivers, like a cat walked across my back, because I feared that after we were buried, they quit making dolls like us, and these new dolls were just rubber baby looking things. But something inside me told me that wasn't the case. I think my face may have just scared this doll slap to death or something. 

Part of me wished I had a cattle prod so I could shock that doll into life again, but then I thought bad about thinking that. I had no clue what had happened to her, I just looked at her face, her larger than should be face, and assumed the worst I guess. My stomach started to hurt because it occurred to me that most people do the same thing to me, and it makes me feel bad. I had a lot of thinking to do, about myself, about how I feel about other folks, and things, and ideas. 

This little doll may look perfect, but underneath it all, I think I have the perfect little doll life of anyone I know. I may not look all beautiful anymore, but I am loved, I have friends, I have the wonderful memories of my Angel Face, and most of all, I have the belief that everyone is beautiful, blue faced or big head and all. I might need to tattoo that to my forehead for a while to remind me, but for now, I think I will go and play I Spy with Baby B. Maybe we can spy a new little baby doll who isn't afraid to make some new friends. Then again, maybe we can just be grateful our heads are exactly like they are.....perfect too. 

I believe beauty is in the soul and like the old tobacco spitting guy who Angel Face used to laugh at would say, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ben Franklin Sparks A Clue

Ever since I have been out of that dirt the strangest things seem to catch my attention. We were traveling down Dauphin Street, once again headed into the Mobile Arts District, and for the first time I noticed what I thought was a little round, yellow and blue castle sitting on the side of the road. The further along the road we went, the more of them I saw and I begged Arly to pull over so I could get a closer look at them. 

At first, she tried to tell me they were just fire hydrants, but I didn't buy that story at all. For one thing, there was no fire anywhere in sight, and for two, back in the day fire hydrants used to be all brown and ugly, almost like metal splinters sticking half way out of the ground, and these fantastic things were way too beautiful than that, not to mention their tops were the same color as my cheeks, so I had to check them out. 

Reluctantly, Arly pulled over and as I climbed out of the car, I realized they were a lot larger than I was and they didn't appear to be a castle at all. Instead, they were hard, and had rounded ridges with strange little knobs here and there. I thought for a minute and looked at Arly all embarrassed because I knew she was right, they must be fire hydrants, I just couldn't get over how bright and colorful they were compared to the ones that I remembered from many years ago. 

She let me climb up on top, to touch the blue hat connected to the yellow post like thingy, and for a minute or two I felt like I had climbed a mountain.  Unexpectedly, I got a bit carried away, lost my balance, and before I knew it I was heading head first toward the sidewalk. Arly caught me just in time, but not before my pride got a little squashed and I felt like a buffoon for being so careless. Arly just grinned at me and told me that curiosity was just a part of life and that if she had been buried for almost 41 years and was found, she would find just about everything she saw pretty fascinating too. 

That seemed to stick with me the rest of the day, the almost falling and cracking my pitiful, bald head part, and a quote from Ben Franklin popped into my head that I must have heard somewhere before: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I can't recall where I had heard that, or how often, but is stuck in my head like an annoying song lyric playing over and over, and after a while I just wanted it to stop. Problem was, I think I needed to hear it over and over because somehow it reminded me of a clue about Angel Face. 

As the day grew longer and we seemed to finally be heading home I closed my eyes and tried to picture who I had heard that from. All I could recall was an image of an elderly man with a nose that seemed to have a tangerine looking thing on the end of it, a grotty, white mustache, and tobacco spit stained teeth. That, along with a contagious laugh that I think Angel Face used to love hearing was all I could see inside my mind, but it made me realize that possibly she had someone that made her laugh a lot in her life, and that was one memory I didn't mind having pop in and out of my head.

Arly didn't seem to notice the note I slipped in her purse, at least if she did, she didn't let on to me. So, later that evening, just before going to bed, I scribbled the name 'E.B.Chinaberry' on the side of the empty toilet paper roll in the bathroom. One thing I knew for sure about human folk, they spend a lot of time going in and out of the bathroom, so I figured I couldn't miss with this one. Before I nodded off I kept hearing that old man repeat that quote, and for a minute, I could hear Angel Face laughing at him. Not a bad way to end my day after all.  

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coming Out Of Hiding!

How do I look? I mean, how do I look all dolled up with clothes on? A lot has happened since the other day when Baby B and I got made fun of through the fence. I knew Arly had been getting ready for a wedding and part of me got a little excited about it at first. I had fretted over what I would wear, because no proper lady goes to a wedding in her underwear, so Arly made this dress for me. When I put it on, I was still really upset about being called a creep face. Getting past that was simply going to take some time, so I tried my best to show some excitement about this dress and going to a wedding. The excitement didn't last long.

Arly's family began arriving in droves and I lost count past 15 of them. Even though I was dressed for the occasion, I wasn't too thrilled about meeting new folks, especially so many of them at one time. I sucked it up though, put my best face forward, and greeted a few of them with my tiny, polite smile. At first, I think they were fascinated by me, or by my looks, because that's all they seemed to talk about. I quickly realized that who I was as a person would not be the topic of conversation, so I kept to myself for the most part. I didn't like big crowds, never did, and sure didn't see any reason to change my attitude now. After a while, when the attention was directed at the bride, I tip-toed back to my room, and felt great comfort just being with Baby B.

Because of all the wedding commotion Arly didn't have a lot of time to spend with me and I was cool with that. I was actually supposed to go to the wedding with her, but after the awkward morning in the yard, and the even more awkward time spent meeting and being oogled over by new folks, I decided I would skip this one. Taking that dress off didn't hurt my feelings one bit either. I think Arly tried her best, but that thing itched like ants on a trashcan, and I just realized my underwear would have to do for now.

There was one point, the day of the wedding when the one toilet in the house broke three hours before the event started, and I really thought Arly was going to lose her mind. Baby B and I just sat back and watched the chaos continue, and for several days we were OK with just being alone and laughing at the human folk. At night, when everyone was asleep, I would sneak out of my room and turn the spooky lights on. They were spooky because they glowed green and purple and I often thought if aliens were real, they would see the lights, almost like beacons, and come visit me. Then again, most folks would think I was one brick short of a full load for thinking that, so I really just liked the way they hid the color of my skin. They almost made me want to live in the shadows forever.

After a few days of hiding out, Arly came hunting me and Baby B. As much as I enjoyed having the house to myself, playing in the dark, and not having to see people, especially when Baby B was asleep, I realized I had missed Arly. She picked us both up and gave me that look, the one I dreaded most of the time....field trip! Before we left though I did one important thing, I wrote down the name of someone I needed to find, who held the key to finding The Ten Man, and left it secretly in her purse. Hopefully, if the wind was blowing my way, luck might be in the air. On the other hand, I just might get as lucky as the chance of catching an alien peeking through my black light. One way or the other, I would find her.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Don't Fence Me In!

My Dearest Angel Face, 
 I dreamed last night about that Tuesday, the day you turned 8 years old, the day that changed everything. You were there with your smiling face and pink cheeks, dressed in your smocked gown with yellow, tiny roses across the front. When the rays of the sun touched your hair it glistened, all golden like, and you laughed your way through the day surrounded by your friends. Do you remember the gift your momma gave you, the one in the jeweled box, that sang to you? I wish I could hear that song again, to feel close to you, because I miss you. I wish for the life of me you had gotten a chance to listen to it too, more than once. My heart believes wherever you are that you are happy, smiling all golden like I remember, and hearing your song. I miss you. 
Loving you muches, 
Found Baby

As soon as I finished writing the letter I balled it up and threw it in the trash. Part of me felt better after writing it,even though it was really sloppy, but part of me was angry. Anger was not an emotion that I cared for, I didn't know what to do with it, how to act, or how to walk through the day with it, but nevertheless, it was here, and I had to deal with it. Missing Angel Face came in waves lately. A certain color, or song, or flash in my mind triggered waves of memories of her, and I deeply missed her. Writing her letters seemed to help, but this one, this one seemed to sting a little bit more, because the details of that day were like they just happened, and anger was all I could embrace through it. I made a vow to myself today, that I would do whatever it took to find out exactly what happened to my Angel Face, and where she might be, in Heaven or here, somewhere near me. 

Not wanting to dwell on being angry all day, I asked Baby B if she wanted to head outside to play, to feel the wind in our little spits of hair, to just be. Arly was fretting over dust bunnies and catering issues since the wedding was Saturday, so we were left with a lot of free time, Baby B and me. 

Baby B dashed for the door and I knew her joy for life was coming back. We played patty cake in the mud, collected three heart shaped rocks, and pretended we were princess fairies with magical powers. It was grand fun, that was until some neighborhood kids stopped by the fence.

Now, I know we look different, I mean, I have a balding head with a blue face and Baby B looks burned and all with her mohawk hair do. But, I never dreamed someone would walk by our own yard and make fun of us. At first the little boys just stared, then they started calling us "Creep Face" and "Burned Baby," which made me angry. Baby B didn't seem to notice, or at least she let on like she didn't, but those words hurt. We walked over to the fence, to try and talk to them, but they just laughed and rode away on their bikes. I stood there for the longest time wondering if this fence was to keep them out, or us in. Honestly, I don't really know now. All I know is that it hurts to be made fun of and I hate it, and for a brief second, I missed that dirt.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

To Be As Lovely As A Spring Flower

For the past 48 hours I have watched Arly run around here and there like new puppy chasing a wind up toy. The phrases "I hope it doesn't rain" and "You can't wear brown shoes with a black suit," have been repeated more times than I can count so Baby B and I have kinda been doing our own thing, which has been really nice considering how difficult last week was. As the household seemed to be preparing for a big day, which I kinda think is a wedding, I turned my attention to the great outdoors, and of course, Baby B followed right along.

Mobile is beautiful in the spring with the azaleas right on the verge of being in full bloom. Arly's yard is chock full of them, in various shades of pinks and white, lined up in the front yard like a welcoming committee for the new season. It had been such a long time since I had seen the natural beauty of flowers, the kind that comes from seeing them bloom on the tree or bush, rather than in a vase. Angel Face used to pick them out of her yard and bring her momma little bouquets, which I always thought was as pretty as she was. Her momma would get her sparkly, glass vase out and place those flowers in it like they were shipped in from France or something and she would always stick one behind my ear and tell me I was gorgeous. Those were such great days.  

Baby B took a fancy to the flowers too, and we spent the longest time just smelling them and rubbing their soft petals on our cheeks hoping that even the smallest bit of color would rub off. Every now and then a bumble bee the size of my head would whiz by freaking me out, but it never seemed to be interested in giving us any more attention than that, which was a relief. Bees are not my thing, especially after I remembered what they could do to someone who was allergic. Baby B didn't seem to mind, and every now and then she would grin at me with her tiny, pink lips. Seeing her smile made me feel pretty good, like things were going to be all right after all. That was a much better feeling than that ick I had felt the past few days and the thought occurred to me that I almost wished we could stay surrounded by these flowers forever, so beautiful and calm.

The afternoon drifted into evening and as we headed inside, I grabbed a flower and tried to stick it ever so gently behind my ear just like Angel Face used to do. No matter how hard I tried it kept falling out, because I guess I was way too bald for it to stay put. Arly looked over and saw the look of frustration on my face and came to my rescue with a wee bit of glue. It was perfect and I knew if Angel Face could see me she would think so too. 

I felt pretty swell for the most part of the night. Ecky was still really on my mind because I knew she had been sent to the doll hospital to see if anything could be done to help her, and the waiting was driving me nuts. Beside that though, the realization that me and my friends were safe, and being taken care of again like we mattered, was more than enough for one day. And as the evening came to a close, I curled up with Baby B, read her the story of Winken, Blinken, and Nod, and watched her drift off to sleep. I would have quickly followed if not for one, tiny problem. A wedding was in my near future it seemed, and peaking under the covers all I could see were my undies, which I doubt would be appropriate for most folks. All I could think about now was what on earth would I wear? Gahhhhhhhhh! 

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Friday, April 2, 2010

The Thing About Crosses

This morning was one of those mornings where I just wanted to lay in bed, close my eyes, and pretend I was in one of those fantasy books that my Angel Face used to read to me. Any one of them would have been better than my reality I think, especially the kind where there was a prince and a princess, and despite being a tad cliche', a happy ending ALWAYS occurred. And on the other hand, I found myself hating the authors of them, because they made me long for something that will never be, and I felt lied to. 

Arly must have picked up on the fact that I was in a foul mood so she quietly turned on some soft jazz music while she fixed breakfast, and I was able to lose myself a bit listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. At first I didn't know why they made me feel so at ease, but then I remembered back in the day when Angel Face's mom used to listen to her vinyl collection on the record player, and as they sang to her, she would dance with Angel Face standing on her toes, just like she was a big girl. I loved that memory, and it helped snap me out of my ick, or should I say mood, or maybe just the morning fog as Arly says. 

Arly said that she would have to spend some time picking out her clothes for the Easter service on Sunday, so before Baby B had a chance to wake up, I climbed up on Arly's dresser and watched her. I have never seen someone change their mind as often as she did, and for a minute or two, I figured she would end up going in her pajamas because those outfits she picked out were, well let's just say, odd. I think she knew I was getting a kick out of watching her, so she told me I could go and pick out a cross from her collection that she could wear to church. 

As I climbed over to where she keeps her jewelry I quickly realized that wasn't going to be easy because Arly, well she seemed to have a thing for crosses. There were itty bitty crosses, gold and silver crosses, and lots and lots that had iridescent jewels all over them. They were my favorite so I picked out the perfect one, the blue one, which of course matched my face. Arly seemed pleased, so she hung it up for me to get a better look, and when she did, the light from the window hit it just so, and tiny little rainbow flakes seemed to dance across my face. It was simply beautiful. 

As we were getting ready to leave her bedroom another cross unexpectedly caught my eye and I gasped when I saw it. Hanging protectively on the wall, just like on the wall above Angel Face's bed, was the cross with Jesus hanging after he was crucified. I knew about this cross because every night right before Angel Face went to bed she would hold that cross and say this prayer:

Dear Jesus above my bed, 
Another day has ended and I made it safely here, thank you. Hear my prayer for all I love so dear, especially my mommy.  Protect her please, dear God, from harm that may come to her. Forgive me of my sins today, I tried to do much better. And thank you for two eyes to see, two ears to hear, two hands to do your service. May I tomorrow do no wrong and stay away from harm. Bless all my friends and angels who protected me today, may tomorrow be a new day, filled with love, and peace I pray. Amen.  

I quietly walked over to where it was hanging and reached up to touch it, because I thought I just might understand why she loved him so. Angel Face used to tell me the stories of Jesus that she learned from Sunday School down at the church around the corner. Her face would beam with joy as she told me how much he loved her, and that one day he got nailed to that cross so she would go to heaven. That confused me a little bit, but as I looked up at this cross, into his face, I got a strong sense that this must have been the ultimate act of love, and it made me feel really glad that Angel Face was with him.   

Cries from Baby B could be heard coming from the next room so I quickly jumped down and went to let her know she wasn't dreaming either. The look on her face was relief when she saw me. Of course, she didn't say anything, but I knew she remembered me. I told her to wake up and lets go, we had Easter eggs to dye, and you would have thought I offered her a new head of hair or something. What a smile she gave me!

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Found Friends! Part 2

 Looking at Ecky was not the easiest thing to do, nor was it the hardest. Thinking about what happened to her, to make her look like this, was. All the memories I had of wishing her mouth was duct taped, that she would stop annoyingly repeating everything she heard, laid heavy on my heart and I wished, oh I wished, I would have been more tolerant of her 'gift.' That's putting it nicely. 

Actually, we were friends of sort, Ecky, me, and Baby B, and together we made quite a team. I think part of her was a little jealous of how much love I got from Angel Face, but she never admitted to it, because the phrase, "You get all the attention," was never said in our house. In fact, Angel Face kept her words pretty quiet, at least around Ecky. 

Ecky's body, or what was left of it that is, laid awkwardly on the counter as I watched Arly get ready to try and clean her. She had no legs or torso, just her head, with two gangly arms still attached by a rusted, metal bar.  When Arly picked her up, her arms would wiggle back and forth like she was still trying to dig her way out of that dirt, or at least dig herself away from him. Her hair was matted with layers of dirt and it seemed to be twisted to one side like it had been given way too many layers of muddy Dippity Do. She was simply pitiful.

For a minute, I kinda prayed that maybe it wasn't Ecky with that darkly, scorched skin. But then, when I saw the expression on her face, and remembered the last words I heard her say, I knew it was her, my chatty friend Ecky, and it looked like she had gotten the worst of it from the Ten Man that night. As I lay my finger on her face it occurred to me why she, instead of me, would have gotten it so bad from him. Her 'gift' of speech could betray him, and betraying the Ten Man was like walking into a den full of Cotton Mouths, it just wasn't done.

Arly prepared me for the fact that she couldn't really save Ecky because she was missing too much of herself, and Arly wasn't a miracle worker. But I didn't say anything, I just watched her get cleaned up, put my arm around Baby B, and tried to grasp the enormity of what had happened to us, and why. I asked Arly if she could take a picture of the three of us, like we used to pretend to do for Angel Face and she said sure. Angel Face would have loved seeing us together again. Maybe not all mangled, but she would have loved it just the same.

Carefully, I leaned over and touched Ecky's face and I kind of felt that she might have realized she had been found and was surrounded be her friends again. Baby B just sat there looking stunned, with a tear rolling down her face, in silence. I told her to shrug it off and smile for the camera, which she tried to do, but her rusted eyes just seemed to be stuck all sad looking. 

As the day drew to a close and Ecky and Baby B had been fixed up as much as Arly knew how, she asked if I wanted to talk about what had happened to them. She said by the shape that we were in, and how we were found, she knew something terrible had happened, and I just looked at her with this empty stare. There was no way I was going back there, no way I would relive the events that landed the three of us layers under the ground and left for dead. But most of all, I knew like I was breathing, that going back to that night meant reliving what happened to Angel Face, and what happened to her, was something that made what happened to us, seem loving. I just couldn't go there.  

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Found Friends! Part 1

 It was a shock....to say the least. Arly came back from the place where she found me, and when she walked in the door I knew something was wrong. The look on her face was puzzling, and I wasn't sure if it was sadness, concern, or even heartbreak. That was until my eyes looked down at her hands, and I instantly knew what the look meant....she had found my friends, at least part of them.

Tears welled up in my eyes and for a minute I couldn't look at them. The last memory I had with my friends was one of darkness, being thrown in that suffocating duffle bag, and hearing the cries of Baby B. Ecky kept repeating, "Gotta get rid of the last bit of evidence", over and over. Those were the last words the three of us heard before we were separated.

Seeing them made the memories of that horrid day flash back and I began to shake. I wasn't ready to remember, not now, not for a million years, so I turned my attention to Baby B and prayed that she didn't suffer. Her head wasn't attached and her little body was covered in the same dirt I was. She used to have such beautiful skin, all soft and pink, and the blondest movie star hair I ever set my eyes on. Now, she had just a spit of it left, and there was no blonde, just dirt. I can only imagine that she cried her tears dry, because that was what she was good at, crying when something was wrong or in trouble. Baby B cried a lot as I recall, especially around Angel Face.

Arly picked me up and gave me a hug, because I guess she understood how difficult it must have been for me to see them. I asked her how she found them, and she said that Found Friend, that's what she calls her, had stuck her foot up out of the ground like she was waving at her. A tiny smile crossed my lips because I knew Baby B loved attention, and it seemed now, she had all she could get. Hours seemed to go by as I watched Arly gently clean her hair, her skin, and although her face and arms seemed to be scorched, I could see the face of my friend coming back to me. 

I honestly didn't expect Baby B to survive, but after Arly was finished piecing her back together, she looked up at me with her rusted eyes and I knew she remembered me. Words are something I think she can hear, but she is so damaged, on the inside and out, that she wont speak or cry. She just looks, holds up that finger of hers like she used to when she just had to get the last word in, and smiles. Amazing, I think, that after all she has been through, she still smiles.

Later that evening Baby B and I sat in silence looking out the window with rays of sunshine across us instead of dirt. It was a strange moment for the two of us.  I wasn't sure what memories she had, but I knew that for this one moment, we were safe. I also knew that she would have a hard time adjusting to her new "look" like I had, and secretly, I was grateful my friends face wasn't blue like mine. When I knew Baby B was going to be alright, my attention turned to Ecky, and that was more than I could bare in one day. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

To Write Love On Her Arms Day


Yesterday was difficult, but when I woke up this morning, the birds were singing, the sun warmed my face through the window, and in this moment, I knew I was alright, and more importantly....safe.

Sometimes, when Arly spends time on the computer, she lets me sit in her lap and watch, which fascinates me. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that life would change so much after all these years. When I was little, I watched the paper get delivered by Johnny Fletcher, on his bike no less, which was a long stretch from all this techno stuff. It's kind of mesmerizing though, and at times I feel like I could get lost in it, this Facebook thingy that is. I still can't figure why the faces don't have books attached, or why there aren't books with faces on them, just seems odd to me.

One of the groups that kept popping up as she 'surfed the web', and yes, I kept looking for a surfboard to come floating by at any moment, was "To Write Love On Her Arms Day", or TWLOHAD. At first, I kept trying to pronounce it as a word, 'twulohd', but Arly just laughed and explained to me what it really meant. She took me to their website, and no, I didn't find spiders there either, but what I did find were pictures of people who had written the word 'Love' on their arms, to show the people in their lives that they were loved and beautiful. I was a bit shocked. I guess I had felt that most people were mean, or evil, and I forgot to see past my own feelings and realize there are a lot of folks filled with love out there. 

Immediately I wanted my own love tattoo. Arly really thought I needed to sleep on that idea, but no, I insisted, and told her she could write it for me, all neat, or I could do it with all my fingers that were missing and it would be a mess, a lovely mess! She caved, and after it was done, I spent the longest time looking at it and loving it. It made my scarred skin seem not so scarred I thought, and for a minute or two I imagined  that having the word 'love' written all over my body would be just fine. 

We spent a little bit longer reading through some of the posts from people all over the world. They would write about how much they loved the women and girls in their lives, but some would write about encouraging others not to harm themselves. I didn't understand that, so Arly explained that when some people are abused, or hurt, it makes them very sad and they find it hard to even exist. Oh, my heart broke. I kinda knew how that felt a little bit. Yesterday was one of those days I think, not wanting to exist, but I just believe life is too precious to let the mullygrubbies get the best of me, so onward I go. I said a prayer for those folks, that they would find today easier, and feel loved, like I do. 

As I learned more about this love thing, I knew, I just knew, this writing on the arm thing was a good idea. But one thing was missing....Arly's arm needed a tattoo too. I looked up at her, and with this blueberry smile of mine, convinced her she must write love on her arm, and she did. She took a picture of it and showed it to me. Although my arm is tiny, I think it makes a big statement next to hers. Even little arms can show love, like big ones. One thing I knew for sure, today I am loved, tattoo and all.