I haven't heard back from that Dr. Breggins, the advocate psychiatrist from the 1970s who got the funding for violence & psychosurgery research at Mass General (Mark Vernon).
I haven't heard back yet from my sister about interviewing my aunt. I'll call her this weekend.
I still plan to schedule a conference call with my brother and sister and just sort of recap and also get all of our perspectives on the situation.
I found a Massachusetts report on psychosurgery in the state dated 1975. It is not available on line or at the university library so I have had to order it through the Inter Library Loan service. It will take a few days. I have a feeling a list of hospitals will be in that report.
I found a few more things. A few. They were in a plastic bin back behind all the camping stuff on a shelf in our basement. I know I have more. I don't usually throw artifacts away--maybe that's why my mother sent them to me. It's a crime to throw away the past.
Dad's Obituary. I am trying to imagine who sent that to me. It was from the Standard Times newspaper, February 10, 1994.
I found a preschool "graduation" certificate dated March 1970. That would have been five months before the surgery.I wish I could say I remember that preschool experience. I should have. It was Romper Room on the local television station. I don't.
I also found a diary I kept in 1988. (I did throw / lose all of my earlier diaries--there were a lot over my young adolescence. I started keeping a diary when I was 13.)
1988- I would have been 23. When I read the entries, it seems unlikely that I would have been that old. It was only a year before I moved to San Francisco. The diary has poems in one half of the bound book. If I turn it over and open it (upside down) there are journal entries. The book is full. No blank pages. The poems are painfully terrible. What's worse is I half remember thinking they were brilliant.
Infinitely now I dream of love
In particular, no one I think of
Yet it's real and strong
as though I've known it before
To me it belongs yet
I know it no more
The most recent of romances
I now attribute it to
could it be perchance
this recollection's untrue?
I thumbed through it and read a few entries. There's a lot about my dad receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer.There are lists of child abuse perpetrated by my mother. I almost remember making the lists, trying to understand if I was making it up. I can't write the list because there are some things that are too painful. The strange thing is that I don't remember some of the items. Weaved in and out through all the hardship are my boyfriends. My relationships. Like this:
I think I really need to sort some things out about what's going on.
Firstly, my father has a brain tumor. Most of the time I don't even deal with it at all. It's like its not true or its not happening. Mostly it feels like none of it is real and it's all a sick joke. I've heard all my life from my mother that terrible things were going to happen. They never dead. Death was never real anyway. Why should it be now?
I know I love my father and I didn't think I'd ever feel like that again. That disappeared a long time ago. It just disappeared. Now, all of a sudden here he is again. My dad. All of a sudden I realize how I did love him and how I still do. Then again, he has a brain tumor and if I do finally let go and love him there is a very good chance he'll leave me forever. So I proceed with caution with so much fear. Nothing is forever!
I was thinking today about Peter D. and a solution. Everything is so mixed up together, that solution probably has to do with dad too. At first I saw the whole situation with Peter as existing within a bubble. I'm not trapped inside of it through. I have a choice. I can step inside of it and get caught up in the whole scene but I can never get trapped. I can walk away. I can even look beyond it into my own future or to another place like Boston or at home where it's not so significant at all. Where people aren't even remotely aware of the circumstances. This doesn't have to consume me. Yet, I want it to. I want to not think about Dad. I want to watch Peter D. hurt me. I don't want all of this to be happening. But, i can't control it the way I can control my situation with Peter. I'm trapped inside the bubble with my dad. I can sit and look inside of it with my back turned and see how pretty everything must be somehow if I can escape. Soon I'll have to turn around and see my dad's face and look deep into his eyes. I'll have to see he has a brain tumor and I'll have to really look at the truth. I'll have to know for positively sure that it is there. Then I'll have to look at him again so he knows I know for sure.
It wasn't long after the diary entry that I moved to San Francisco. I loved San Francisco and it was the best decision of my early life. But, I didn't know until I read this old journal what a child I was when I left. Then again as a parent I can see that only a child would have bought a one way ticket with only $300 and two acquaintances on the other end.
But it was beautiful the day I arrived. The light in San Francisco is so beautiful Bright yellow, hopeful. The green hills were dramatic. It was all glorious because it was the end of the abuse.
I don't know if I'll do it here but I will make some video diaries of the journal entries. I am starting to think this whole thing is going to be a performance piece for the stage. Maybe a story retold in letters and projected photographs.
Items from the Plastic Bin I Found Today