The Sorrow And The Pity

[ Childhood photograph of Brad McCormick ]
Photograph (undated, ca. 1950) of Brad McCormick, standing in front of perimeter wall of a Catholic school for wayward boys(?), Wilkins Ave., Baltimore MD USA
"They put me off at the wrong stop when I was born."
(--Doug Schaff)

"There are no words in the human language..." (ref.: Elsa Morante, History: A Novel) to describe a sensitive child's experience (if it can be called that much) of being "raised" (but not up...) by persons whose society did not teach them how to live their lives, much less, how to nurture such a child who was as if from a different species than they, and from a different place than their "world".
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I [that little boy grown up] did not then have concepts to name what I was undergoing, to be aware that it was anything at all, or, a fortiori, to realize that things could be better (that was part of my privation...). As an adult, belatedly, I did acquire them.
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I call the above photograph -- taking poetic license with the topological relation of child to wall, my: stalag picture. I call the so-called society in which it happened an: Abworld ("ab", in German, connotes: defective). "Never again!"
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Note: My parents did not badly physically abuse me. What they did was to impress upon me that if I did not please them, they would abandon me to my own [lack of] resources. When I was about 5 years old, my father explained to me that my mother was leaving (she was at the door with a suitcase...) because I had not listened to her properly. Of course I promised to behave better so that my mother would not abandon me. I now wish I had been precocious enough then to call their bluff.
In the early 1980's, I coined a phrase: "I'm not sick; I'm sick of it. I'm not tired; I'm tired of it."
There is an alternative. A society and/or parents who have such a child whom they cannot understand, can provide the child unconditional support and encouragement, as epitomized by something a highly gifted person, whose parents were "dirt farmers", told me. He said that, as a child, his parents told him [and, more important: meant it]:
"Tom, do what you believe is right.
You will make mistakes.
We stand behind you."
On the basis of such a safety net, the child can at least try to learn for him or herself, even if the adults cannot directly provide the guidance and substantive modelling which would constitute their most felicitous role.
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» Learn about and work to stop ritual genital mutilation of children![ ][fn.36[ Go to footnote! ]]

Read  story of my father, Robert McCormick's, life: Death of a Paint Salesman.
Go/Return  to experience I had in second grade, which, with help, might have been a segue into a very different and better childhood.
Learn  about my introduction to the history of art as a Yale freshman (Abbot Suger and the cathedral of St. Denis).
Find out  how I tried to cope with my childhood situation -- aka "them" (Also: "I did it my way", and: How I keep putting my foot in my mouth[ Learn how I (BMcC) keep hurting myself unnecessarily! ]).
Read  about other dumb things I do today (more examples of lingering after effects...).
[ ]  [ Watch out! ]
Learn more miscellaneous things about me....
Chart my course in life (What did I do wrong?).
Find out some of the stuff I grew up on.
[ Notice what's hiding in plain sight! ]
Learn what my name: Bradford means.
Read  brief reflection on my: Ancestry and growing old[er].
Why/how  do I differ from performance artist Laurie Anderson?

[ ]In loco parentis[ Notice what's hiding in plain sight! ]
Go to The Summoning of Everyman (text version).
Go to The Summoning of Everyman (VRML world).
Return  to my preparatory schooling (Recollections of Chapel).
Return  to Our Century ("The Century of Barbed Wire").
Return to H.F. Broch de Rothermann page.
Leisure is the basis of culture.
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[ I, BMcC, celebrating my 5th Birthday, in my high-chair ]
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Me (BMcC) celebrating my 5th birthday, in my High Chair
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[ Notice what's hiding in plain sight! ] [ ]
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Return  to Brad McCormick's home page.
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Copyright © 1998-2002 Brad McCormick, Ed.D. [ Email me! ]
08 April 2006CE (2006-04-08 ISO 8601)
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[ Learn about cat chop! ]
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From a song from my childhood: "You better not pout, you better not cry! ....I'm telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town.... He's making a list, and checking it twice -- gonna find out who's naughty and nice.... He sees you when you're sleeping; He knows when you're awake; He knows if you've been bad or good: So be good for goodness sake!...." [Substitute "my mother" for "Santa Claus".]   [ This way to the egress! ]
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Each person needs to be a peer member of a world, a family and a community: cosmos, oikos and polis.
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