Tales from an Adoptee Chapter 1
I started writing this at the request of a few people both here and elsewhere. Its only the beginning at the moment and I will write more as time goes
on. Nygden asked me in another thread about my birth and my grandfather hiding me so here is part one. If its boring let me know and if it could use
improvement in style let me know. And if you want me to stop writing and never write another word let me know.
Valentines day 1966, the day Decimal currency was introduced to Australia dawned a lovely day for me. On the banks of the river at Dubbo, NSW I was
conceived in circumstances that vary depending on which parent one is speaking to at the time. My mother was young and single, my father wild and
restless and together the combination did not bode well for me. Della MacLeod was the only daughter of the six offspring of Grand Master Mason,
Ambrose Angus, and the fact that his daughter was pregnant caused him much consternation.
I don't know whether the decisions he made on behalf of his family at the time ever came back to haunt him as they did me, I never met him to ask him
why. Strange as it sounds, the man that had the most profound effect on my life and upbringing never set eyes on me. My grandfather soon sent his sons
away to work in Queensland for a year or so and set about hiding my mother from society when he found out about my existence. It would not have been
too difficult to hide her as the family lived in a country town and without the lads at the house bringing visitors he was able to isolate my mother
As my mother grew in size, so did the lies and deceit, culminating with my grandfather taking my mother down to the capital city to await my birth.
The last thing my mother remembers is walking off leaving my grandfather sobbing behind on a bus stop seat holding his head in his hands. I often
wonder what was going through his head at the time. Was he thinking of the shame I had bought upon his good masonic family, Was he sobbing for the
lost smiles and laughter, was he sobbing for my mother's lost innocence? Did he miss his "Gypsy's" child at all....ever?
My mother was taken to a single mothers home and made to work hard during the pregnancy, scrubbing floors and beign told daily by nuns what a sin it
was to be single and pregnant. Not an hour past where she would not be told how evil she was.
Time past and so did my time in the womb, I was born just after 4 am on the 21st of November 1966 and whisked away from my mother without her ever
touching me. She never held me or stroked my baby soft skin. She never nuzzled me and never told me how beuatiful I was or how loved and wanted I was.
The chance for me to search out and find the nourishment I so desperately needed was robbed from me in an instant, never to be replaced.
21st of November 1966 was a special day, the cusp of fire and water in the year of the only mutatable Chinese sign, The Fire Water Horse. The fire
water horse combination is the rarest in the Chinese Zodiac and only happens once every 60 years. A scorpion no less, with enough of Sagitarian fire
in my tail to never stagnate.
My mother is a black Scot. A throw back if you like to the times of Black invaders raping and pillaging through the highlands. She is a direct descend
of Olaf The Black, King Of Man (isle of Man) and of the Torquil Macleod Linage. They say my great great great granfather was heir to the Macleods of
Rassay and lewis and that he sold his lands and immigrated to Australia hundreds of years ago.
my father was an Irish Rogue, Sydney Leo Hartin or as his name translates the fire in the heart of the serpent (Sydney means serpent). He was short
with typical red hair and green Irish Eyes. His grandmother was kidnapped as a child in Ireland.
So here was me, a tiny bundle of 7 pounds nine ounces, with Brown Hair and Brown Eyes, a true mixture of both my parents. I looked like them, I cried
for them...I needed them but they never came.
Meanwhile in Wollongong NSW lived another family. Frances and Graham Boyle. Frances had been sick most of her life and was the mother to still born
twins, born at 7 months of conception in a toilet. Shortly after, she fell pregnant again but unfortunately in the sixties not much was known about
the rhesus factor. Frances had negative blood while Graham had positive blood so when Frances's daughter Catherine (pure) was born on the 31st of
July 1963 they both nearly died, mother and baby. Catherine had blood transfusions directly into her head and Frances underwent post natal surgery.
Frances was then told she had cancer of the uterus and would be unable to have another child ever. This broke Frances heart as she had always wanted
and dreamed of a pidgeon pair of little girls to dress up. After much discussion they put their names on an adoption waiting list, co incidently
around the day of my conception.
On the 23rd of November the phone call came that changed their life. They were told a little girl had been born and matched with them both so would
they like to come and collect her. Over the moon, they rushed to Sydney and the first glimpse they had of me was a pair of huge hands poking out
through a pink bunny rug. I was sleeping, as usual. I was handed to them, still sleeping and they filled out more paperwork until finally it was time
to take me on the long ride home. They named me Margaret Ruth, the name means pearl and Ruth means vison or mirror. I was named after the street the
adoption agency was in, I still don't give them any points for originality.
I arrived home, still sleeping and was introduced to my big sister catherine. it was a time of love, I was now surrounded by the love that I had lost.
I was told from an early age that i was adopted, I don't ever remember sitting down and being told one day, I just always knew. I know I always
remembered what it meant to be adopted, my mum told me that I had overheard dad's mum often commenting how they had disgraced the family by bringing
me into it with comments such as you never know what gutter she came from.
My new grandmother on my fathers side was always standoffish towards me. I could feel it coming from her in waves as I was growing up that I was an
extra, unwanted intrusion. My grandmother was a class above the rest as such. She was president of the state rose society, the state deaf society and
the mother union at her church. She was knighted by the Queen later in life for her services to society, (OAM) Grandma was of the firm belief that
little children should be seen and not heard, in fact she often reminded me of that very detail.
For Six months I was a nothing, i lived in no man's land, I was nobody's child until finally my birth was registered in the next April I am
officially record number 888 of 1967. I finally had parents and a family to call my own.
Who knows the reasons why but I was one wild child. I was always in trouble and I couldn't understand why. Why couldn't I climb that tree? Why
couldn't I play in that delicious looking mud puddle? Why did I have to wear these horrid frilly dresses, Why dress me in white when you know its
going to turn mud colored by the end of the day? I loved life and I loved exploring.
As i grew I started to understand more about what being adopted meant. I started wondering from an early age just who I was. In some ways it's a
great tool for the imagination, I was a princess, kept hidden to claim my royalty when prince charming came to sweep me off my feet back to my kingdom
on a shiny white horse. Well no knights and no horses, as I grew I found I was allergic to the critters. I had a million scenarios to dream of but no
truth. I asked but received no answers. I remember climbing onto the roof of my house and waiting, just waiting for the aliens to come and get me as
soon as they realised they had dropped me off on the wrong planet.
They didn't come, either they didn't realise or I was the brunt of a huge cosmic joke.
I started school at five, already sensitive to the differences between me and others. My best friend looked just like her mother but had her dads
eyes. I went and looked in the mirror, who did i look like? I went and searched out my sister who was as usual ruffled by my appearance. I looked at
her long and hard, there was dads face but mums eyes and dads shape but mums hair. Back to the mirror, nothing, just who? was I.
At school things became more difficult, I didn't fit the mold. I found myself getting into trouble for all sorts of things, I was just bored with the
whole event and announced on the second day that I wasn't going back. Imagine my displeasure about being told I had to endure 12 more years of it at
least and then there was college to think about. I climbed the figtree to ponder that one. From that day on I counted my schooling days down.
Mum was part of a social set at the school, the typical fete knitter, cookie baker and conteen helper. She belonged. I was the outcast, the one on the
side of the group. I don't remeber being awkward but do remeber everyone making it awkward for me. I was "Nigel no friends". I was the fat kid that
said the wrong thing at the wrong time. I was brutally honest, I hadn't been taught tact at that time. One of the other kids mum's, Mrs Walker
pushed me in the pool once on holidays at a Queensland resort, so I got out and pushed her in. No-one had said it was ok for her to push me in but not
for me to do it to her. Now just because she had just gotten all dressed in a lovely frock and makeup all ready to go out that night doesn't mean a
thing. She did it first.
I spent my childhood pondering, many hours spent climbing mountains, catching tadpoles and adventuring around the neighbourhood at my leisure. I was
always alone, as the other girls wanted to play mummies and daddies which I found to be repititously boring. Why play dolls when I knew of a tree that
was full of plumb mulberries and silkworms to catch to pop into a shoebox. I was a reader and devoured anything full of written words. I cut my teeth
on Enid Blyton and quickly progressed to Aleister Maclean in early teens.
I was surrounded by a loving family but always felt that something was missing..me, I didn't really belong here. I belonged somewhere else, with
someone who looked like me and thought like me and did things I liked to do. Dad saved my childhood and sensing the wanderlust within me, he took me
around Australia travelling with him as often as he could. Dad was a coach Captain and toured the outback year in and year out. It was nothing to him
to pull me out of school and take me to Ayers Rock for a few months, or a back state tour of Victoria and Queensland. I loved travelling with him and
the travel may have had something to do with the reason on why I couldn't settle at school. How could I, when the week before I was sharing an
aboriginal's camp fire watching him making song sticks at Ayers Rock. I was nine when I journeyed on that trip and didn't realise at the time of the
impact it would have on me.
It was the first time I really remember my eyes being opened to reality. We arrived at Ayers Rock after travelling through western Queensland for a
week and pitched our camp. I helped dad with the chores then set off to explore on my own. Travelling away from the camp I came to the aboriginal
settlements. It was amazing, kids with dirty blonde hair and black skin with snotty noses and no clothes. WOW.... here was me for years trying to rip
my clothes off and be free and here was these kids as free as I wanted to be. I sat down at the campfire of one such family. I could sense even way
back then of much that was unspoken.
The man radiated strength and purpose and yet to what I had been brought up to believe, there was no purpose and no strength in living so poorly. His
wife had a tatty old torn dress on with one tennis shoe. She was so proud of that one shoe, she showed it off to me smiling and chattering in her own
language. I watched the kids playing, so happy so free and then I sat at the fire to watch him carve the sticks. He had one eye only but seemed not to
miss the other one. We both sat in silence as he carved a set of song sticks, when he was finished he looked up and looked me straight in the eye. 2
dollars, was all he said and he handed me the sticks. I cautiously reached out for them. mine? wow, it was so special, I treasured those sticks as if
they were gold. They were mine, carved for me and me only. The man kept looking at me as I handed him the two dollar note. He then opened his arm out
wide and spread it around the whole area as if to say what you see .........It was unspoken but it was as if he was welcoming me to his homelands. I
felt for once in my life that I wasn't the extra leg, that this was my time and my place and it was special there for me. I smiled at him and nodded,
still to this day it is as clear as a bell ringing. I understood him and he understood me. He was the first being i ever came across that did
We were both outcasts, him and me, both not quite fitting the boxes society had set for it's people to be in.
The trip we were on with dad was a booking from Girl Guides, Dad was a very popular tour operator who had kindness, good morals and a take charge and
do aura. It was a safari, so the campsite was sprinkled with the thick heavy canvas bedouin looking tents. I was used to camping in them, by then it
was second nature, the stars were my holiday home. I would pitch my tent and then go and help the other tourers pitch theirs. It was hilarious at
times, some city people had no clue and would hammer feriously away at solid rock for ages before storming off in frustration. Even after I showed
them the next time we pitched camp they would still try beat mother nature and hit the rock areas without fail.
I helped around the camp in exchange for pocket money. I was an avid playing card collector and had bought a deck from every place I visited. Of a
morning my favourite job which made me feel really big, important and grown up would be to start dad's coach up and keep it idling on low revs to
warm the airbag suspension up. Dad pretty much let me do what I wanted, he trusted me by then and I would wander everywhere we went and explore by
myself. I wandered in and out of different places and scenes at will and sucked up everything I saw and experienced like a vacuum. To watch the
sunrise over devils marbles with not a person in site on a crisp clear winter morning in the desert was the ultimate experience, I felt so alive and
so happy and free.
The Girl Guide leader on the rock trip would often try and make me stand at attention and follow the group around but I found it all horridly
constraining. Don't touch this don't touch that, line up here, no way. Dad told her to leave me be after I had complained to him in a foot stamping
The day everyone was to climb the rock dawned a tad overcast. It wasn't raining but there was no blue sky visible. The leader, Pam, sat everyone down
and had the morning lecture. Because it wasn't sunny she wasn't going to let anyone climb the rock all the way, everyone had to stop at the end of
the second chain and come back down. She looked straight at me, "and that includes you".
I was cranky and went to see dad, nothing I can do about it, was his reply to me. She had complained about safety and that was that. I wandered off
and found mum and my a friend I had on the trip. They could tell I was cranky so kept silent as we walked to the foot of Ayers Rock. It was a long and
steep climb. The beginning section has chains running down the middle to pull yourself up on. In no time I had passed everyone else including the
rather large Pam and I kept on climbing.
Finally I reached the top of the second chain and sat down to enjoy the view. Wow to this day nothing has come close to the feeling experienced up
there. Here was this rock, and I knew from my lessons that two thirds of it was still underground. It was in the middle of the flat flat desert and in
the distance, 18 kilometres away sat the Olga's, a smaller formations of egg like rocks that i could see in the distance on the plain. I grinned to
myself and got up from sitting down. Without a backward glance I kept climbing, up and up. By now the chains had stopped and turned into white lines
painted on the rock to follow. I knew not to venture away from them, many a person had made that fatal mistake and were now remembered by a simple
golden enscribed plague at the foot of the rock. It didn't seem long before I was at the very top, I looked around the full circle, I felt like I was
at the top of the world. Just me and nature and what she had created, but why? The creation of the rock intrigued me, why was it there, just popped up
smack in the middle of Australia? There was nothing around it, not even a hill or ridge, not counting the anthill mounds sprinkling the desert scrub
landscape. I sat and took my surroundings in for a while but realised I had to race back down. I skipped back down the path to the top of the second
chain. Mum was sitting there all red faced and tired. She laughed when i told her that I had gone to the top, she had expected that and apparently
when everyone met up at the second chain Pam had gone off her rocker to find me missing. I didn't care, whatever punishment I got for disobeying was
well worth the experience. I helped mum down and we were the last ones back. The Coach was running and dad winked at me as I got on silently. Mum and
I sat down and Pam started. She grounded me, I never knew you could be grounded on holidays but she did and then came time to hand out the
certificates of the day's achievements. The certificates were genuine "Ayers Rock" with options under. They said I came saw and
1, I Climbed Ayers Rock
2, I Climbed Three Quarters of Ayers Rock,
3, I Climbed One Half of Ayers Rock
4, I Climbed a quarer of Ayers Rock
5, I Saw Ayers Rock
All the certificates were passed out with ticks varying from three quarters and half down to a quarter and I saw. Finally she came to mine and called
my name, I accepted my certificate and glanced down at it. I climbed Ayers rock
, it said, all signed, witnessed and stamped. The only one on
the tour. I grinned to myself as I returned to my seat, nobody and nothing could ever take that away. It was an experience that I often drew on later
[edit on 5-9-2005 by Mayet]
[edit on 5-9-2005 by Mayet]