Friday Freestyle -the Wakefield Doctrine-

Welcome to the Wakefield Doctrine (the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers)

Miami Children’s Home, Maumee OH
Courtesy of the Troy Historical Society (www.thetroyhistoricalsociety.org)

Holy smoke!* So I was wandering the halls of the imaginary universe, aka the internet, looking for the trail that continues up through what remains of ‘Home and Heart‘ late last night. One part of writing that I really get a kick from is when I find I need a location or a cultural reference or just maybe just a detail in a character’s personal history. Rather than make it all up, I search the virtual world for it. (The assumption, a subset of the Doctrine’s ‘Everything Rule’ holds that if you look in enough places, long enough, you will find it.)

Example: Sister Catherine. She is a character in both Sister Margaret books. In the current book, ‘Home and Heart’ her character gets to play a larger role. Subsequently we learn more about her. Fine. All the books on writing say, ‘it’s essential that you come to know your characters better than you know your friends.’ I realized that Sister Catherine grew up an orphan. So I went out looking for orphanages. I backed her age off to bracket her childhood. She was born in 1967. In the course of my searching, I came across a reference to the Miami Ohio Children’s Home. A very real place, an orphanage. But that’s not what inspired me to write, ‘holy smoke’ What did inspire me to write ‘hole smoke’ was a page from the Troy (OH) Historical Society’s website titled: Miami County Ohio Children’s Home Index (1879-1930). On the page are links to entries that, presumably, account for all the residents of the Miami Children’s Home between those years. Alphabetically. And, as often happens with alphabetical listings, before the list starts in earnest (Addams, Addams, …Addington etc), there is, at the head of the list, the most outside of Outsiders, those generic entries. ‘no-name baby, last name**’

So I clicked on the last of these unknowns (‘no-name-baby, Ruth -?-) and this is what I found:

baby, Ruth (surname unknown)
Book #1, Page #290 
Inmate # 0579 
Date admitted:19 July 1894
Date discharged: died 21 Feb 1895 
Age: believed to be about 6 weeks
Sex: Female 
Comments: Baby found in basket in front of Home. Believed to be about six weeks old. She died.
“The one that we all loved. But Heaven claims it’s own”

‘She died’ ….’holy smoke!’

A part of me, at this moment, is itching to stay here at the keyboard. There seems to be so much that can, (and in the curiously poignant way of clarks), that should be said. This last is less the endless flow of information that is the foundation of the social contract of clarks, as it’s a need to mark the existence of those belonging to this particular set of outsiders. As such, this clarklike impulse is both sad and heartening.

*  an approximation of my two-word expression of… not sure what the word is, not shock, not surprise, more like finding yourself in the kitchen at 2:00 am for a glass of water and finding a full-sized car tire on the counter.

** presumably the last name of the adopting parents

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clarkscottroger About clarkscottroger
Well, what exactly do you want to know? Whether I am a clark or a scott or roger? If you have to ask, then you need to keep reading the Posts for two reasons: a)to get a clear enough understanding to be able to make the determination of which type I am and 2) to realize that by definition I am all three.* *which is true for you as well, all three...but mostly one

Comments

  1. Sageleaf says:

    Those chapters are getting really good! So glad you’re working on them and sharing them. :)
    As for “babe Ruth” well, how very interesting! I once had a high school instructor go have us find stories of the old south (mind you, I was growing up in Colorado) and create some sort of fiction story from it. It was such a powerful experience, 20 years later, I still remember it. Those newspapers are holy grails of book ideas…

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:

      “…have us find stories of the old south (mind you, I was growing up in Colorado) and create some sort of fiction story from it.” Of course, there are those of us who (believe) that it is all, including the factual accounts, a fiction. lol
      But it (for me) is the emotional content, the sudden resonance that some stories create that makes a story stand out. (Tell me that with the photo and the words of the entry, you didn’t have a momentary flash of that time, all daguerreotype-ish and imagine laying on a single bed in a room full of single beds where the ceilings are too far away and the other children are too close.

  2. “A part of me, at this moment, is itching to stay here at the keyboard. There seems to be so much that can, (and in the curiously poignant way of clarks), that should be said. This last is less the endless flow of information that is the foundation of the social contract of clarks, as it’s a need to mark the existence of those belonging to this particular set of outsiders. As such, this clarklike impulse is both sad and heartening.”

    If there is a next time…stay at the keyboard. It is all about marking the existence…of self, others. In the end, isn’t it all about emotional content?