Baby Disposal: Then & Now.

Posted: November 18, 2010 in Uncategorized
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MSNBC: two mummified infants found in a steamer trunk wrapped in 1930s newspapers… The bodies were inside two leather doctor bags in a trunk that also contained ticket stubs from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games

Evri: There were books, antiques, an iron, girdle, nurse’s uniform, letters and postcards — and the bodies of the two babies.

The story has more chapters too.

Summary of her travels… Janet M Barrie, was born in Scotland in 1897, her family moved to Alberta Canada, she is noted in the 1930s census to have lived in Los Angeles California. She returned to Alberta Canada, but then back to the US She returned to the US in 1941 claiming Dr George Knapp as her sponsor.

Dr Knapp’s wife died in 1964, 86-year-old Knapp married 67-year-old Barrie. (Knapp died 4 years later). One article mentions the family suspected an affair between Dr Knapp & Barrie, and expected they would marry after Dr Knapp’s wife’s death.

So who is the daddy? One thought was that Dr Knapp could have been the father of the babies found wrapped in newspaper. But the newspapers were from the 1930s, there is the point where in 1941 he sponsored her to come back to the US. So did they know each other back in the 30’s, she then became pregnant and then fled back to Canada?

It was a different time.. but there have been cases in recent decades of teens ditching their babies in trash cans, hiding them in dresser drawers, closets, backpacks, etc. Now we have tv shows that seem to be making it “ok” or to be “proud” to be a single and or teen mom. Tough call on which is worse.

Too often when a child grows up with one parent, or a teen parent.. they do not turn out terribly well. They had an immature role model to start off with, no doubt they grew up with resentment and or neglect.

The flip side of raising an unwanted child, are abortions. The problem expanded to how late (term) they would be allowed. Instead the laws should not be expanding how late a woman can have an abortion, but not allowing her to use it as birth control alternative. Abortions should only be in the case of medical necessity or rape/incest. Not oops I forgot, or I did not want to use a condom, or some other issue of ignorance.

In my family nearly every generation the 1st born was a 8 to 10lb “pre-mature” birth or a “miracle” birth (since when conceived their “father” was on a ship in the ocean, or in another country). The shame and secrecy still lingers.. to mention it puts various relatives into a fit.  I am very sure my family is not the only one with these twisted little family tree branches.

The reality, children are going to no doubt be born out-of-wedlock, in some other scenario.. but it does not have to be the accepted norm. It also should not be the shame that previous generations were shunned into, and led to those stories later surfacing from someones genealogy research.  (or for this woman, the keepsakes she left behind).

The concept of having children is not new. It should be no surprise to anyone over the difficulty of raising children, the expense, and the responsibility that goes with it. So how on earth do some people get to the point in their life where they are apparently, completely clueless about all these well know facts? Where is that missing element that connects these facts to people?

The woman in this story may have hidden the embarrassment of being a single mother, the shame of being the “other woman”, or maybe she was completely psycho. Now it has surfaced, there are even more loose ends & speculation about her story. If these babies were born in the 30’s, since she was born at the end of the 1800s, she would have been in her 30s, she was also a nurse. So she really should have had some clue about the risks she was taking. So that, for me, adds to filling in the blanks with twisted storylines.

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