The Four Children

Shirley Cavanaugh.


The Call Girl and the Cop.

The Call Girl…

And the brain tumor.

Shirley had a validated four children; Forest, Ruth, Jim, Judy.

Forest was an early death, age 8, scarlet fever or similar early death illness, and is buried in a cemetery in Florida.

I’m 13, my family is visiting his grave. I don’t feel anything, no one expects me to. My mother is crying, my father is supporting her, my sister and I waiting by the car. A family vacation to visit my mother’s side of the family. The side of the family that spilled the crazy in the deep end of the gene pool. There is a wedding for someone, we visit Disney World, we visit my dead uncle’s grave. My mother’s brother.

I’m 15 years old. Jim is a name I’ve never heard, a name my mother has never heard. They’d spent they’re whole lives searching for each other for Jim to show up at our house in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. I look out onto the lawn. It’s my mother. Her twin.


I am at least 4 different ages and Aunt Judy, I wish I could have been closer too as I grew. All contact information on my uncle Jim, my aunt Judy– lost.

The Call Girl and The Brain Tumor.

That second youngest child wailing in a dehydrating meow. Soiling in a soiled crib. The wooden bars, the pillow, the teddy bear, a baby; a diorama of neglect.

By the time my mother was found she was in poor health; in baby terms, that’s worse than poor. They found the name of her mother from the neighbors who found her in that crib…

Shirley Cavanaugh…


(My ten year ago self would, now, mutter beneath his abused breath; everybody leaves; attachment is meaningless.

But this isn’t true is it? In this journey, this pathway to understanding therapy and self-help as an adult one of the most important lessons I learned came from reading Deepak Chopra literature…

(I will often use the term, “esemplastic” throughout this blog to describe the cathedral of therapeutic intellect that I have devised; familiarize yourself with the term and concept. And also realize that everything is connected. All of what you have learned and value in literature, mind, heart, emotion, cognition &c. are all just houses you drive to, restaurants you eat in, bars you drink at, friends you laugh with- this is esemplasticity (if that is an actual word, I’m uncertain) at it’s finest. Nothing is separate. And everything influences everything else. See also: the Noosphere. See also: Limbic Resonance. See also: the Collective Consciousness. See also: I am, at heart, a skeptic and understand much of what I have faith in is pseudoscience. Useful ideas do not require scientific validation for me to utilize them.)

…from Deepak Chopra I learned the Law of Detachment which states that,

“in detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty… In the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilites, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.”

/tangent )

Shirley was gone. And Ruth was given to the next, available, of kin– Arthur and Elsie Horensky; the people that I would grow to know as my grandparents, that my mother grew to know as her parents.

It is July 20th, 1969

Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin are stepping out of the lunar module Eagle, My mother and her parents are sat flat, anticipating with the rest of the world in front of a black and white TV set.

Ruth is sixteen.

Sixteen years old,” her father coughs through the smoke of a Doral Doral cigarette.

The thing about some adoptions is – if you keep it close and in the family – no one has to know about it. That old expression – How do you know who your real daddy is? Because your momma told you so – that’s this; just in reverse. Who do you know who your real mother is?

Because your father is about to tell you, “now’s as good a time as (cough) any.

My mother’s mother was Shirley Cavanaugh, my mother’s great aunt’s name was Elsie Horensky– Grandma.

You’ve been gone for years now, I still miss you. I’m glad that we had lunch before you passed away, that I had the chance to tell you that having you as a grandmother is something I wouldn’t have survived without. You are wonderful to me.

Elsie and Arthur played the role; The Parent Game.

The thing is,” he muttered…

The Call Girl and the Brain Tumor…

You know that woman? Shirley? Down the street some? The women in the hospice with the brain tumor now? That’s your real mother, and Judy? Your friend down at Winkey’s Diner? That’s your sister. (cough)

Eight months old and my mother lay emaciated and dehydrated in a forgotten crib in some abandoned room; the perfect recipe for a feral child – this, is how Ruthy Cavanaugh became Ruth Elza Horensky.

What did Shirley go through? What did her mother go through? And her mother? It’s so often the parents who create this sort of conflict and fistless life fight.

But when my mother turned 16 and the men landed on the moon – what was thought as a simple step for my grandparents was a forced and faithless leap for my mother –

My grandfather, he lit another Doral Doral cigarette, inhaled deep, scratched the arm of his favorite couch and pointed, as Neil and Edwin step out the Eagle, at the TV screen screen while muttering under his breath the only thing he could possibly say in this time to comfort my mother…

“This sure ought to piss off those Russians…”


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