Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Monday, 21 October 2013

A pointless gesture?

This post is prompted by one of the books I picked up from a book fair on election day.  It is a biography of an Australian poet, Shelton Lea, about whom I knew nothing.


I expected to be intrigued, I expected to learn things.  I did not expect to be filled with ballistic and impotent rage.

Shelton Lea was adopted.  Adopted into the Darrell Lea family.  Non-Australian readers may or may not know that Darrell Lea was a privately owned company which made and sold chocolate, liquorice and confectionery.

He was not the only child adopted into the Darrell Lea dynasty.  His adoptive parents were wealthy and their money spoke for them.  Valerie, the matriarch of the family adopted three children - to be playmates for her own children because 'Two dogs play better than one.'

Based on her treatment of the children she adopted I don't think she should have been allowed to adopt anything which needed more care than a house brick.  

She had difficulties with Shelton, and when he was three (three for goodness sake) took him for psychiatric assessment at a residential centre for children with intellectual and psychiatric problems.  He was watched and tested over several months and the doctors came to the conclusion that the problem did not lie with the child.  This finding was supported by other agencies over the years - and they left Shelton and the other adopted children where they were.  Grr.

Needless to say Valerie did not agree.  She drugged him, she slapped him ('he needs a good whack a day').  I cannot comprehend the emotional damage that being constantly belittled, punished and blamed for everything - without proof, would have had. 

The other adoptive children seemed to fare a little better.  But only a little. Shelton was the scapegoat but they were also treated badly.  It was made clear to them that they would inherit none of the Lea family wealth.  Presumably being adopted was inheritance enough.   

Shelton was placed in boys homes, imprisoned and turned to drugs and alcohol.  As a teenager in a lock-up he discovered the writings of Era Pound and turned to poetry.

He escaped from his adoptive family early, but spent time on the streets, in boys homes and in prison.  Unsurprisingly his relationships with women were difficult.  He felt rejected by his birth mother and was rejected by his adoptive mother.

As an adult, he plucked up the courage to approach Valerie to ask about his birth mother.  She lied, and effectively denied knowing anything about his mother.  His biographer ultimately tracked her down - ten years after her death.

And here is where the pointless gesture comes in.  If they hadn't gone out of business last year I would have imposed a personal boycott on Darrell Lea products.

I occasionally bought their liquorice for the smaller portion, but didn't like their other products.  I doubt that I would have spent $20 a year on Darrell Lea confectionery.  Insignificant.  And, as a private gesture it would have had even less impact. 

Just the same, if they were still in operation, I would have imposed my personal ban.  A question of conscience perhaps?

PS:  This is not a review, but a rant.  I have some books, some written by other bloggers which I will review (here and on Amazon) but I needed to vent some spleen about a woman who used her money to treat children like a commodity.  

  

116 comments:

  1. How awful! What a terrible woman. I am with you in your opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strayer: I am still beyond angry. Angry at her, at her husband, and at the authorities that let her money influence them.

      Delete
  2. Deeply disturbing to read. That poor poor boy.
    We were neighbours with a family who suddenly adopted a little boy & mis treated him. They were reported.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BadPenny: I hope that the child was taken away from them - and that they were punished. Severely.

      Delete
  3. Appalling! I never bought their chocolate and am, in a pointless way, glad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. geiger: I didn't like their chocolate and only occasionally bought their liquorice. I am still sad that any of my money went into their coffers though.

      Delete
  4. I'm angry on reading this, that when the child was found to have no problems, the adoptive parents weren't investigated. That woman shouldn't have been allowed to adopt at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River: I was angry about that too. And other authorities had problems with the way she was raising the children too. Money and status had far too much influence.

      Delete
  5. Pointless but with a directed and sincere purpose... It would at the very least have perhaps caused you to feel better. I never could abide licorice but I did always buy the Darrell Lea Dark chocolate ginger ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geoff: I don't know whether it would have made me feel better - because it wouldn't/couldn't change anything. I would have done it though.

      Delete
  6. What a dreadful individual to treat a child in such a way, and so incredibly sad for those children. Evil comes in many forms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DeniseinVA: Evil indeed. And the lifelong damage she caused...

      Delete
  7. There's some vile creatures out there, passing themselves off as human beings. I read a book not long ago "My lobotomy" by Howard Dully, who was the youngest recipient of the so-called 'ice-pick lobotomy' practiced by a doctor called Walter Freeman. Howard's step-mother felt he was abnormal (not: just your average uncooperative 12-year old boy) so actively searched for a doctor who would confirm her views. She successfully passed herself off as a concerned parent, but really she hated Howard and just wanted to be rid of him. Hopefully, there's a small cramped room in Hell for these people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lynners: Obscene isn't it? And I like the idea of a cramped room in hell. Rather a lot.

      Delete
  8. This is a terrible story. It wouldn't have been pointless at all - it would have been taking a stand for abused children.

    Let's hope that an event like this wouldn't happen now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alexia: This was surprisingly recent. Shelton died in less than ten years ago, and was in his fifties.
      While my boycott would have been because of the abused children, it would never have got back to the family so would have had no impact. Pointless. Except that I think their products would have choked me.
      I really, really hope it wouldn't happen now - but do believe that money and influence have to big a part to play in our society.

      Delete
  9. Oh my - what a vile woman that adoptive mother was. And it could have gone the other way so easily. So sad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lynn: A totally vile woman. And I couldn't bring myself to detail all of the disgusting things she did. Sad, bad, and comprehensively wrong.

      Delete
  10. I always was under the impression that to adoptive a child you would have to pass some sort of a test and prove you would be a good parent, seams I was wrong, is it because they had money.
    Merle............

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merlesworld: I think there are more 'hoops' to jump through these days but suspect that money and influence can still ease the path. Which is wrong. So very wrong.

      Delete
  11. Sad but so often true in so many cases, adopted or not. I wouldn't get their products either, good for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda Starr: I know that child abuse continues to happen. For some reason I am made angrier when people adopt a child to abuse it...

      Delete
  12. So glad my Mother's adoptive family were wonderful and loving people, how horrible to be adopted into that family and treated so badly. Interestingly my mother in law's first job was working for Darrell Lea in Melbourne, they seemed to treat their employees well, shame about the children in their care. Is the book worth the read?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kakka: The book is worth reading. Heart-breaking often, but still worth reading. And some of his poetry I liked very much.
      How interesting that Darrell Lea (in Melbourne anyway) treated their employees better than the owners treated their adoptive children.

      Delete
  13. A terribly sad upbringing for a child.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delores: Sad and destructive. And he, and the other adoptive children were thrown out into the world (or escaped) early.

      Delete
  14. I have heard of this before, prominent and wealthy families adopting children and then mistreating them. I agree with you that I would not have used their products. I'm sorry to hear that the young man died at such a young age. The title of the book is perfect. Thank you , dear EC, for sharing it. Off to see if I can find it myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DJan: It is a relatively recent book, and I hope you can find it. Let me know what you think of it if you do.

      Delete
  15. What a sad story, and unfortunately a story that we read about too often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: Sad and bad. And wrong. And so very wrong that it continues.

      Delete
  16. I once discussed our grandmother with my cousin. She notoriously neglected her children. Then we moved on the my daughter, who did the same. My cousin cousin ventured, "there's no mothering gene in either of them."
    I only wonder how there was no compassion for the children for whom they were responsible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joanne Noragon: Not everyone has the mothering gene it is true. But to not only neglect your own children but to 'acquire' more is something I found obscene.

      Delete
  17. Hi EC A very sad story, unfortunately one that keeps recurring even today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret Adamson: We are not as 'civilised' as we think are we?

      Delete
  18. Well my dear friend, treating people like a commodity is a common behavior among the rich. In the US, slaves were a commodity and to this day there are people who would treat them as such ... and do treat them as such even though the law prohibits it. And now they have spread their behavior to anyone who is not a white American. Sad thing is, many of these people have made their way into our government and, if you read your newspaper, you are aware of the havoc they have imposed on our "democracy". We are in grave trouble over here and it all boils down to money ... greed and the very rich wanting to get richer and manipulating people to do their bidding. So on a macro or a micro level, this is a sin and we should all be shouting at the top of our lungs. Sorry ... a rant begets a rant, but thanks for shouting !

    Andrea @ From The Sol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrea: Not speaking up condones bad behaviour - or so I believe. And yes, your rant is something I knew about and abhor. And it happens here to some extent as well. We continue to treat our indigenous population badly, and victimise many of the people who most need our help.

      Delete
  19. What a terrible women! Where was her husband in all this? Blind to her treatment of the kids? What a "B". Just her statement that 2 dogs play better then one makes my blood boil. Money hides so many sins!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teresa: He didn't even agree with her assessment of Shelton - but continued to let her get away with her treatment of him and the other adopted children. An evil woman and a weak man. Frightening combination.

      Delete
  20. I thought adoption was supposed to BENEFIT the children!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. fishducky: Unless you view children/people as commodities...

      Delete
  21. Replies
    1. Kim @ Stuff could...: Incredible damage, instead of the support that was needed. Awful.

      Delete
  22. I wonder if she could legally disinherit him...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Snowbrush: I wondered about that myself. She couldnt now (I don't think), but she and the Darrell Lea family had the money and the contacts to engage lawyers. Shelton and the other adopted children didn't.

      Delete
  23. Horrible story.
    As to whether it would have been a pointless gesture, at least it would have been SOMETHING. I have a personal boycott or two; they won't change what *is* but at least I don't have to be a part of their success/existentence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ms. CrankyPants: You nailed it - I would hate to think that I was feeding their success. Even with my tiny donations.

      Delete
  24. What a sad ending - finding his real mother too late. Good for you for posting this rant - I would never have heard of this horrible story without you. That woman should go to jail.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy Oliffe-Webster: Jail is too good for her. I am not certain whether she is still alive - she would be elderly now. And I am still appalled at what she got away with. Pretty much scot-free.

      Delete
  25. I would have boycotted it too! Not pointless - not if thousands or millions of people did it.

    So because they were wealthy, they were allowed to keep the kids they abused? Sick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Riot Kitty: I cannot see any other reason they were allowed to adopt so easily and keep the children (including their own). Sick it is.

      Delete
  26. So sad.. I'm outraged just reading your post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam:): I didn't think I was alone. And I am still raging.

      Delete
  27. What a sad story and you told it so well,
    I felt like I was watching a movie.
    Glad to know they went out of business.
    Grrr is right.
    -Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Richardson: It was a complete tragedy. So much damage - to satisfy one woman's ego. Grrr doesn't begin to cover what I feel about it.

      Delete
  28. Not sure if it's a book I'd like to read. Although, the poetry would be, I imagine, heartfelt. There would be too many similarities to my own childhood - although I didn't at all come from a "privileged" background.
    My heart goes out to Shelton and so, so many others like us lost children.

    Now I know why the very few times I ever had Darrell Lea (it wasn't so popular in W.A. years ago), it left a bad taste in my mouth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki: I am so sorry to hear that you are/were a lost child. And so very happy that unlike Shelton you have found a haven.
      His poetry was heartfelt, and he was apparently a mesmerising performer too.
      I love the thought that your understanding of the pain inflicted by Valerie made her confectionary taste bad. Empathetic taste buds.

      Delete
  29. How awful. And awful I'd never heard of this, given Darryl Lea such an Australian institution.
    Adoption was too easy in those days and so many kids were abused. My grandfather was adopted purely to provide an extra laborer on the family farm. He grew up with a lot of pain that he mostly hid, and having never had parenting models was not a great dad, though he loves his kids and late wife fiercely. The impact his childhood had was born by him, his kids, and (finally to positive impact) his grand kids. So much evil in the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackie K: It is still kept quiet. Googling Darryl Lea doesn't bring any of it to light.
      Wrong, wrong and wrong. And something I refuse to accept or condone.

      Delete
  30. This makes me mad, really really MAD. Why did this woman adopt more children if she didn't care about them? Actually treated them in such a harmful way? Why, when doctors said that the "problem" didn't lie with the child, would no one step in and look for a better home for him? Why is it possible for "authority" to turn such a blind eye?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carola Bartz: It made me angry and sad and bitter. Angry that she did it, angry that no-one stopped her, sad (so sad) for the lives she damaged and bitter than money and status could influence such important issues.

      Delete
  31. I'll vent and rant along with you, EC...what a vicious, horrible woman she must have been How people can treat innocent children that way never ceases to amaze or anger me.

    I really did like Darrel Lea's licorice...and still do. Perhaps the new owners of the company should change the company name!

    The following is taken from Wikipedia.....

    Quote: "On 3 September 2012 the company was acquired by the Queensland owners of VIP Petfoods, the Quinn family. The business will be further restructured, with the loss of 172 casual and 246 permanent jobs. Only 83 Darrell Lea employees will remain. The last company owned stores were all permanently closed by end of business on 9 September 2012. Darrell Lea products will continue to be sold through its licensed retailer network." End Quote

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee: It is incredible isn't it? And is still largely hushed up. If you have any of the back story hints about the person she was can be found - but it is only hints.

      Delete
  32. Oh gosh - how terrible! As the mother of two adopted children, I can't even begin to imagine how a mother could do this to her kids...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ladyfi: She wasn't a mother. Not in my understanding of the word. Not to her own children or to the ones she acquired. She stole the children of her eldest son after his marriage broke down too ... excluded their mother and adopted them. Unbelievable - or I wish it was. Incomprehensible.

      Delete
  33. What a dreadful family (fortunately their products were not available here in the West .. as far as I know) and imagine adopting children to give her own children more playmates!!!
    This story makes me realise just how fortunate I was that my adoptive parents loved me as they did and gave me a wonderful life even though they were strict which is probably just as well as they taught me right from wrong which has stayed with me to this day. Thanks Mum and Dad and thanks EC for reminding me of two great people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mimsie: I am so pleased that you had good, supportive and loving parents. Who chose to adopt you for the right reasons.

      Delete
  34. I suspect this sort of thing goes on more than one can stand to think about. Either children adopted as accessories by the rich, or--much more commonly in this country--as accessories by the religious. I know someone who was raised in the latter situation by violent people who thought they were doing God's work with their "foundling." Grotesque. Boggles the mind, when you hear how hard it is supposed to be to adopt a child. But abusers are good liars. And if you have money, you can get anything you want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paper Chipmunk (aka Ellen): I am sure you are right. Which makes me even more angry. And yes, abusers and sociopaths are good liars. When they are rich as well I suspect they are almost unstoppable.

      Delete
  35. How horrid. I was not raised with cruelty and don't understand it in others. How can anyone be so miserable, and live only to make others miserable as well?

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pearl: And delight in making others miserable as well? It is beyond me.

      Delete
  36. Dear EC, I understand your rage. I feel the same when I open the newspaper and find articles about the abuse of children. Your use of the word "commodity" is so apt.

    There's a case right now here in Missouri where two young girls (12 and 14) were "allegedly" raped by two high school seniors--and filmed in the act by one of those seniors. The country prosecutor dropped the case because he said, there wasn't enough evidence and he wasn't getting cooperation from the two young girls and their mothers.

    The Kansas City newspaper reported this in a long feature/news article a week ago and the story has gone viral. The prosecutor--a Republican--has been accused of dropping the case because one of the boy's grandfather's is an important Republican in state government. And so it goes. A new prosecutor is now examining the case. At least that's a step in the right direction.

    It does seem that money and power and insulation "from the masses" makes people feel they have the right to break any law and to forget morality, justice, fairness, and compassion. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dee: How I wish that Valerie Lea was an isolated case, an abberration. And she isn't. And I do believe that power corrupts. I hope the teenagers in Missouri find justice.

      Delete
  37. This makes you wonder about people's motives. It amazes me how some can lack sensitivity and compassion to such a degree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Myrna R.: I don't think that woman had even a passing acquaintance with empathy, compassion, sensitivity. Which badly damaged those around her.

      Delete
  38. Just reading your words makes me angry. It's hard to believe social agencies would leave the child in place. But money and power have loud voices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol Kilgore: I was just about gibbering with rage. I am used to the social agencies failing because of insufficient resources, but turning their backs because money and influence came into play is obscene.

      Delete
  39. We biological parents who raise our kids know absolutely nothing about parenting but have a steep learning curve. For a woman such as this one, surely someone could have vetted her. Her cruelty must have been observed by the community!! I shall rant with you....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan Kane: Thank you. It is nice to know that I am not ranting alone. I am not a parent, but have always thought it is a difficult, important and underappreciated job. I don't think Valerie thought that she had anything to learn. Ignorant and arrogant. And people did observe what was going on - and did nothing. Hiss and bloody spit.

      Delete
  40. I am off to google more information
    A powerful post my friend x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John Gray: Thank you. I found information about Valerie's iniquities to be a bit scanty on line - unless you already knew and could hunt further and deeper.

      Delete
  41. Such a sad and horrible way to grow up. I'm almost speechless and that doesn't happen very often. I rant right along with you, dear EC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BECKY: I am woman, hear me rant. Or something like that.

      Delete
  42. It isn't pointless at all - it's the principle of the thing, standing up for what you know is right. It doesn't matter how much or how little money is involved, it matters that we think right, and act on it. Thank you for bringing this biography to our attention, and for being a good example.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. jenny_o: Thank you. This book really hurt.

      Delete
  43. Not all adoptive parents are like this. I'm adopted with adopted daughters, and get sick of only ever reading negative stories and never any positive ones.

    Interesting rant. I think I'll give the book a miss. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LL Cool Joe: No, not all adoptive parents are like this at all. And not all natural parents are good either. I certainly didn't want to give the impression that I was against adoption. I am not. At all. Valerie Lea was awful to all of her children, but worse to those she adopted. And worst of all to Shelton.

      Delete
  44. Thanks for your reply here and on my blog. Sorry if I seemed harsh, it's just that seem to a great many books out there now painting such a negative picture of adoption, and to be honest it can be quite damaging for people like myself who are adopted and with adopted children too. Adoption still has this awful image of children being "bought" or dragged away from their birth family when this isn't always the case. I suppose I just like to try give a more positive image of adoption, and hey, sometimes it works. I have two beautiful girls that are loved and are thriving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LL Cool Joe: Understood. I pushed a button that you have had pushed too many times before.

      Delete
  45. I never liked Darrel Lea stuff, anyway, and this story of the adoption of children is horrifying. Adoption is a difficult tissue anyway and it seems to me that most of us have some sort of need to know our biological roots. Most know their family history, but I can imagine how those without the information and the circumstances very often have the need to know.
    I think these days many people would not have known of the disgrace brought about by an illegitimate pregnancy, on the mother thought much less so on the father, and in the past it was generally and sincerely believed that adoption of the child brought benefit to those involved. I hope we understand better now. Adoption is something which has interested me greatly, partly because a very close friend was adopted and she had this need to know. but by the time she was able to find out any information her birth mother had died.
    Have you read Kate Adie on the subject? Her birthday family saw her on TV and noted her family resemblance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. persiflage: No, I haven't read (or come across) Kate Adie. I will keep my eye out. Thank you.

      Delete
  46. I too wonder about the people adopted by celebs. I get enraged that there is one law for the rich and one for the poor, It stops me from saying, "well, this all happened a long time ago- things are different now" Because in many ways, they are not. Kate Adie, by the way, is very interesting and talented, you might be able tocatch her if you are able to access BBC website recordings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny Woolf: Welcome, and thank you. This wasn't even that long ago. And sadly I am certain that similar injustices do still happen.

      Delete
  47. GGGRRRRR is right! Man that ticks me off. But thank you for posting it. How was his poetry, btw?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. spectrumwoman: I have read several other books since, and am still fuming. And his poetry was raw (unsurprising), but often very moving.

      Delete
  48. This woman is the definition of a true witch. Appalling.

    is that his photo on the front of the book? He is gorgeous.

    Xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Inner Chick: Witch doesn't begin to cover it. And yes, that was Shelton Lea on the cover - a very, very good looking man. With talent. And pain.
      Hugs.

      Delete
  49. Replies
    1. Ercotravels: It is, and he had a difficult life in many ways - and was rich in others. And because of his poetry we are richer. Which fills me with guilt.

      Delete
  50. Never heard of this chap but it seems to me that I should have. And so everyone else who is interested in culture. Thanks, many thanks, for your post.

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Cuban in London: I am ashamed to say that neither had I heard of him.

      Delete
  51. My thanks for your kind comment. I hope you and SP are both well and happy :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam:): Getting there - and I hope you and yours are enjoying life to the full.

      Delete
  52. Darrell Lea was one of the major food groups in my home. My parents, born in the 20s, told me that the Darrell Lea shops fed an ideal 'sugar-plum fairy' hope that the future would be better. My parents were shaped by the Second World War - they both developed a Severe Mental Illness in the 60s. I was their only child and my story is not dissimilar to Shelton's. Being a child for 'show-and-tell', a commodity, a child to be placed in the cupboard and only brought out for special occasions.

    Deaf ears, blind eyes and cold shoulders were the order of the day back then. If you choose to boycott Darrel Lea and not buy their products you are merely giving that malignant old narcissist bitch more ego cookies to nibble on in the Sweet Hereafter.

    If you enjoy poetry, bone up on some Nin Andrews


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rain-in-the-Face: Welcome. I am sorry to hear that your experience paralleled Shelton's. Darrell Lea didn't enter our home (little that was unnecessary did).
      Thank you for the tip about Nin Andrews. I will track her work down.

      Delete
  53. We just came back from a month away (my daughter published the comments to my pre-programmed posts) and I am busy reading my favorite blogs. What a terrible and sad childhood for this boy – some people should not take care of young ones. In New Orleans I bought the exact re-reprinting of a book published in 1855 called “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northrop (I think a movie is coming out too.) I read it, then went to a slave museum in Memphis, TN, and am now reading another book by an escaped slave. I am totally outraged that this slavery lasted so long in the South – and it is the Bible belt on top of that. I cannot comprehend that people did not revolt against it sooner – it lasted several hundred years – I guess, like during Nazi Germany, the people must have said they did not know or could not help… The book I am reading now is called “The Bondswoman Narrative” by Hannah Craft. When her diary was found and published in 2000 they thought it was a work of fiction, but a professor just found out that she did exist and her story is true. I am halfway through it and cannot understand the cruelty shown to the slaves in the Carolinas. People have been cruel to others from the beginning of times, and in all countries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vagabonde: I share your outrage. And the 'indentitured servants' didn't fair a lot better than slaves. The name changed, but the treatment didn't.
      And isn't it sad that cruelty is one of the things that humans have in common.

      Delete
  54. What an awful story and what awful people! My heart aches for those suffering children, but maybe there was some karmic justice. I did find some brief info from way back in 2005 that Valerie was in a nursing home. Let's hope it was a bad one and that she got to lay about covered in bed sores and soaked in urine. http://www.abc.net.au/dynasties/txt/s1502912.htm
    Thanks for alerting me to his wonderful poetry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MissFifi: Welcome. It seems we are similar people - when I heard that she was in a nursing home I hoped it was one that smelt of urine and overcooked cabbage.

      Delete
  55. Ahhh Adoption! I have written/published on the subject: me a young social worker encountering a culture of secrecy enshrined in law. I decided I could not work in the area. Others are more able to do so.
    As it happened, I wandered into Shelton Lea's circle for about five minutes during the 1980s... probably not long before he died. He was revered, clearly by his peers and appeared to want to create a space for poets to develop and grow. There was something... too much alcohol perhaps? that made me back off. His house in St George's Road Fitzroy is still some sort of centre for the literary arts I believe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christine: Too much alcohol, too many drugs, just too damaged? Just the same I envy you. And I love hearing that his house is still a centre for the literary arts. Thank you.

      Delete
  56. That is such a sad story. Unfortunately, we have many adoptive parents in the US who abuse and eventually kill children.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Practical Parsimony: A loss (perhaps a betrayal) followed by another betrayal. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And not limited to adoptive parents either who are often as good and better as the birth family. Valerie shouldn't have had the care of any living thing. But money gave it to her.

      Delete
  57. Wow, I do love the photo - a great photo on that book. A gorgeous looking human being.

    "Two dogs play better than one" - seriously? Seriously she said that?

    This was so interesting, Sue. I didn't know a bit of it. REALLY interesting.

    Observed over months?? And the conclusion is the problem didn't lie with the children.... omg...

    Not a review but a rant - worthy.

    Sue, this kind of thing makes me SO sad. I realise I’ve done okay, after all. This poor GORGEOUS looking young man…. Incredible story, just incredible. Really, I’m with you – just an incredible, incredible UNNECESSARY theft of someone’s potential in life.

    I would have boycotted also, absolutely. Loathesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wordsfallfrommyeyes: It is scary isn't it. A respected member of society behaving in an incredibly cruel and destructive way. And never being pulled up for it. Absolutely loathsome was the way I felt about her.

      Delete