Sandy’s Boy


There is a baby.


He can’t breathe well. His little lungs didn’t have time to develop before he came into the world, prematurely. His parents’ cigarette smoke in the farm-house isn’t helping.


Most people didn’t know his mother was even pregnant. To be honest, not a lot of people pay much attention to Sandy. To be even more honest, most people avoid Sandy altogether.


Sandy inherited the farmhouse she lives in from Tom. Tom was old enough to be her father. His only requirement in a girlfriend seemed to be that said girlfriend would enable his alcoholism, maybe even participate a little herself. Sandy was more than willing to oblige.


Tom’s body finally cried “Uncle!’ after a lifetime of self-abuse. Sandy was left with a crumbling farmhouse, Tom’s family’s resentment, and her own addictions.


Sandy moved on, found another boyfriend. He liked to drink, too. He moved into her farmhouse. They didn’t live on the grid. Neither had a job. Nor did they care for societal niceties. They pretty much kept to themselves. Except for the occasional drive to town, to cash in their empties, and get more booze.


Sandy knew she couldn’t stay in the house forever. Tom’s kids inherited the land it was on; she’d have to move on, eventually, and she needed to cash in while she could. She wanted to sell the house.


She called the town’s only real estate agent. He came out to assess the place, see how much she could ask for it. The real estate agent could barely keep the horror off his face.


The stench told the story of the sewer back ups the house had endured. Garbage, dirty dishes, and piles of empties dotted the entire house. Mattresses were strewn across the living room floor. Sandy and her boyfriend chain smoked throughout the visit. And in the middle of all of it was a baby. Hooked up to an oxygen tank.


The real estate agent went back to town. And called every authority he could think of. Police. The health region. Child Protective Services. All assured him they would look into it.


Everything that can possibly be done, is being done. The proper authorities have been notified. The proper protocols are being followed.





I’ve never met Sandy.


I’ve never met this baby.


There’s nothing I can do.


So why can’t I stop thinking about him? About Sandy?  Why am I having such a hard time falling asleep at night?


17 responses to “Sandy’s Boy

  1. This. breaks. my. heart.

    Especially when I realize that Sandy’s boy is one of many in similar situations.


  2. God, I hate that our bureaucracy turns so slowly to help those who truly need it. It’s just not fair. That poor baby needs real parents!

  3. I will be praying for them both.

  4. I know a guy *cough-cough* that made an anonymous call to child protective services, because he knew of some children in a home full of crazy crack heads. CPS gave him some jive story about “the facts”, and as long as there was one crack head playing designated baby sitter, there was nothing they could do… end of call. 😕 WTF!!! Unfortunately, such is life. You do what you can and hope for the best. 😐 Take care of yourself.

  5. Because you are human and mean it Ginny. And I’m glad you do. I could not agree more that seeing the bottom of the human race is utterly disturbing sometimes. I used to provide foster care for the state Missouri. I assure you, the bureaucrats who ran that show were almost always more disturbing than the parents who had their children taken away. Keep loving. Always. That’s my best hope.

  6. Poor baby. I read this earlier and didn’t comment, just let it brew for a while and thought about it later while in the bookstore. Don’t know what image it was that brought it to mind, but I can’t stop thinking about it either.

  7. My blood boils.

    Seems this week has had a spate of these things come to light.

    Baby P in the UK, visited 60 – SIXTY times in his short 17 month old life by child protective services, and doctors failed to diagnose his broken back, and broken ribs, just two days before he finally gave in to his injuries.

    Makes me sad and angry stuck together.

  8. Another note to anyone who knows personally of a grave situation like the one our Ginny describes. My most effective tool with the Missouri dept. that handles abused children is to call them up and say, “I have been thinking about calling the local newspaper about this, but thought you might like the chance to respond to it properly first. You have 48 hours.” That usually gets them moving. Sorry Ginny for taking up big comment space. You’ve brought up a topic near and dear to me and with which I have experience. Just thought I would share that tip.

  9. Mongo makes a good point…if you threaten the authorities with the media, no matter what authority that is, they’ll respond. Everyone’s afraid of the media. No one wants to end up getting yelled at by Keith Olbermann and hearing they’re one of the worst people in the world.

    I wish I could give you advice on this, but I’m gonna go get drunk. Maybe you could volunteer to help the house cleaning crew?

  10. michael.offworld

    Maybe the universe is sending you a message. Might take a while to know what to do with it.

  11. Katie: Yup.

    faemom: I understand why the procedures need to be in place. It doesn’t mean I have to like them.

    derfina: Thank you.

    Peter: That anonymous dude is one heck of a good guy.

    Mongoliangirl: I guess I’m just used to putting up big walls where this kind of thing is concerned. And I’m just not able to do that this time.

    Kitty: Sorry. If it’s any consolation, it works both ways, and I’ve been thinking about your post about veterans the other day. Only that was an awesome story.

    Nursemyra: It is. Makes me feel powerless.

    Xbox: I thought of you when I heard about this. Sad and angry stuck together. That’s horrible AND beautiful. (And I bet it’s kind of like napalm.)

    Mongoliangirl: Hmmm…

    Rassles: “I wish I could give you advice on this, but I’m gonna go get drunk”. Don’t apologize. We’ve all got our strengths, and it’s important to play to them. And if I thought I could go to the house without getting a shotgun pointed at me, I might.

    michael: That’s the part that I think is keeping me up at night.

  12. I haven’t heard this story, yet I can see why it keeps you up 😦 I’m sorry this has/is happening to this baby and it proves once again the old saying that ‘you need a license to drive or vote, but any idiot can have a child”. Sad. So sad.

    I have my own nemesis when it comes to this stuff. Jamie Bulger. 1993. Fifteen years ago and I still can’t think of that little boy, or his vicious 10yr old murderers without my stomach turning to knots, my heart shattering, and the tears spilling all over again.

    This is the one I can’t let go of. This is the one that kept me up MANY nights also. Still can if I let it. In particular, that one line I read in EVERY account of the story …”stopping now and then to torture the little boy, who was crying constantly for his Mommy”.

    Yeah. That kills me. As a human being. As a Mom.

    Forgiveness. I have it for many who don’t deserve it. But I will NEVER find it in my heart to understand or forgive Johnathan Venables or Robert Thompson for how they tortured and murdered that two year old little boy.

    Sorry, I know all this doesn’t help with your own feelings about Sandy’s Boy… but just wanted you to know many of us have our own demons with stories like this 😦

  13. Interesting idea, eh? In all seriousness…if you have something you’re considering addressing (or helping someone else address) I’m more than happy to share my experience. There’s a whole system of hand holding and leading the way when it comes to media and bureaucrats and I’m really good at it. And, it is way less “involved” than most people might think. You’re welcome to send an email to me at if you like.

  14. Words fail me except for horror, disgust, anger, and sheer frustration at the authorities taking their sweet time.

  15. Humanity sucks most days. Ever wonder why I smoke so much weed?

  16. You paint an image so well.

    I will not sleep well tonight either.

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