Thanks to Susan Gervasi for the article on the Florence Crittenton Home (“Wayward Past,” 3/19). I was a Florence Crittenton baby, so the article has particular significance to me. As an adult, I’ve often walked by the home where I was born and thought of the pain that old building saw.
I was particularly interested in the last paragraph, in which the social worker said that the mother couldn’t give the baby a teddy bear because it had her smell on it, and they wanted the baby to bond with its new family. Such statements assume that the baby wasn’t already bonded by smell and touch to its young mother and that those sublingual attachments would be forgotten by the baby. Like the old idea that babies don’t feel pain, I think this one, too, would fall if we only knew how to get to the knowledge. But babies don’t have any way to express this highly distressing feeling, and science may not be able to quantify what I think could be deep psychic pain.
Takoma Park, Md.
via the Internet