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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Politics tomorrow, miracle tonight

The miracles of Christmas and Hanukkah happen every day.

Consider this one from January 19, 1985.

This is a real-life three men and a baby, as Sheridan Ogden, Michael Randelman, and Phillip Lavigne helped rescue Marcus Wallace.

Randelman found a newborn in a dumpster behind a Shell station in Teaneck, New Jersey, in the cold wee hours.

“I heard a crying noise. I kept hearing it. I lifted the lid, but all I saw was garbage,” Randelman rold Susan Edelman of the New York Post nearly 32 years later.

He called over station attendant Lo Kuo-Raya. They peered into the dumpster and saw nothing but trash, but they agreed there was a baby in there. Somewhere. Randelman called the police, and Officers Ogden and Lavigne arrived.

“We figured it was a cat,” Ogden said.

Lavigne went in and saw a black garbage back that not like the others. Inside was a baby.

Lavigne held the baby close to his chest, while Ogden raced at 80 mph with lights and sirens toward Holy Name Hospital.
“I think I had wings on the car,” Ogden said.
Doctors whisked the infant inside. “You got here just in time,” one told the cops.
The baby, dubbed “Johnny Doe,” would have died of exposure had he not been found quickly, they said.
The mother, Dorothea Ballas, a 21-year-old student at Fairleigh Dickinson University, pleaded guilty to attempted murder but did no jail time. After legalizing abortion, it is difficult to rationalize jailing of women who commit infanticide. Or those who attempt it.

Just before her due date, Ballas broke up with the father, Ruthven Prithwie, a 22-year-old student from Trinidad, and did not tell him about the baby. 

Her parents wanted to adopt out their grandson. Prithwie fought them and the baby went to live Prithwie's family, who raised him in Trinidad.

No one told him this story, however. When the baby, Marcus Wallace, discovered this at age 20, he was devastated. His health suffered.

But over the years, he finally contacted the reporter who covered his mother's trial. She worked hard to arrange a reunion with his guardian angels -- Sheridan Ogden, Michael Randelman, and Phillip Lavigne.

His mother still wants nothing to do with him. I hope there is a change of heart. Not for him, but for her.


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  1. Brought tears to my eyes. My son just left our Christmas dinner and headed home.

  2. I lived at home through most of college and even the first two years of marriage and med school. I know that's unusual, but it also made it just about impossible to make the kinds of mistakes these people made. It also made it easier for my wife and I to take care of my parents full time when they got old and unable to care for themselves. The way our educational system is structured abets the atomization of the family and social breakdown. The above story isn't about the problems of a girl and her illegitimate son, but about a system practically designed to destroy its host culture.

  3. What a story. Thanks for posting and linking.

  4. "There are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents."

    Leon R. Yankwich

  5. Perfect story for a holy day, Big D. Hope you had a fantastic Christmas.