Like Ken Rush, she expresses dismay at “newspaper people” who are only interested in “sleaze” and have misrepresented him. “You go through life thinking, ‘who do I look like? They are tired and hungry following their emotional return to Mc Caysville and need some time to recharge. We may have lost the ability to contact our birth parents, but we’ve gained each other.” The entire group echoes her sentiment.
“The connections I’ve formed to these women and the others who are not here today is one of the most unexpected and lovely outcomes of this horrible situation,” Cyndy declares.
” Indeed they did, along with the adoptive parents of approximately 212 other children who have become known as the Hicks Babies, after Dr. Starting in 1955 and running through the early 1960s, Hicks offered secretive abortions and adoptions here.
‘And do not contact anyone,’ they said to them, ‘we’ll forge you a birth certificate.’ And they did this?
And we are.” The subject changes to the group’s final destination: Crestlawn Cemetery. He is buried right beside it, but not in it.” An empty tomb. “When they opened it up there was great excitement. “I heard that at the time of his death there was concern that in the future people would want to break in and either steal or desecrate his body. He has been living here for a while now, in a small space between two support beams that can only be reached with a ladder. There’s no hassle compared to the streets, you know what I’m saying? “You’re the first person to visit this week,” he says. I can get why, it’s a spooky place when you don’t know it. I hear him talk to himself as I go away from the entrance and from the white sky.
That could be why he isn’t in the tomb.” As the group finishes lunch, Melinda says, “Are we ready to go to the cemetery? Like a funeral procession, 44 years late, they all follow each other to the graveyard. A plywood roof protects his hoarded belongings from seeping water. There is an old mattress on the floor, and cookware, blankets and electronics stacked on makeshift shelves. His real story has been buried long ago under thick layers of improvised memories that grew more detailed by the years, the man slowly becoming a collage of himself. “People don’t want to speak to me when they come here. The smell down here is the one of brake dust and mold.“She’s here for the first time since her birth, Doris,” Melinda says. She embraces Sandy like she would a long-lost relative, clutching her tight, eyes brimming with tears. “I’m so glad you came.” After releasing Sandy, Doris takes a seat and begins to hold court, telling the women, “I have enjoyed all of you. I’m saying I saw the man do a lot of good.” Melinda speaks up, and softly pushes back: “I just wish he would have gave us a future to come back and be able to find our history.” Doris shakes her head and explains, “Honey, he would have been put in prison.” The answer does not sit well with the Hicks Babies. They were from around here.” Sandy contemplates the notion that she is sitting in her mother’s hometown. Hicks and his actions – something that has seldom been explored by news coverage of the Hicks Babies. “He made contributions to almost all of the charities in town.I am so proud of all you.” Doris explains that her kin were close with the Hicks family, that they were neighbors and friends. He did a lot for this town,” she pauses and looks up at the Hicks Babies. The lack of records is the most significant hindrance in their search for their origins. We are all getting to the age when this really starts to matter. “Someone was kind enough to give me life,” she says, her voice choked with an amalgam of sadness and love and pain and hope. He was a leader,” explains Dalton, who grew up in Copperhill, the town adjacent to Mc Caysville.It is possible that deaths like these convinced Dr. “Hicks was providing a service,” says Ken Rush flatly. We like it to be nefarious.” * * * fter she pauses for photos in front of her birthplace, Sandy Dearth huddles with her daughter Crystal and two fellow Hicks Babies, Melinda Dawson and Cyndy Stapleton.Rush is the director of the Ducktown Basin Museum, a small institution devoted to preserving the history of the area. They have returned here for Sandy, to show her where she came from.He sits at a table with his hands resting calmly in front of him. “There’s someone I think you should meet, Sandy,” Melinda says gently.Directly behind him is a display case filled with the various chemicals manufactured in the factories that once served as the area’s primary economic engines. “It’s just a short walk from here.” Melinda, 53, is the de facto leader of the Hicks Babies. The story made national news, resurfacing again in 2014, when the Babies teamed up with and ABC News to conduct DNA tests on themselves and members of the nearby community. They wouldn’t even throw a piece of paper out the window of their car. In 1997, news of the scandal broke, as several Hicks Babies began digging into their past.She has since maintained ties with them for over twenty years. “I was there.” “I was convinced something was in there,” Linda states. That’s why they make up these stories about cannibalism and stuff.“Although I sometimes feel like I am not necessarily welcome in town,” Melinda says, “support from people like Linda shows us that a large segment of the community cares, that they accept us as their own. “Is it true that authorities opened the Hicks mausoleum to search for records pertaining to the Hicks Babies? “It is so odd that Hicks himself is not in the mausoleum. It is easy to understand why people believed something was behind those doors. For her part, local resident Theresa Starnes offers a plausible explanation. Like many of the people interviewed for this article, he did not want to give his full name. I can do what I wanna and I don’t have to take nothing from nobody.” Today is a good day for Jon, despite the rain and the cool weather. Like alligators in the sewers.” Jon offers me a sip of vodka. He tells me to stay safe and to watch out for trains when I go back walking into the tunnel.