Volume 2, Issue 10, page 3


House of Genetic Tragedies

ONLY THE sublimely courageous, the profoundly understanding, the infinitely
O patient, will read this book beyond
the first chapter. It takes intestinal
investiture to face facts. The toughest fact to face is the human self.

Any child mentioned and described herein
could have been you, me, or your child or my
child. In truth, each child mentioned is a
racial responsibility--the responsibility of
the human race, wherein there is neither color
nor religion. Not one of these children knows
anything about any of these things.

The three-story house on Martha Avenue,
in Lancaster, Penn., is hidden away, like its
day-time inhabitants, outside the business
center of America's oldest inland city. While
the women charged with the care of this house
and its people prefer this seclusion, the
seeming exile of the house is a symbol.

It is a symbol of rejection. It is a symbol of profound acceptance of responsibility
on the part of the dedicated. It is a symbol
of indifference on the part of the general individual, the general public which won't face
facts--or may not have heard of the facts or
guessed their existence. It is difficult to
believe that a man or woman lives who hasn't

Strange small items hang inside the windows, visible from the unpaved walks which
parallel one side and front of the House on
Martha Avenue. One item may be a Punch, or possibly Judy, dangling by a string from a half-
lowered curtain or venetian blind. It may be
a spinning ribbon. It may be a string of wooden beads. To see the windows on Martha Avenue
is to wonder who, and what sorts, live therein. To pause, and stand and watch is, for some
strange reason, to feel uncomfortable, as if a
chill wind had touched the back of the neck
with invisible fingertips.

There is suddenly a round moon-face at a
front window. It is not a child's face, nor
yet an adult's face. It is behind thick-lensed
spectacles with heavy rims and frames. The hair
is pale, the eyebrows thin. The eyes look out
but say nothing.

One who has never seen such a face has
escaped one of the world's greatest tragedies.

At another window a hand reaches up,
grasping at some dangling geegaw. The hand
misses, tries again. Even thouh the geegaw
isn't out of reach, and isn't moving, the small
fat hand fails repeatedly. The hand vanishes,
giving up. Not until one knows, is it clear
that for the hand to reach more than once is
for its owner to show incredible concentration.

The house is old, and, from the outside,
run down. The passerby can easily, and perhaps does, criticize. But those who live their
days inside have no time for outward appearances of items such as an ancient three-story
house. Only four of them know, actually, that
a house a house, which has an inside and an

The watcher turns in at the door. The
face at the window disappears.

Inside the vestibule, which is very small
because there isn't really room for a vestibule the visitor hears the first sounds which
haunt the House on Martha Avenue. There is a
stairway, leading up and around, on the left.
There is a doorway leading down to a basement.
There is a coat hanger near the basement door.
There is a divan bienough for two. There is
a closed door on which appear the words:


A babble of sound comes through the thick
door. It is a composite of human voices, but
it is not human speech. One hears the untrained voice of a parrot, the high eek-eek of
the startled small monkey, wild laughter which
would seem insane if it were not so young.
There is tempo in the laughter. It breaks
forth at intervals. The intervals are the only
breaks. One hears the scampering of feet.

There is no receptionist. None is needed. Only the knowing, only the dedicated,
ever come here. The public, knowing or unknowing, pass this place by.

The visitor opens the door. There are two
rooms immediately beyond, in one of which a
woman in a dark rumpled suit kneels among
children from possibly six years of age to 17
-- boys and girls. The woman looks up. Few if
any of the children turn. Those who do seem
scarcely to see.

"May I help you?" the woman asks.

The visitor mumbles. He'd like to visit,
if he doesn't disturb anyone. He'd like to
look at, ask about, study the children.

"You are welcome," she says, clearly meaning it. "So few people come. How can our
children learn to live in the world if no world
appears to live in? When there are visitors,
the children learn, ever so little, what to do
about visitors."

She is the principal, the visitor learns,
and as she talks, she points at each child.
This seems surprising at first, since even
animals don't like to be pointed at. But the
principal must know. The children, with one
or two exceptions, don't know, or are unaware,
that they are being singled out.

There is Terry, 10 years old. It is his
birthday. The visitor has come just in time
to help celebrate with Terry. Terry has a
young-old hatchet face, a shock of black hair,
and the most painfully twisted spine the visitor ever has seen. He's a hunchback, with the
hump high under his right shoulder. The S-shape
of the spine is clearly seen through Terry's
neat garments. Terry can't sit still. He
laughs too much. Some idea touches him, and
his body darts, then stops undecided, because
no thought maintains itself--though Terry is
one of the brightest here.

There are 33 boys and girls in attendance
today. Two new ones are expected any moment.

The principal points out the mongoloids,
the unfinished children. The visitor, glancing
from face to face, unable to leave one face for
another yet unable to look at one very long,
notes how closely the mongoloids no two from
the same family or related families, resemble
one another.

Often mongoloids are born of parents naturally past the age of parenthood. They can't
provide enough material for children.

But any man and woman may mate and produce a mongoloid, an unfinished child. For
some reason, at the exact time of conception,
or...or...but nobody really knows...the parents have failed to "furnish the child "idea",