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Guest opinion: Stories help remind us of the great people in Ogden

By Charles Trentelman - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 25, 2023

Photo supplied, Charles Trentelman

Former Standard-Examiner reporter Charles Trentelman wrote this article, which published Dec. 25, 1992, about a newborn baby girl that was abandoned in Ogden and quickly adopted by a local family.

My job organizing the 60-plus years of clip files of the Standard-Examiner now stored at Weber State University gives me chance to see how many really nice people live in this community.

It breaks my heart that their stories are, mostly, no longer being told. How can we know we have a good community if nobody tells us? Newspapers used to, but they are barely hanging on and much-diminished, their staffs tiny and overworked. Their role documenting our community has been lost.

The newspaper story that got me thinking of this ran on Dec. 25, 1992. I came across it recently by accident. I had totally forgotten that I wrote it.

Amazing story: On Oct. 31, 1990, doctors estimated, a woman in Ogden gave birth to a baby girl which, for whatever reason, she could not keep. Sometime that night or the next morning she left it on the front porch of an East Bench home in Ogden.

Why that home? Nobody knows. The home was pink, is the best guess.

When the woman in the home opened the front door that Nov. 1, looking for her newspaper, she found the abandoned girl, blue and cold but alive.

Who left her? OPD Detective Dave Lucas told me he never found one single clue. Nobody claimed the child. Nobody said they had a friend who was pregnant one day, not pregnant the next, and missing a baby.

Nothing. Just the baby.

Now, it’s easy to judge but please don’t. Today the mother could take that child to any hospital, clinic, fire station or police station, no questions asked. That option didn’t exist in 1990.

The mother did what she could to save her baby. She trusted it to Ogden, which was the right thing to do.

The people in the house freaked out, of course. Then they took it in and made calls.

The child was taken to a hospital where it was found to be less than 24 hours old and healthy. Bridget Seese, who was a state foster care worker then, said she placed the child with a local family that had already been talking to her about foster care.

This is where it gets magical. The mother of the foster family “went to the hospital and bonded with her, just like her real baby. Fed her and held her,” Seese said.

And, six months later, when the child was declared officially abandoned, that same family adopted her.

Seese said it was a good thing the adoptive mother got there fast. Seese’s phone was deluged with calls from folks wanting that child.

Which does not surprise me. This community cares.

When I wrote my Christmas story two years, later Seese told me the child was thriving and happy and living on the west coast with her new family.

That’s what’s nice here. A baby girl was abandoned in a community that took her in, gave her a family and a future.

Where is the child now? No clue. The secret was kept. Even Seese says she doesn’t know. We hope the child is a happy and thriving 32-year-old woman leading a good life.

What about the child’s mother? Also, no clue. I very sincerely hope she saw the story I wrote in 1992. I hope she knows her baby was taken care of and given a new life.

I hope, when she thinks of that time, she has found peace.

If she still lives in Ogden, I hope she knows she is in a community with a lot of good people who took care of her child when she couldn’t and gave her child a future.

A good community which, I hope, can find ways to keep reminding itself of that.

Charles Trentelman worked at the Standard-Examiner for 35 years as a reporter and columnist. He retired in 2013 and is currently volunteering at Weber State University in the Stewart Library Special Collections. He is organizing and indexing the clip files of the Standard-Examiner, which cover more than 60 years, starting in 1933.


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