2004-04-14, 2:04 p.m.
i woke up this morning to hear the morning dj team on my clock radio reporting this story about little ruby bustamante and her 26-year-old mother, norma. and i can't stop thinking about it. ten days in that california ravine. after the car went off the road. the mother died after two, they speculate.
and i keep thinking about the story i read in an essay by joan didion in the white album. about another mother (also 26 years old) and daughter on another california highway. this one just south of bakersfield, interstate 5, where betty lansdown fouquet abandoned her 5-year-old daughter in the center divide. her daughter later reported to the california highway patrol, after they pried her fingers from the cyclone fence, that she ran after the car with her mother, stepfather and the rest of her family "for a long time." she was a year younger than ruby.
i wonder why i can't stop thinking about children in peril off california highways. maybe the stories speak to some universal truth. or a personal one.