July 12, 2018

"I didn’t know about it at all... We live in the country and we’re pretty unplugged.... Our internet’s very spotty, and we’re not willing to pay for cable because it’s too expensive."

Said Jessica McClure Morales — the "Baby Jessica" whose rescue from a well captured the attention of the world in 1987 — when asked by a NYT reporter about what she thought of the story of the boys in the Thai cave.
Ms. Morales’s rescue 31 years ago coincided with the dawn of round-the-clock cable television news, becoming at once a cultural touchstone and a template for the juggernaut coverage Americans have come to expect of certain events. But as she grew older, Ms. Morales largely retreated from the crush of media attention, choosing instead a quiet life away from the news....

Ms. Morales, of course, doesn’t remember anything about her own fall and rescue. “I was only 18 months old, and I was stuck in a pipe that was only eight inches around,” she said. “Nobody thought I would live for three days without water.”

Ms. Morales said she knows the rescue has shaped her life, but it is hard to put her finger on exactly how. “It didn’t affect me the way it affected other people,” she said. “I lived it, but I didn’t watch it.”
Really nice picture of her and her husband and kids at the link. I love seeing somebody who does the opposite of trying to stay famous.

78 comments:

rehajm said...

How alien her and her family must be to NYT. No CNN?

Darrell said...

Sorry.
I was just thinking of Chuck stuck in a well.

rehajm said...

NYT would not survive three days without CNN.

Diamondhead said...

Nice story, and her rescue is one of my earliest memories.

Am I wrong that this sentence seems off: "Though she was certainly glad to hear that the boys had been successfully rescued."?

Bay Area Guy said...

Nice story of a level-headed woman.

BDNYC said...

I'm assuming that's just not a good picture of her. She looks kinda old and rough for 32.

Etienne said...

A lot of folks in rural Oklahoma have no Internet. Those that do have to sacrifice other things, because it is so expensive.

To add insult, the connection is metered. If you use all your data authorization (which is small in relation to the forced videos and graphics you are hit with) the connection is slowed down or you have to pay a fine to the network provider.

I drove through this rural town southwest of here, and there is hundreds of telephone wires all over the small city. Fucking telephone wires! Not a fiber connection to be found (which can combine 100's of connections over a small cable). I wrote my State Senator and asked if there was a bounty on unused telephone wires, and he didn't know what I was talking about.

These rural towns have the same telephone wires that were strung up during FDR's administrations. I would hazard a guess that none of them are used anymore, as everyone has a cell phone, and uses a tower that are connected together with fiber.

Michael K said...

Kathy Fiscus was an even more famous case, but did not turn out as well.

Within hours, a major rescue effort was underway with "drills, derricks, bulldozers, and trucks from a dozen towns, three giant cranes, and 50 floodlights from Hollywood studios."[4] At one point a rope was lowered to her but she could not maintain her hold on it and fell even further down the well.[5] After digging down 100 feet, workers reached Kathy on Sunday night.

It was immediately apparent that Kathy was dead. It was impossible to move her because of the position of her legs. A rope was lowered from the top of the well and tied around her to gently pull her into a different posture from which Dr. Robert McCullock, one of the Fiscus family physicians, working from the lateral shaft, was able to free her. Contractor Bill Yancey brought her to the surface.


I remember it. I think a movie was made of the story.

rhhardin said...

The event that discovered ratings gold and soap opera women.

Leland said...

I guess she was chose to be left behind. I doubt she has any problem with it.

My name goes here. said...

They might live out in the country but they are on city water.

Etienne said...

"She looks kinda old and rough for 32."

God fearing Democrats. It takes a toll.

richlb said...

Timmy O'Toole could not be reached for comment.

richlb said...

I don't think she looks that bad for 32. Someone's just being HARSH.

Fernandistein said...

The hole's only natural enemy is the pile.

Annie C said...

That was one story that was worth using up a NYT click. A happy family living a happy life without the constant barrage of the media.

Thank you Althouse.

Seeing Red said...

A lot of folks in rural Oklahoma have no Internet. Those that do have to sacrifice other things, because it is so expensive.

I just read some dem candidate is running on universal access and I want to know why?

We’ve been paying for that on our phones sine Al Bore was VP!

Trump should start

Scratch that ATT merger is denied until it’s done . It doesn’t take 25 years to do this.

Carter Wood said...

Let us not forget poor Floyd Collins, the Kentucky spelunker who became trapped in a cave in 1925, surviving for 14 days before dying of hypothermia. His plight became a sensation, marking the arrival of radio as a national news medium. Skeets Miller of the Louisville Courier-Journal won a Pulitzer for his coverage; he crawled down to Collins for interviews.

Country music singer Vernon Dalhart had a hit with "Death of Floyd Collins."

JPG said...

She looks like a regular person. I remember this when it happened. A couple of seconds of film of her being cradled by one of the rescuers as he rushes her from the well to a waiting ambulance is part of Michael Jackson's song "Man in the Mirror." JPG

Freeman Hunt said...

That's a great picture. How bizarre to think that that family wouldn't exist if her rescue had been unsuccessful.

traditionalguy said...

Shows to go you how normal Geat Americans live, provided only that they first survive alive from birth canals and then from pipes. Families that raise children . Rinse and repeat.

Etienne said...

Telephone wires are the crabgrass of power poles.

Gilbert Pinfold said...

Highly recommend the movie "Ace in the Hole" starring Kirk Douglas. A very cynical introduction into how the press views and handles these types of situations. Can often find it playing on TCM, and it's in the lineup on FilmStruck (also highly recommended)

Etienne said...

CNN stole her soul, and made millions, but they won't give her free cable for life.

Infinite Monkeys said...

I love seeing somebody who does the opposite of trying to stay famous.

That article has a link to a story about one of her rescuers who committed suicide, Robert O’Donnell. It makes it sound as though the fame, and then lack of it, were what caused him to kill himself, but I expect it's more complicated than that.

Henry said...

How expensive is satellite internet service in rural oklahoma?

Unknown said...

"How expensive is satellite internet service in rural oklahoma?"

For some, a $1 is too much. Not because they don't have the $1, but because they judge the service to be without even a dollar's worth of value. Which is what most people mean when they say something is too expensive.

Cool story. My daughter is about her age, so the story of her being stuck was very interesting to me at the time. Had totally forgotten about her and the incident. It is refreshing that she's just gone about her business of building a family and a life.

-sw

Curious George said...

"Henry said...
How expensive is satellite internet service in rural oklahoma?"

Same as everywhere else I expect. It's a satellite.

Henry said...

That's what I figured.

Curious George said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD-zd1YEa9E

She got over $1.2 million donated to her by people "all of the world" but apparently pissed it away in bad investments.

Sal said...

That's what Hillary's deplorables look like. They probably own a gun.

Michael K said...

She got over $1.2 million donated to her by people "all of the world" but apparently pissed it away in bad investments.

Like George Raft who said, "I spent most of my money on the horses, booze and women. The rest I wasted."

Trumpit said...

"That's a great picture. How bizarre to think that that family wouldn't exist if her rescue had been unsuccessful."

Why do you think it is bizarre? In my religion, life stops when you die.

If you oppose senseless and needless death, then you should oppose hunting and trapping of wildlife. You probably don't think about the millions of animals that were shot to death by human hunters for fun and games. "Baby Jessica" probably doesn't think her existence is "bizarre."

Etienne said...

If you've ever had satellite service, it sucks. There's a delay due to the satellite being 27,000 miles away. Even for the speed of light, this is a long way.

Most people get metered cell phone data. When I had my farm, Sprint had a good deal at $60 a month for unlimited 5 MBps data. Then the unlimited was redefined to unlimited up to xx megabytes, and then you were throttled.

It was nice, but when it turned on the throttle, it was worthless. $60 for worthless.

Fuck em, I went to the library 3 miles away and used the free government Internet.

Ralph L said...

I was thinking about her yesterday and couldn't remember her name.

Trumpit said...

@Michael K: "I spent most of my money on the horses, booze and women. The rest I wasted."

Yeah, you no doubt still spend your Social Security check on your drug habit, and junk food from your girth. Unfortunately, you can still type because your mouth is stuffed with French fries.

Teller said...

Until the soccer team, my favorite underground rescue was at Quecreek in Pennsylvania. Coal miners in a flooding mine. Air giving out. Up top, Bob Long looks at a mine map and dead-reckons where trapped men might go to escape rising water. He picks a spot on the ground to sink an air pipe. Drills the pipe and after a while they hear tap-tap-tap. Yahtzee.

Seeing Red said...

She got over $1.2 million donated to her by people "all of the world" but apparently pissed it away in bad investments.


Sharks are everywhere and learning life skills like stock market investing isn’t mandatory in schools. I had it.

But I also had my parents and their modest means.

My mother-in-law didn’t even know why at the time I suggested a money market to keep the money in.
My great aunt had a zero% earning checking account.

But they also lived or were born during The Depression. My friends MIL would only pay cash or cashiers check. She didn’t trust banks.

So I’m not going to judge because Econ illiteracy abounds.

Michael K said...

trumpit still crazy after all those years.

Kevin said...

I agree with those above who say she looks old as hell for 32. If I just saw that photo without the story I would have guessed mid-50s.

Etienne said...

...apparently pissed it away in bad investments.

All investments are risky. I get $100 a month interest from my savings account, which is more than I get from my Stocks. No risk there, unless the Federal Reserve calls in its loans.

Still though, if she put her money in an Index Fund, there would be no way she'd ever go broke. Even when the market crashed my Vanguard Index funds were making money.

People get greedy though, and invest in things they know nothing about.

Webgrandma said...

We also have really slow Internet out in the country (we like to say that you could throw your data down the road with a rock faster than our DSL connection), and we don't subscribe to the expensive cable TV either (would cost somewhere around $10,000 to bring out wire). That said, I can keep up pretty well with the news, so I'd guess they've made the choice to stay out of touch a bit. Nothing wrong with that, and for someone raised in the glare of the attention she must have gotten, I'd guess it's a pretty rational choice.

I would note that our rural electric coop is stringing gigabit Internet now and bringing fast Internet to the hungry rural folks in our county soon.

Bill said...

I think she looks great - like a Texas woman who spends a lot of time outdoors. And I like that they're taking the kids to a military museum.

Seeing Red said...

My SIL received a settlement but she never asked our opinion. We don’t know much, but we did know more than her at the time and she got sharked.

I’ve said this before. After the 2008 collapse Money Magazine had on their cover these poor poor people sob story who lost their home because they didn’t read or understand their mortgage documents. They thought they had around a 1-1/2% 30-year mortgage. If they had talked to people with any experience of paying mortgages like my parents or someone of that generation that person might have told them you’d better read the fine print those don’t happen for 30 years . Too good to be true.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Mrs. Morales, not the feminist derivative "Ms".

narayanan said...

So is she Okie or White/White Hispanic or just plain Deplorable?

asking for Democrat.

gspencer said...

"I love seeing somebody who does the opposite of trying to stay famous."

Trump people. Timmy O'Toole too.

Michael K said...

People get greedy though, and invest in things they know nothing about.

Most of them are doctors.

narayanan said...

So OK is less than 3rd world countries in Africa - who have 5G??!!

Jill P McMahon said...

I used to call my cave pack Jessica. It was about 8" in diameter and was always getting stuck in crevices.

Quaestor said...

Ms. Morales, of course, doesn’t remember anything about her own fall and rescue.

Given that obvious fact, one wonders why the reporter sought Jessica's opinion on the Thai cave rescue in the first place. It was to be expected, I suppose. After all, journalism is one of those majors that attract people who can't do the math.

Quaestor said...

Kathy Fiscus was an even more famous case...

Seth Green's career got launched by his starring role in Woody Allen's Radio Days. In the film, young Woody's eccentric crew of parents and relations are silenced and stilled by the non-stop radio coverage of a fictionalized baby trapped underground story evidently based on the Fiscus tragedy. Their grief at the news of the child's death is presented as genuine and profound, which is in stark contrast to their every-day petty obsessions.

Leland said...

So OK is less than 3rd world countries in Africa - who have 5G??!!

3rd world countries don't enact net neutrality laws.

Etienne said...

It's amazing how much the quality of life improves when you shed media.

Media today is all about advertising revenue. The media presenters are people you would never buy an used car from.

I support her being unplugged. Good for her.

LincolnTf said...

Just read a sort of trollish article on The Federalist about the Thai rescue, though I suppose the same theory applies to all the other trapped-then-rescued stories. Probably not worth linking to, but the gist was that if the pussy hat brigades had their way, and men were de-masculinized to the point of irrelevance, all of those kids would have died. No Women's Studies major or Mom-jeans-wearing community organizer was going to get them out, that's for sure.

Rabel said...

Odd. The photo the Times used is from a 2 year old photoshoot for People magazine. The Times interview was over the phone. They credit the photographer but don't date the photo.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alan markus said...


Michael K said...

trumpit still crazy after all those years

Awhile ago I had posted information about "crazy horse women". I think it had to do with someone in Trumpit's family (sister?) losing her horse ranch to foreclosure because of President Bush, and then a conspiracy between this sister & their mother's doctor that caused the mother (who was a college professor) to die prematurely (or maybe she was killed by the treatment).

I got the vibe that Trumpit and the "crazy horse lady" sister are the same person. As I recall, Trumpit never responded to my questions about that. Perhaps next time you correspond with Trumpit, you could ask if she and her "crazy horse lady" sister are one and the same.

buwaya said...

Hmm.

Trumpit is now half-Haitian.

This doesn't jibe with horse ranches or college professors.
There is an inconsistent personal story.
Granted the eccentricity of this entity, but consistency is achievable even by the insane.

robother said...

The trouble with getting $1.2 million from falling down a well is it goes as easy as falling down a well. She was only 18 months old, so I imagine her parents got a lot of good investment advice, with the publicity and all. If she was lucky she ended up with enough to buy the ranch she and her husband are now working.

FWBuff said...

I hope that, in 30 years, a reporter will track down the 12 Thai boys and discover that they've moved on with normal lives and happy families, as Jessica McClure Morales seems to have done. That would be the greatest blessing from their rescue.

prairie wind said...

“I lived it, but I didn’t watch it.”

If only people who watch things on TV and social media didn't confuse that with living it.

Rick Turley said...

Michael K. -

Tug McGraw had a similar philosophy about his salary:

"Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I'll probably waste."

Bob R said...

Picture would have been perfect if they had a Simpsons Season 3 DVD in the background.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Molly said...

I love "Unknown"'s comment. Why are we always looking for some reason to spread hate? Jessica came out of her early life turmoil with a nice family, and maybe she didn't act the way you would have acted. But let's remember how we felt when baby jessica was rescued, and let's remember how we feel this week about the rescue of the Thai boys. And let's try to rely more on that feeling in dealing with all of the hateful things of today.

Bad Lieutenant said...

No Women's Studies major or Mom-jeans-wearing community organizer was going to get them out, that's for sure.

For sure no retired law professor chick was going to do anything but snark and word-associate about it.

wildswan said...

How strange it would be to have huge event in your life which makes almost everyone say - "Oh, yes, I know who you are" and then they look at you to see what happened afterward but you remember nothing about it.

I read an interesting story about a survivor of the Titanic, a Finnish-speaking girl of 18. She did not really understand why people were going up on deck as the ship was being evacuated and so, as her group of relations passed the band which was still playing, she stopped to listen because she loved music. The people on that level at that place got her onto a boat while all her relatives who went up higher died. When she landed, alone and speaking no English, a Finnish group in Ohio offered to take care of her. She went out there on a train and met a handsome young man at her welcoming party (which had music and dancing) and married him. They had children and she lived long after - so long that she was one of the few remaining survivors. However interviews showed that she had no real memories of the sinking of the Titanic except enjoying the music of the band. She also liked the train ride and her husband. So many people are on their own personal trajectory or return to it, even when they've been caught up in public events.

0_0 said...

Michael K, you are conflating a quote from George Raft with one from George Best.

Michael K said...

Perhaps next time you correspond with Trumpit, you could ask if she and her "crazy horse lady" sister are one and the same.

You have a better opinion of the strength of my stomach than I have.

I must have gone through $10 million during my career. Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses and part for women. The rest I spent foolishly.

From IMDB bio of George Raft.

ALP said...

I finally had to click on the photo after many posters made comments on the woman's appearance and how old she lookked. IMHO, that is the face of a woman who has spent a lifetime outside in the sun and wind. Whenever I travel to the southwest of the US or SoCal, I am struck by how old everyone looks due to the extra sun exposure. Very little of that here in the Pacific NW.

0_0 said...

Michael K:
George Best: "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." (Wikiquote)

George Raft: "Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses, and part for women. The rest I spent foolishly." (Wikiquote, IMDB)

Raft per your first post: "I spent most of my money on the horses, booze and women. The rest I wasted."

Raft per your responding post: "Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses and part for women. The rest I spent foolishly." (IMDB)

At least you know you were wrong, although your response is trying to be shady (you were wrong the first time; you changed your quote the 2nd time but are trying to play it off like that is what you wrote in the first place). That's a Hillary level trick, right there.

Michael K said...

"At least you know you were wrong, "

What in the world are you doing ? Looking like Ritmo ?

Michael K said...

There seems to be a new troll.

Trumpit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trumpit said...

"There seems to be a new troll."
Better a new troll than the same tired old troll with a photo that scares children to death.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Michael K. wrote:
"People get greedy though, and invest in things they know nothing about.
. . .
Most of them are doctors."
Anecdotally true. I knew a woman in Kona who rented a house from an opthamologist. Every three months or so she had a crisis when her landlord raised the rent or told her that he was selling the place and she had to move. He was competent as an opthamologist -- I'd seen him a few times, for a staph infection in the eye, once -- but crazy about his investments. He seemed to believe that being educated as an eye doctor made him able to pick an investment that would return 10% every. Single. Year.

Mark Daniels said...

"I love seeing somebody who does the opposite of trying to stay famous."

I do too. In fact, I love seeing somebody who does the opposite of trying to be famous.

I think it would be cool if musicians, actors, writers, and others just put their work out there without any publicity, tours, or their names associated with them. And I'd love it if people who, suddenly, like "Baby Jessica," became famous would ease back into normal life.

Some folks would interpret that as being "reclusive," a slam commonly leveled at people like J.D. Salinger and Harper Lee, even though they conducted daily interactions with family, friends, and townspeople every day.