Yesterday, Donna Aviles was back with us and shared more about her family and the many experiences that developed as a result of her grampa's trip on an Orphan Train. I have tried to imagine what it must have been like for so many children to be separated from everything they knew and be dropped down among strangers. There simply is no way I can draw a proper image of how difficult it must have been for those children, even in the best of circumstances.
Of course Oliver, Donna's granddad, and her Uncle Edward fell far-shy of the best circumstances and it affected them in every aspect for the rest of their lives.
After Donna left, yesterday, I thought of more questions I wanted answers to and she was kind enough to allow me some extended time for answers. In fact, she has been most helpful and encouraging since I met her. Below are her responses. You'll want to read to the end because there is a surprise at the end of this post and I truly hope you will join in for some fun.
Here, then, are the things I still wanted to know and Donna's very informative replies. Don't forget to read yesterday's interview to learn quite a bit more about Donna's family and the Orphan Train experience. Now, let's begin.
Yaya: Donna, this is the most intriguing title from any of the three books. PEANUT BUTTER FOR CUPCAKES. Could you please tell us how you came up with this and was this something that popped into your mind, long after you began writing. Or, did the name of the book come first?
Donna: The "working title" was OLIVER'S CHILDREN. The idea for the title, PEANUT BUTTER FOR CUPCAKES, came to me after I wrote about the time Benny was in school and for lunch he brought his usual, peanut butter on bread. It was all he ever brought. Another student - one of wealthier means - opened up his lunch bag and brought out 2 cupcakes with green icing. Benny tried and tried to convince the boy to trade a cupcake...or even part of a cupcake... for his "delicious, creamy peanut butter" but to no avail. He told himself that someday, he'd have all the cupcakes he wanted. (and as my father, I know that he still has an insatiable sweet tooth to this day and he just turned 81!) So the title refers to that story. But in fact, it has a second meaning as well. Oliver's children lived what could be categorized as a "peanut butter" sort of life. But in the end, they all found the sweetness of "cupcakes" through hard work and love of family.
Yaya: Do you have any of the items that were owned by Oliver from his childhood or any of his children's articles from their childhood?
Donna: Yes, we have his tiny, pocket size book of Bible verses and prayers that he carried with him on the train. He carried it with him even as an adult. We also have his favorite belt buckle.
Yaya: I don't know if Donna will be able to stop in, but if you're listening, Donna, this has truly been a wonderful time of learning for me. As much as I thought I knew about the Orphan Trains, my education has been increased so much by visiting your blog and your website and having you here to share your story. I am anxious to have you back here soon to talk to us about your last book, some more. I feel that there is so much more to discuss. You have certainly enlightened me on many aspects of what the children went through during that forgotten period in American history. I am, in fact, in the process of reading your books again. I'm sure that anyone who reads them will learn a great deal and enjoy the trip, in the process.
Now, my friends, I promised you a surprise. You see, I so believe in Donna's books and in the work she is doing in spreading the word about seventy-five years of forgotten history that I want to help her in her efforts by having a giveaway.
So, here's what I've come up with. Donna is a new blogger and I remember how difficult it was when I was starting out. The most mysterious part of blogging, for me, was the elusive Follower. Donna has no idea that I am posting this message on my blog, but I really want to help her out.
These books are amazing. I think everyone should have a chance to read them. Now, I can't quite afford to get the whole set and give away, but I will buy Donna's third book, PEANUT BUTTER FOR CUPCAKES and give it away to the winner of this next contest.
All you have to do is follow Donna's blog and get one other person to follow her blog (and if you aren't yet a follower on mine, it would sure make me feel good if you followed me, as well). I don't want to go into a lot of elaborate rules for entering.
1) All I'm asking is for you to follow this blog.
2) Follow Donna's blog and
3) get one more person to follow Donna's blog
and you will be entered to win her book, PEANUT BUTTER FOR CUPCAKES.
Drawing ends on Tax Day.
Please tell me in a comment on This Post that you have met these three requirements because I'm kinda' lazy not able to find everyone in posts all over the place. Whoever wins this book is in for some exciting reading, so please tell your friends. And you might enjoy checking out Donna's website, too.
I look forward to reading all your comments. Now, hurry out and follow Donna's blog and get one friend to follow her, as well. You'll be glad you did. Until the next time, keep a hug on.