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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Orphans Without Borders

     When I was a kid we moved around so much that, in my mind, security became an issue. I was never sure if we would be in the same place, from one week to the next. That's not to say that security was lacking. Rather, it was jus' one child's perspective. I remember thinking, more than once, that if I wanted a friend in my new school, then I'd best speak up 'cause if I din't I may not get another chance. In fact, I did attend one school for exactly four days; a very memorable four days, in point of fact. But that's somethin' to be shared at another time.
     As the only girl in a family with lotsa' boys, I always hoped there would be a girl my age in whichever area we were moving to. Strangely, girls my age or any other age seemed to be scarce, no matter where we lived. 'Course, that left me with only two choices; play alone or be a tomboy. If you've ever met me, I'm sure you won't hafta' ask which I chose. I've never been one to miss an opportunity to climb a tree, whether alone or with others.
     Unfortunately, bein' the new kid also meant that I was met with my share of resistance from those who were a'ready established, so to speak. Naturally, I found new an' interesting methods to smooth the transition. I recall once in the fourth grade I actually carried a picture of myself around an' told other students that it was a picture of my twin who lived with an aunt. Curiously, that little stretch of the imagination was accepted without the least hesitation. Evidently, blacking out one tooth an' one eye being blackened in the picture was enough to make me look like my mini-me. Go figure.
     I'm not sure if that incident was what sparked my curiosity about orphans, but I do find that my interest in a story is heightened when I learn that orphans are involved. Even more so, when the account is true. As a result, I have read extensively about orphans, orphanages an' children who rode Orphan Trains. I jus' never tire of reading 'bout children who reign triumphant over the most devastating of circumstances.
     One 'uh my favorite stories from someone who actually was a rider on an Orphan Train tells about a small boy. He an' his companions were told that they would line-up on the platform an' families would choose which children they wanted to take home with 'em. Apparently, the orders were a little less than clear. The children did, in fact, line-up. Then, the word was given that families could step forward an' speak with the children. When the go-ahead was given, this little boy leaped from the platform an' headed straight to a farmer who happened to be there jus' for curiosity's sake. It had never occurred to the farmer that he might be goin' home that day with a small child. However, the little guy wrapped his tiny arms around the farmer's leg an' declared, "I choose you!"
     That farmer later shared how surprised an' honored he felt that he had been chosen. He further shared his efforts at teaching the boy a bit of responsibility. Upon telling the child that a certain cow was his, to look after an' care for, the child promptly insisted upon bein' lifted up to ride the animal. From that day on an' for many more to come, wherever the farmer went, the child - - - an' the cow, tagged along, with the boy riding high on 'His' pet.
     I think about the many circumstances that bring us to where we are an' can't help but wonder how some people ever survive. It makes me wanna' do the very best I can at whatever I do, since mine has been a life filled with opportunities an' blessings. I would feel nuthin' less than ashamed if I did not use the many good experiences in my life to achieve all that I could. Knowing how others have suffered an' struggled, I can only hope that I never take my good life for granted, but always feel grateful for what I have.
     May life bring you all the good that can be had an' all the love to enjoy it.
     Until the next time, keep a hug on.
 ~ Yaya


Sara said...

It's amazing how much of where we are has to do with our luck of being born into loving families who insisted that we work hard.

Holly G said...

What a beautiful message to share. I could not agree more!

Laurie said...

Lovely post, Yaya. I grew up as the "local" kid in a town full of Air Force brats. I remember begging my parents to move somewhere, ANYWHERE, so that I could be the "new" kid in school.

And I've always been interested in the orphan trains. I suspect my great-grandmother may have been part of that, but have never been able to find any information on her.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Yaya, what a lovely blog site and posts. By the way, I love your stove. I guess I prefer cooking on my more modern range and ovens, but I love the atmosphere of yours. Reminds me of one my grandmother had when I was very small and she lived on a farm.

Like you, my family moved a lot. Being the new kid is rough. Plus I hated my given name and would sometimes tell kids my "real" name was Mary Jane.

I'm interested in the orphan trains, and in fact in anything concerning American history, especially from the 1800's forward.

Thanks for a great post.

Yaya' s Home said...

That's true, Sara. We could have jus' as easily been born into poverty or abuse. We can truly count ourselves fortunate to be blessed with love an' prosperity.

Thank you, Holly Ann. I jus' love the stories of the Orphan Train Riders. What amazes me is how many of 'em rose above the struggles they faced to become upstanding citizens an' good parents, themselves.

Laurie, that's so funny. I woulda' been thrilled to be able to stay anywhere an' NOT be the new kid, for a change. I hope you are able to find out somethin' 'bout your great-gramma's past an' write about it for your children.

I think you have a lovely name, Caroline. I do unnerstan' 'bout not liking your own name, though. I always hated mine. When my grandies started callin' me Yaya an' then neighbors picked up on it, I was thrilled. It actually means Gramma' in Greek, but it feels more MINE than my own name ever did.
I do truly love that stove. I may hafta' create a diversion, if I ever move away from here. You think they'd notice if it wasn't still here? LOL

~ Yaya

Anonymous said...
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walk2write said...

Well, that last comment is a tough act to follow:) Anyway, Yaya, you're the first South Dakotan blogger I've met. I admire you Plains dwellers. It takes fortitude and strength of character to stay there.

When I was about five or six years old, one of my brothers claimed (when my parents weren't nearby to hear him) that I had been orphaned and was adopted. It was something I believed for quite a while. For some reason, though, the notion didn't have quite the effect on me that he wanted. It made me feel kinda special so that probably made him even more mad. I took his place as the baby of the family. To this day, we still don't have a good relationship.

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