Orphan Survival Stories Index |
I suppose we all have memories of our youth. The time we went swimming with our friends, and screaming as we slid down the water-slide at the top of our voices. Our first time on water-skis at the lake and feeling the cool wind on our face. The time we went to see a scary movie, and when it was over we laughed and tried to convince our friends that we were not really scared. Will we ever forget that first tender kiss in the back seat of a car? Oh, how grown up we felt. Let us not forget the high school football games and all the pep rallies. We screamed and yelled with our friends, what fun times they were. How great it was to ride down the sidewalk in the evening on a bicycle, and meet up with friends on their bicycles.
Well, I never did any of those things, not one single one of them. My life in the orphanage was cleaning pots and pans, scrubbing toilets, sinks, and waxing tile floors. My weekends were spent raking pine straw and leaves. From the age of five until I was fourteen, that was all I did.
As I look back, I do not miss any of the things most of you experienced. What I do miss, is never having had the opportunity to open a refrigerator door and make a sandwich when I was hungry. I miss never having had a cold glass of milk with my food. I miss never having owned a shirt and a pair of pants that belonged to me. I miss never having had a picture to hang on my bedroom wall.
Many tend to think that I am unhappy. Oh, how wrong they are about me. Hanging on the walls of my home are about fifty 8X10 family pictures. My refrigerator has three doors, and there is ice-cold milk for everyone. My pantry has more than 800 cans of meat, fruit, and vegetables. My closet is full of clothes and shoes.
Would my life have been different if I had the memories of others? With wonderful memories inside my head, would I still have gone to the reform school, jail, and then on to prison?
Exactly what did having none of those memories teach me? It taught me that I was lucky to have survived, and I should appreciate what is important in life. Tonight I will stand out on my front screened-in porch with a glass of cold milk in hand, and I will give myself a toast. Not because of what I became, but because of what I did not become.