Orphan Train Rider

Orphan Train Rider
Oliver Nordmark - Age 15 - Esbon KS

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

DAY #14 - All good things must come to an end...

Today I had my last 2 school presentations here in Kansas. It's been a really exciting time and there have been so many wonderful people to meet and share the stories of the orphan trains with. I'm a little sad to see it come to an end.... I'll have great pictures and new friends to reminisce with, and the satisfying knowledge that through my efforts....as well as the work of so many other people....just maybe the history of America's Orphan Train Riders will not be lost to future generations. Did you know that it is estimated that one out of every 25 Americans is somehow connected to an orphan train rider? With the last train running in 1929, the youngest surviving rider is now 81 so of the 250,000+ children who rode the trains over a period of 75 years, there are fewer than 200 left to tell the tale. Maybe you'll tell one person.......

Today's schools and kids were just what I needed to end this adventure on a HIGH NOTE! These pictures are from Solomon Elementary School about 15 miles east of Salina. The little boy pictured with me at the table is Cameron - he is the grandson of Jean (one of the teachers who has worked so hard to make this trip a reality). What a nice young man! The group shot is with Mrs. Kirby's 4th grade students and the picture of me talking to the little girl is during my demonstration of choosing a child from the orphan train. I'm asking her if she knows how to clean chicken coops and collect eggs. "Oh yes," she answered me. Of course if she were from an orphanage in NYC she wouldn't know much about farm life, if anything, but orphan train children were in search of homes and families so they were apt to say anything in order to be chosen!

After a book signing and pictures, I continued on to St. Mary's Grade School back in Salina where I talked with 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Lots of great kids, questions and participation! My funniest comment came from John, a boy who, when I showed the slide of a sodhouse on the prairie, raised his hand to identify it as "a mobile home?" Hmmm... maybe one covered in mud John??

Many, many thanks to all the schools, students, teachers and community members who have made this book tour an absolute success! I am so appreciative and I know that when I remember my time here in central Kansas it will be with a happy heart and a smile on my face!

A day of preparation tomorrow for the journey home.......

1 comment:

Yaya' s Home said...

Well, ya' know, Donna... those mobile homes do get a workout in a high wind and rain.

Yes, I imagine that little girl does know how to take care of chickens. On the other hand, it seems logical that the Orphan Train kids would've said whatever it took to get a home.

Safe trip, Donna.


~ Yaya
Yaya's Home