Orphan Train Rider

Orphan Train Rider
Oliver Nordmark - Age 15 - Esbon KS

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Home Sweet Home!

Well, here we are on Sunday, May 2nd and I have returned safely home! What an outstanding two week adventure. I have SO MANY people to thank for the success of this book tour - I hope I don't leave anyone out - if I do, raise your hand!

First and foremost, I MUST thank Sara Gault of Shilling Elementary School in Salina Kansas. Sara, nearly single handedly, orchestrated this entire trip leaving no stone unturned. She handled the scheduling of school and community visits, publicity, and the acquisition of funding from the Salina Arts and Humanities Commission. Once I arrived in Kansas, Sara made sure that I felt welcome right from the start, introducing me to other teachers and principals in the school district and including me in the daily 4:15 pm "coffee clutch" at the mall! Coffee at 4:15....I don't know Sara, this may be the reason you don't sleep much at night-lol! Sara also made sure I wouldn't get lost while going from school to school by generously driving me around every evening showing me how to get to the next day's schools. We enjoyed some wonderful meals with Tina, Jean, Kathy and Kathleen and a special night out with Sara's family Molly, Ben, Carter and Gage - adorable little boys with excellent restaurant manners :) SARA, you are an amazing woman and I am blessed to be able to call you my friend. I truly hope that when you travel EAST in May, you give me a call and if you are anywhere near me, I will come to see you!

I, of course, want to thank the Salina Arts & Humanities Commission for funding this book tour, with a special thank you to Sharon Benson who, although drowning in preparations for a huge festival coming to Salina in June, found time in her busy schedule to come to my first presentation to enjoy my talk as well as check to see that I had everything I needed....which of course I did. The accommodations were excellent - I couldn't have asked for a more comfortable place to call "home" for two weeks.

Tons of "Thank yous" to the hundreds of students and residents of Salina Kansas who welcomed me so enthusiastically to their schools and organizations! You made me feel so welcome and I so enjoyed speaking with and meeting you. Your questions were always so thoughtful and I am thrilled to have been able to reach so many of you with the story of the Orphan Train Riders. Remember your homework assignment????? Have you found ONE person yet who doesn't know about the orphan trains and taught them everything you learned?? Remember.....250,000 riders are counting on you! (no pressure there, right?)

Muriel Anderson of the Orphan Train Complex in Concordia Kansas did a wonderful job in organizing my book signing at the museum as well as the luncheon at the Huckleberry Tea Room. And I will never forget the kindness shown me by Virginia Alexander who I had met in Kansas back in 2006 and who traveled to the museum to see me again and catch up on everything that has happened in the last four years! You made my day, Virginia!

To two of the BEST FRIENDS a girl could ask for - Donna Brown and Karen Williams - you guys are so special to me! When I would tell people what you were willing to do for me (drive out to KS, then fly back......then fly out to KS and drive back) they always looked at me in amazement and commented along the lines of, "Wow, they are good friends!" I SO enjoyed my time with both of you - I haven't laughed so hard since.....I don't know when! I will be calling you both to set up a time when the three of us can get together and laugh all over again!

A big THANK YOU to my family, Bob, Carlo, James & Estella, who agreed to "let me go" for two weeks and keep things going here at home without me. I know it wasn't easy but I hope you know how much I appreciated it! Thank you MOM & DAD who, although you couldn't come to Kansas with me as originally planned, were with me in spirit - and on the phone - throughout the entire trip. I felt your love and support during every presentation and missed not having you there. And mom....I can't thank you enough for doing all the laundry here at home while I was gone - what a priceless gift!!

Thank you to those who cooked for my family in my absence - Mary, Donna and Mom - thanks to you, no one starved!

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank EVERYONE who followed along with this blog, as well as my Facebook postings, during my book tour. Your blog comments, facebook posts and welcome phone calls kept me company, and made me feel like I wasn't alone on this adventure!

Okay.......... Did I miss anyone? Raise your hand....or post a comment to let me know!

I am posting some pictures that didn't make it onto the daily blog posts - some here on today's post, and the rest tomorrow. Then I'll be taking a few days off from blogging to get things back in order here at home before resuming my posts on the orphan train movement and individual rider stories. I hope you'll continue to follow along :)

Until next time.........


Karen said...

It was a great honor to travel with you after your tour. To catch up on so many things and to laugh, laugh, laugh........
You are very special...........I know that your Mom and Dad are very proud to have you as a daughter.
Your grandfather is looking down from Heaven, hugging you and thanking you, for telling his story and saying, when the time comes........... "She's with me"

Love you,


Donna said...

Karen....not only can you still make me laugh after 30 years...you can still make me cry too.

Love Donna