Friday, April 29, 2011

The Orphanage, Memory Lane Friday

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival, where you can blog about your memories and link up.  All are welcome.  This week has no theme.

This week, the memories I'll be blogging about are not my own.  They are verbatim from my grandfather's memoirs and from the records I received recently from when he went into a Baptist orphanage, following the deaths of his parents to the Spanish influenza.  The best stories in his memoirs are his stories from the farm, but for today's purposes I'm focusing on his time at the orphanage.  Henry Taylor Leonard was a tender 12 years old at the time, 1923, and he brought with him 1 suit, 1 cup, 1 union suit, 1 under shirt, 4 shirts, 1 pair of hose, and 1 pair of shoes.  This is his admittance picture from the orphanage, a time that must have been so terrifying for him:


I was only 12 years old, when we as a family of seven departed our separate ways, and from our much loved home in Elk Garden, Virginia, and moved out into another part of the world, which seemed so sad and oh, so lonesome.  Five of us, Myrtle, Alex, Kathleen, Kent, and myself were sent to the Baptist Home in Salem, Virginia.  The other two, Drucilla and Jimmy, were destined to live with relatives. 

I did not see either Drucilla or Jimmy until many years later, but I did see my brothers and sisters at the home on special occasions while at Salem.  Alex and I became very close, although we were all in separate cottages or dorms.  He and I would meet down on the athletic field, or we both attended chapel services.  Yet we could not sit together, because children from various cottages had a special section in which they were seated. 

Jimmy and I had raised several ducks during our last year on the farm.  They were still there when I departed for Salem.  Later, Jimmy sold the ducks and sent me half of the money.  I cried and cried, Jimmy was so thoughtful.

I have many regrets that our youngest brother Kent was not older when we were on the farm.  He is indeed a wonderful person.  So full of life, and does not seem to have a care in the world.  It would have been lots of fun having him travel, with us from day to day.  Yet we have been separated through most of our life span.  However, these things are to be expected, not only in our family, but in others as well.

Can you imagine losing your parents, and then being sent to an orphanage - where - you catch a glimpse now and then of your siblings but rarely say a passing word?  So tragic.  My grandfather had many adventures in his life, and prospered in spite of his trials.  Perhaps I will include some of his humorous farm stories at a future date.  He and his brother had a nose for trouble!

Want to participate in Memory Lane Friday?  Simply link your website below.  Please take the time to go visit others' blogs and leave a comment.
Come back next week, the topic is 4th Grade.

20 comments:

Sonya Heilmann said...

Wow, that must have been so hard for him . . . and his siblings, too!

I look forward to reading your future posts about his adventures with his brother. Those kinds of stories are the best.

Steve Surratt said...

I worked at the Baptist Home for a while. Every child had a story on their arrival, never a happy one. But for many, their departure was good. The Home paid fully for college. Your grandfather sounds like a very interesting character with many stories to tell.

Nancy said...

How heartbreaking, Lisa. But I imagine this experience made your grandfather a strong and independent man.

Love this post. I'm a huge history nut and enjoy reading about this time in history. :)

texwisgirl said...

I can't imagine being within view of each other but kept so separate. A different world...

Chatty Crone said...

I am so shocked - pleasantly - that he had so much information about his situation and a picture. Some times like the one my grandfather was in had no information.

It had to be a hard time in those days - but I have a feeling - knowing you - that he turned out to be a wonderful man.

sandie

Jo said...

So very interesting,I really enjoyed reading,am looking forward to the future post.Thank you for sharing this story about your GF.
~JO
LazyonLoblolly

Trisha said...

I can not imagine how hard that must have been. So sad. But it sounds like he made it threw even stronger because of it :)

Ginny said...

What a story! I would enjoy hearing some of his other stories. The look of sadness in his eyes should not be there for a boy so young.

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

i think the times back then were very difficult to endure. what a great post lisa!

Valerie said...

He looks so young, and so scared. What a horrible tragedy to fall on a family.
My Uncle Pete lost his mother and infant sister in that same epidemic.

laughwithusblog said...

Oh this is so interesting and so sad. I can't imagine! Thank you for sharing his story. I would love to read about his humorous farm stories!

I got my package btw!!!! Thank you so much! It was so fun to get something in the mail and the kids will soooo enjoy the extras!

No. 7 said...

How heartbreaking. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be so close to family, but so removed by the rules of the orphanage. Thank you for sharing his story :).

Ricardo Miñana said...

Un placer pasar por tu blog, si te
gusta la poesía te invito al mio,
que tengas un feliz fin de semana.
saludos.

Homeschool on the Croft said...

This is fascinating. Sad, but fascinating. I can't wait to read more about him - he must have been extraordinary to have come through such heartache - these kind of trials make or break a person...

Misty said...

oh wow... I'm so glad you took the time to share this...

Kim said...

What a story Lisa! I love the details here and I think it's so important to share this kind of history - famous people aren't the only ones who deserve to be honoured!

Tiggeriffic said...

I feel bad for your grandfather ~ being separated from family would be so hard. Thanks for sharing his story.. I love to hear the old time stories.
Have a Tiggeriffic Day~! ta ta for now from Iowa:)

tipper said...

I enjoyed reading his memories-and no I cannot imagine what his situation would have been like. Sounds like he made it though : )

Myya said...

How awesome that you have access to those memories! It is amazing to me how people can live so much pain & yet move forward & build strong successful lives (which obviously he did because you are a decendent). LOVE history like this, so cool!

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

Very sad. But wonderful that your grandfather has taken the time to write all these stories down for future generations. Thank you for sharing such personal information with all of us, it was a very interesting story.