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!
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Come back next week, the topic is 4th Grade.