The 4:25 p.m. Pacific Northwest....

departing Chicago....heading west..come ride with us

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hearing the whistle, answering the call.....

as humans we each hear what we hear. You cannot assume that each person hears what you hear. We seem to have, or to develop, a system. Using that system we hear what we want, need or choose to hear. A song that moves your soul, might not even register in my ears or brain. Perhaps the story of the Orphan Trains that carried those 350,000 orphan and abandoned children to new homes has a special appeal because I'm an adoptive parent. Or perhaps it's because, from early childhood, I'm a 'train' person. I think you either 'are' or you aren't. I grew up in a town with 3 active railroads within walking distance of my home. On a bicycle you could get there even faster. I grew up with steam engines. Railroads were a popular and inexpensive way to travel around the state and nation. My father came and went deer hunting with his brothers, in northen WI, on the Soo Line Railroad. If he got a buck, the deer rode home in the box car. I stood, on a gray day, and waved to the British royal, Edward and his new wife. He gave up the throne for love, who knew? I stood on the back porch of my house, and watched and listened as the last steam engine chugged and tooted its way out of Chippewa Falls,WI. Directly behind it came the sleek, shiny new "400", the beginning of a new era in travel. Speed, with no coal or black smoke. The bell ringing out from that last steam engine, was a lonely sound to me. I love trains, I hear the whistle, long, low and lonesome as it passes in the night.I love the clackity-clack of the rails on the tracks. I even liked the black smoke billowing against the sky. Trains were always going somewhere mysterious and wonderful to my child's mind.I've been either a very bad or a very busy Engineer on the Orphan Train. Time for me to re-new my dedication to Orphan Block quilts. Time to get to work and shove some coal into that hopper. This beginnings has waited long enough.
This darling baby is my newest grandson, born February 20th in MN. He's giving his mommy a bit of a rough time these days, you know, eating and sleeping issues? Ya. He's not an orphan, and he is many times blessed that he will live and love with the family of his birth. His Auntie, who holds him in the picture was an orphan, s was his mommy. It's not a word we use much anymore, particularily in the USA. Orphans seem to be those children in Romania, or India, or especially the AIDS affected children in Africa. We have orphans as a result of 9/11, and many other disasters, but we also have a system now, to meet their needs and do the best we can for them. We tend not to think of them as orphans.
How easy it seems to be to forget what has gone before. We blanch while thinking of the nearly 4,000 lives lost on 9/11 or the thousdands of our sons and daughters dying in Iraq. The numbers are staggering, I know. But just for a moment, think about 350,000 children whose lives were changed forever, and not particularily because of the Orphan Trains, but because of the need for them. It wasn't a pretty solution, nor a wonderful one, but it beat the heck out of the alternative for those young ones. Think about alternatives, hear the whistle that sounds for you.

4 comments:

Patti said...

As the grandmother of a very long awaited and finally arrived little guy - orphan because his mother gave him up for a better life than she could give him - the idea of "orphans" is near to my heart. So many of thousands of babies in this modern world that still need a loving home. I hate the fact that adoption has become such a lengthy, expensive option. And my heart cries for all the orphans of the world who lack for loving homes because the complicated government process to place them takes years and years if the parents can't be found so they can "legally" say they don't want them.

Carol E. said...

Your grandson is so precious! I like your quilt beginning, too. You as engineer should know there is no time limit on these quilts, silly! Make it when you can and when you are inspired. Lately my orphan blocks have not spoken to me, so I'm letting them percolate.

Katie said...

I'm so glad you heard the whistles blowing in your childhood and share them and what all the sounds mean for you. That number of children is staggering to think about but thank goodness there were some caring people who did what they could. I will think about alternates and about what the whistle means for me. Thanks for the suggestion. "S"

Vaughanville said...

Adorable grandbaby...unbelievable compassion. Thank you.

Michele

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...