Now this wasn’t always the truth. Bless her heart. Her heart was so good but her mind was an understandable mess. When she and her siblings were removed from their mother, someone in the state agency decided that it would be best for the others if she not to live with them. Now, can you imagine that? She was stubborn and outspoken. Those are good qualities for anyone in politics and other occupations like that. But for her not to be submissive with all these changes in her life was perceived to be a bad thing. The first time my husband went to pick her up from the school she was attending, she ran from him and he had to chase her around the school yard till she got tired and slowed down because of the heavy load she was carrying in her back pack. Now picture this! Kids are taught everyday in school and on TV to NEVER get into a car with strangers and now my husband has to persuade her to get into his car and go home with him for the week-end. We were asked to keep her for respite to give her current foster parents a week-end break. She had been told this, of course, but had never met any of us. The week-end went very well. My own children who were older were always so sweet and understanding of all these children that came through our home and that made the children feel more welcome. In time she was able to move in with us and become a real part of our family. Her heart was so enormous and she wanted to help others all the time. One time she was worried about another family not having enough food so she started carrying out our food to help them. Finally, I had to sit down with her, pen and paper in hand, and explain how this works. I showed her the amount of food we had left for the week and told her to figure out enough meals for us for the remaining week and whatever was left she could take to her friends. After figuring it all out she decided she had taken enough food and would help in another way.
On another day she decided to fix supper for us and was so excited to do so. Her meal of baked spaghetti with corn turned out great. This was a recipe she had learned from another foster home she had lived in. One really good thing about this recipe is you can make it ahead and bake it when you want it. You see recipes like this now but back then it was a new idea. And for some reason she likes corn with her spaghetti instead of a salad. That is probably because that’s how she first ate it or she didn’t know how to make a salad. Either way it was delicious and we still make it today.
As time went along, she still struggled with missing her sisters, and with the help of her case worker, we were able to set up visitations, and that helped. She always had trouble in school, too, till finally she was diagnosed as being dyslexic and got the proper training. Because she had such a caring personality she had many mentors along the way that helped her. Her youth minister, the secretary of her high school, and “Poppy” as we all called him. He was my daughter’s grandfather, and since his wife had just died and Linda’s birthday was the same day as “Mimi’s,” it was a perfect match. He would take her to dinner on occasions and he taught her to play Uno and Skip Bo and they would play for hours. In reality, she probably helped him as much as he helped her.