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An early memory in a crowded store, decorated for Christmas, still chills me. My hand sought Mother’s, somewhere above my head, but it was hard, cold. It belonged to a mannequin.

To my dismay, such moments still occur.

But there’s hope. I recently discovered a spirited companion for my inner orphan, little Elizabeth. Her name is Anne, the redheaded, freckled, eleven-year old in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic, Anne of Green Gables, (1908). We first meet Anne, alone, seated upon a bed of tiles on a train platform, waiting for her third adopted family to pick her up, her worn carpetbag at her feet. Reticent, sixtyish, bachelor, Mathew Cuthbert soon arrives in his buggy and together they return to Green Gables, the farm that he shares with his spinster sister, Marilla.

Anne’s love for reading, her imaginative flights, her temper, and her incessant chatter soon endear her to this unlikely set of parents and her classmates. She rebounds from repeated scrapes and soon emerges into a bright, sensitive, young woman with a teaching career and college courses ahead of her. Key to this development is the stern presence of Marilla, often swallowing her giggles and grounding Anne in the practical realities of living.

In Marilla’s guidance of Anne, I discovered a model in relating with little Elizabeth. She’s already benefitting from my attention and shares her hilarity with me. Nothing is ever that serious!


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