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At 6:A.M., I woke with this corrective dream from my personal unconscious:

It was winter, several inches of snow covered the ground. Headlights from a car swept the corners of my bedroom and turned into my driveway. It was my ride. I stirred under my comforter, anxious. I was supposed to be ready. I dressed hurriedly. Because I had no boots, I grabbed a handful of blue rubber gloves in the box on my dresser to cover my stocking feet. The gloves were mashed together and impossible to separate. My anxiety escalated into rage. Alone, I sat on the floor.  

Winter, several inches of snow covered the ground of my psyche suggesting anger’s stranglehold of my spiritual faculties: Anger of monstrous proportions distorts each image in the dream. 

My ride corresponds to my actual helper, well schooled in my needs, daily, since last September. In this dream, though, she does not appear but her taking care of me suggests the loss of my independence. I still don’t like it, even after these months.

My having no boots suggests an unsuitable foundation upon which to stand: I was off balance, dizzy. Desperate, I sought a substitute, anything to protect my feet from the snow-covered driveway.

The blue rubber gloves in the box on my dresser used by my helper when tending to my personal needs and the preparation of meals come to mind. In the dream, I grab a handful of the gloves but fail in separating them. It did not occur to me to ask for help, a lifelong pattern that ill-serves me, even now.

Despite frequent blogs alluding to acceptance of my terminal illness, this anger dream reveals another scenario unfolding within my depths. Only denial keeps me at bay from its full terror, and that’s as it should be, for now. Occasionally, however, breakthroughs do occur that wash over me until the next one, usually in the evening.

I still plead with the Psalmist, “Create, O God, a clean heart within me!”

Greed has horrific expressions but none so despicable as found in the novel Before We Were Yours (2017) written by Lisa Wingate, based upon an actual child trafficking case that continued, undetected, for three decades, until its exposé in 1950.  

The abuse took place at one of the boarding homes of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis, Tennessee; its director, Georgia Tann. Widely touted as the Mother of orphans and unwanted children—even drawing the notice of Eleanor Roosevelt—she was far from that—cunning, manipulative, and money-hungry. Her accomplices were ever on the lookout for stray, unwanted children; lovely ones were ripe for adoption with lucrative fees.

The story stood by itself until the author fleshed it out with Depression-era river-rats snatched from a houseboat moored at Mud Island near the Mississippi River. Only after having been subdued and driven to Memphis were the Foss kids locked inside the sprawling white-columned home, in great disrepair, and forced to comply with the mean-spirited staff, including the sexually abusive janitor, and stinking accommodations. 

Suspense glistens on every page of this novel, Before We Were Yours. Seasonal changes, so integral to the plot, waft authentic colors, smells, and sounds into the southern panorama. Silence has never been more silent, nor sinister. Only an intrepid heart can follow the abrupt emotional and physical changes as the Fosses work out their destiny; their cat-and mouse stratagems with their jailers left me breathless.

Never having been involved with a child-victim of trafficking, I was deeply moved by Lisa Wingate’s brilliant handling of this material. Before We Were Yours is a must read.

When philanthropy goes bad, it goes really bad: crass suffering and irredeemable psychic damage occur, especially when children are involved. Such a travesty unfolds upon the pages of the historical novel Remember Me (2020) written by Mario Escobar who gives voice to the “Children of Morelia.”

One year into the Spanish Civil War, 1937, the Mexican government offered asylum to Spanish children, in harm’s way from Generalissimo Franco’s aggression. One was a relative of the author. She and over four hundred other children were shipped to Morelia and jammed inside the Spain-Mexico Industrial School barracks to live in sub-human conditions for the duration of the war. Designated funds for their care found other pockets.

To enflesh these events, Escobar develops three siblings: Marco, thirteen years old, and his sisters Isabel and Ana, ages ten and six, respectively. Their resiliency, courage, and spirit moved them in and out of shocks from bullies, from their cruel director and teachers, from abductions, and from hunger and worn clothing. Memories of their parents in Madrid fuel their determination to be reunited, at any cost.

Escobar’s skillful editing screens out unseemly details that could have interrupted the urgent flow of the narrative. At stake here is the survival of the siblings.

Because twentieth-century Spanish history eludes me, I found the author’s end chapters on the “Clarification of History” and “The Timeline” helpful in understanding the novel.

Thanks to the artistry of Mario Escobar, the “Children of Morelia” have found a permanent home in Remember Me. Their innocent suffering and even death will not be relegated to the backwards of Spanish or Mexican history.

Available on Amazon

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