My family was very poor.
My dad was a mine worker. In those days, he had to work hard in order to feed the mouths of others 5 members beside him: my mom, me, my 3 youger sisters. He woke up very early in the morning, ate his meal and then left to work. My mom was a cook. After feeding my dad, she would go to a big house at the end of the road to cook for the family in that house. I and my sisters would wake up a bit later. I took care of my sisters, especially the youngest one – Ann who was only 3 at that time. I would feed her with poridge while eating bread crumbs and pumpkin soup. The others 2 also had the same meals as mine. Then, we finished the dishes and go to school. At that time, Sam was 6 and Lydia was 7 i was 10. We went to the same school. But i could not let Ann stay home alone so i asked the school to bring her in and they accepted that. It wasnt an easy task, bringing a kid to school. I asked the teacher for a room for her to stay and luckily i got one, a store at backyard of the school. Ann was only a kid but she was an obidient and smart kid. She would stay quiet for a whole day if i told her to do that, in a well manner too. There were props in the store so she could play with it to kill time ( i had taught and told her not to play with something sharp, heavy or cause fire and she had followed it well at home) so i didnt have to worry about her that much. We divided time shift to come to the store and watch her. I watched her every 45 mins, Sam every hour and Lydia every hour and a half. Sam might have neglect to do his responsiblity because he was an active boy and love to play. But Lydia was very caring. She would come there and talk and play with Ann for sometimes. After school, We would go home together with Lydia holding Anns hand while Sam played around the fence on the road.
Those days were happy and tough too. We didnt have much food to eat so i had to spare my portion with Sam and Lydia. sam and Lydia might fight each other for a bread crumb but they were all willing to give Ann the soup. In the winter, the cold nearly paralyzed our body. I hold Ann in my arms, Sam and Lydia would hold each other hands. But Sam was a energetic boy so his limbs were always on the move, in which it made it hard for Lydia to hold his hands long. She ended up scratching both her hands instead while Sam jumped up and down the road all the time. when we reached school we couldnt barely felt anything. I nearly wanted to faint but my feet were frozen too, like a statue. At those time, Ann would hold my feet and scratced them with her hands. She always smile even when the cold bit her face pretty bad, it had turned pale green already.
Everything went smoothly until one day, dad lost his job.
We were in a critical time because only moms wage couldnt support the family. We could buy food with moms wage but we could only let one child went to school and we had a little money left in case someone got sick. Sam and i both asked her if we could continue studying. We all thought dads gonna find a job soon but we didnt know, about the future. One month, two months, six months passed and he could hardly find any job because the economy went worse. Many manufactures closed down, job working in mine lessened.
Dad changed too, since then. He hadnt had much time playing with us but he had used to smile to us whenever he came home. He would advice us to take care of each other, told us to wear warm in the winter, said goodnight and made us to promise study hard when he took us to sleep. In the mean time he didnt had a job, he ate with us and helped us with cleaning. When we left home he would wave at us and tell us to work hard. But then, 8 months being a burden drove him into depression. One day he brought home a bottle of wine. The next day there was another different bottle of wine. 2, 3 days later he brought home different bottle of wine and finished them everyday. We tried to stop him but it was no use. 1 month, 2 month many months passed. Mother cried everynight in the kitchen. Sam, from an energetic boy who used to be on the moved all time, gradually became quiet. Lydia didnt say anything anymore and did her chores everyday. The house economy went worse. I had to quit school and went to cook instead of mother. MOther try to look for coking job somewhere and she got a job at selling meat in the market. Everyday we went home feeling depress. Noone say anything at all.
There came a day, father went out and never come home. It was a rainy day we all waited for him till late. It was all in vain.
Spring came, summer went, fall passed and winter came. Father was nowhere to be found, heard or known. Mother went sick. It was an illness of the heart. Sam and Lydia exchange their roles to take care of both mom and Ann. That winter was so so long. Snow fell non stop, heavy and fast. We werent able to call a doctor to come to our home. The only thing we could do was take care of mom and hope for the best. One night, mom called out to us and said
– sam, lydia, kea i have talked to your aunts and uncles about adopting you guys. If it continue like this, im afraid …cough….all of you will have to go seperately. I have wrote a letter for all of you so if …cough…something happen to me… Cough … Cough…
– nothing could happen to you, mom. I promise i protect you mom. SAM said.
– we wont know what hold beyound us. My children. One day you will all leave me… Cough…so… Cough… Beside this is just in case. Sam, you and Lydia will go to aunt&uncle Bens house. They will arrange you a work, or if you guys lucky… Cough…cough, you can work in a school so … Cough… May be you can learn something while working there. Kea, you will go to aunts Alma house to help her with everything…cough…cough…im sorry Kea…cough…she lived in a very far away town so …cough….cough…you might not be able to get home…cough…cough… When you grow up…Cough cough… And Ann, aunt Ama sais she didnt like kid but if you could take care of it …cough… Then its oke for her to stay with you… Cough…i told her she was a good child… Cough… So she didnt have to worry if Ann do something troublesome to her… Cough… Cough… Can you take care of her ? Kea.
Mother couldnt live until next spring. We did accordingly to mothers will. We sold the house with stuffs inside (theres no much things left inside the house since we had sold it to survive after father lost his job) i took half the money. Sam and Lydia the rest. Lydia didnt say a word. She cried so hard. SAm tried to be a man but after we departed to go to different path, i saw his shoulder was shaking, he was sniffing, along with Lydia. We hugged each other so so tight before that. Ann didnt know what exactly was going on but she could sense it. I guessed. She kissed and hugged both Lydia and Sam tightly, like she was so afraid they wouldnt meet each other again. Ann smiled at both of them till the end.