Friday, May 27, 2005

Meet the Parents

The Johnsons, 1967

When I got on the plane in Dubuque, Iowa on that mostly cloudy day in 1968, I didn't realize I wouldn't be returning to the farm that was my foster home. "Lassie", the Bull, the cows, the chickens, and the kittens in the door around the back side of the barn would never see the little brown skinned boy again. I was on my way to Omaha to meet the people who would be my family.

I don't remember arriving in Omaha, as I slept on the flight. From the airport, we traveled by car and went to what seemed to be a huge palace to a kid my size. It was actually a convent. We went to the dining room and got something to eat, and it was time to go to bed for the night. Tomorrow was going to be a big day and I would need my sleep. The nuns set up a mattress with some sheets, a blanket, and a pillow in the hallway. Later I learned that I was probably the only male to ever sleep in that convent.

The next day, I woke up and had some breakfast- corn flakes, I think- and got dressed to head out for the day- not that I knew where we were going. This was the day I would meet my family!

The woman took me to a park and let me go play on the swings while we waited. She called me over as some people approached- a man, a woman, and a small girl. The lady I came with told me who they were but I didn't really catch on. I just wanted to go back and play. The girl saved the day by asking me if I wanted to go swing on the swings. We went over to the playground and proceeded to play while the adults talked.

After what seemed like about 15 minutes, the lady called me and the girl back over to the adults. She said something about me going to live with them, and if that was O.K. with me. I nodded my head. The family walked away, and I was told that I would see them tomorrow.

One more night in the convent, and then off to the little rambler on 38th Street where I would go an live with the Johnsons as one of the family. How was I to know that this wasn't how every kid got a family?

No comments: