Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chapter 2

I remember some but not all of those early days.
When you're 4 and 5 years old, life is more about fun and playing. Skipping and dancing and friends. Not time and space, dates and order of sequence.

It's warm outside and these neighbor kids are so much smarter and always want to play games that confuse me. We were in trouble for saying the word "butt."  Our mom considered it a bad word but these kids said way worse words ~
Did way worse things than saying the word "butt."

I instead go inside to find my mom.  My big brother is there too.
My mom has dressed and says she's going out for cigarettes but tells us she will be back soon.

I don't want to make this about my mom.
She did the best she could.  Three kids, a limited grasp of the English language and a job as a hair stylist with zero help or support from anyone...
It was a recipe for a disaster from the start, I suppose.

The day she left was much like any other.
She left and we waited. 
We waited by that door like 3 tiny baby birds waiting for their mom to return to the nest.
Days went by.

We lived in the upstairs apartment of a tattered and worn old house. 
We didn't know anyone except the wild neighbor kids. 
There were downstairs neighbors but we never saw them. We knew they were there. We could hear them and smell the smells of food cooking below us.
Weeks went by. 

My big brother did all that he could to care for us. 
I remember one day he sat my sister and I down and told us that we were out of food. We were crying.  Sobbing.
He said, "I have to do something wrong. 
If not, we will have to eat grease. That's all we have left."
I remembered my eyes wide and crying, telling my brother "But I don't want to eat grease!"
There was a local A&P grocery store 3 blocks away.  He would shove a choice cut of meat wrapped in white paper down the front of his 8 year old pants and run like the wind. 
Toilet paper.
Whatever he could run with.

There were days he would fly thru the front door, throwing closed the locks.
Out of breath like the devil himself was on his heels... chasing him but we were fed. 
We never had to eat grease.
He made us brush our teeth and go to bed at a certain time. 
He got my sister and himself up and ready for school each day. 
We ate a lot of rice. I mean a LOT of rice but we still waited by that door.
It never happened.
She never returned.

I have no concept of how long we were there alone but I think it was about 2 months. Someone turned us in to the Welfare Department. Probably the downstairs neighbors or the owner of that A&P with all of that missing food.

I will never forget that day as long as I live.
I had on these faded torn pink one-piece pajama's.
I was going to stay at a girl from the neighborhood's house for the night but something scared me. 
I felt real fear. My gut was telling me to go home and some higher power was screaming in my ear to GO HOME!
Go Home Now!
I was spooked me so badly that I walked back home in the dark in my pajamas to the safety of my big brother and sister.

The police were there.  Their cars were parked in front and the bright lights were flashing blue and red against the night sky. The dark blue uniforms of the very tall officers did little to comfort me. 
They kept asking us over and over where our mom was.  She had been gone so long now that it seemed like she was never there in the first place. At least to a 4 year old it seemed that way.
One officer picked me up. I'm sure I was dirty. I'm positive I smelled.
Tangled dirty blonde hair and a dirty grimy face. No shoes, just the soft footies built into the PJ's I wore day and night.
It seemed like that night went on forever.
Nothing really mattered. As long as I was with my big brother and sister, we were fine.
We were taken to the Police Station. I hid under the desk of the Police Sargent and refused to come out. No coaxing or food or candy would get me to come out of the safety of that dark cubby-hole.  I remember the smell of the oiled wood and the pattern of the woodgrain. My face pressed into the wood as though it would let me become that desk. I wanted to live there. Under that desk.
It felt safe there. The more they tried, the deeper into the corner I pushed my dirty little self.
I remember hearing my mother's voice off in the outer halls somewhere. Crying. 
I sunk deeper to the back of that desk. It was Quiet. Dark. Safe.

We were taken in the night to an orphanage. 
The building was large, looming red brick. Tall dark windows that seemed to  mock. Halls that echoed and seemed too large. Too large and scary for a small child with no mom. No one to give comfort. No lap to curl into.
It was very much like the movie Annie except there was a girls' side and a boys side. It was huge and it was scary.
My big brother was sent to "The Boy's Side." The boys and girls were never to go to the other side.  I never saw the "Boy's Side."
The Girls' side had one very large room with about 60 beds. 
Thirty on each side. Small iron beds all in a row pushed close together.
We showered and ate with kids that were older. All ages. All races. All orphaned. 
One huge big room where everyone showered at the same time and used green Palmolive soap. The smell of that soap can bring those memories rushing back in a nano-second to me to this day. One over-sized bathroom with shower heads one after another built into the green tiled wall. No doors, no curtains.
I was the only child there that didn't go to school each day so the powers that be made the executive decision to either have me placed up for adoption or go to school at 4 years old. 
Thankfully, I went to school at 4 years old. 
Adoption would have separated me from my big brother and sister and that I would never have wanted to do. (My life would have been 100% better but I didn't know that then.)

It was all about to come crashing down too soon anyway.

Years would pass but evil was waiting.
Evil had a home for us.
Evil was our future....


  1. Lana~
    Love you, gorgeous! You and Henry remain in my prayers. Blessed to read chapters from your book. We all have a story to tell but it is a gift from God to be able to communicate our life story to others in such a way as to inspire and, ultimately, to give hope. You are a gifted writer!

  2. Wow Lana~ this is like a captivating book ya can't put down....and yet so sad..a true story of a precious 4 yr old and her family. My best friend was orphaned as well . Authorities discovered him and his 4 yr old sister on the streets of NY 1960's and placed in catholic homes where the children were tortured by evil nuns..TRUE story..yet he overcame his past and is very compassionate wealthy man. I was tortured by nuns as well...anyways...I am patiently awaiting the next chapter....You are such a hero!

  3. Looking forward to each chapter as they come. It's sad the event that started this book, but I feel good things will come from it. Continued prayers for you and your hubby. xoxo~C

  4. Dearest Lana,

    I read through your chapter in a kind of hypnotic trance. The way you articulate yourself and describe the situation, it was as though I could feel myself becoming a scared little girl, seeing things through your eyes. I read it three times and it gave me goosebumps and left me with a lump in my throat.

    You have immense talent Lana, I am so in awe of you and marvel at the lady you are, your capabilities and your beautiful personality. Don't let anything or anyone deter you from telling your story. I love you even more now! I hope that Henry is feeling comfortable, I really do pray that everything goes well for him, that he will continue to improve. You are both in my thoughts and prayers each and every God-given day. Much love, Leyla :) xxxooo

  5. Hi Lana, how are you doing lately? How is your husband doing lately?
    I wish you strength to go on and hope things will get better soon for you both.
    You DO have a talent for writing too. You should have been a writer, Im a fan of your blog and think would be a fan of your books ;)
    take care♥

  6. I hope your husband is continuing to heal. I can't hardly wait for chapter 3 and I'm not much of a reader unless you count magazines. Lol :)

  7. Oh sweet Lana, I cannot believe my eyes! If I didn't know the Lana I've seen on Youtube, vibrant and full of life, I'd think such a traumatic situation like this would've left you weak and shattered! You're such a survivor, two times over now, after nursing your hubby through everything too! Wow. My mother and her mentally ill brother where abused by their alcoholic family, (yes, FAMILY! Mother, grandparents, aunts.) and I've just always had the most respect for survivors like you and she, who not only make it through to the "other side" but who also become independent, and successful DISPITE all they went through. What you've proved to all of us through caring for your hubby and, now finding out, also living through such traumatic circumstances, is that you are a WARRIOR! A WARRIOR IN CHANEL! :) Bless you and that man of yours! Your next chapter cannot come faster!
    -Lovelylouro (Youtube)

  8. Dear Lana,
    No one could tell from seeing you now the sad circumstances you grew from. It's amazing how the human spirit can survive such heartache. I am looking forward to reading more of your story. I wish it was in book form now, it's hard to wait to read what happened to you. Jesus said it is better for a man to have a mill stone around his neck and be thrown into the sea than hurt one of His little ones. He will not forget what you had to endure. I hope Henry is improving and that his life is getting better now. God bless the both of you. ((xx)) Liz

  9. You MUST watch the movie "Nobody Knows"'s a Japanese movie (dont worry...subtitles") about three kids...SAME as you, boy, girl, girl. Mom takes off and never comes back. However, the ending is much more tragic :( Love you Lana!

  10. Hi Lana. I just want to say you are my inspiration.

    You've been through so much.
    You are a fabulous woman and if there's a person that people need to be like, it's you. There isn't enough of people like you in this world.

    You're just...wonderful.

  11. this is a good book! can't wait for the next chapter. xxxooo

  12. Wow is right!!!!

    Lana, I so love reading your story and think of you and Henry every day. I send my love. xoxo Jeanie

  13. I don't even know what to say. I want to grab you and hug you forever. I'll never understand the human race

  14. Oh Lana. I just wish I could hug you!!!!

  15. I don't know how you went on. My Mother had some stories about her time in an orphanage. She was seperated from her brothers & sisters. She didn't tell us many. It was heartbreaking as your story is. It's difficult to think how you could even believe in God after that. The person you've become is amazing. To only watch you on YouTube you'd never know the tragedy your young life was. Your an amazing women. God bless you for the sweet person you've become. God bless your brother for saving your livs for those 2 months. My heart aches for all the children out there that have gone through things like this. I can never understand how humans can treat each other so horribly. I could never leave a child of mine. I've never had children. I just know I'd fight to the death for them if I had them. Your writing is so descriptive & wonderful. I'm anxious to read more. I still pray for Henry every day. I hope he's feeling much better. God bless you both. I'm sending you much love & hugs.

  16. My dear dear Lana....I just read your entire journey since you and your husband found out he has cancer. I have been where you are...As you share your story I feel all those scarey, stressful, sad times all over again. My husband passed away 2 years and 4 months ago on July 4th. One important thing I want to tell you is don't let the numbers scare you. My husband was diagnosed with stage IV renal cell carcinoma 4 and 1/2 years before he died of congestive heart failure. (the cancer caused it) He surprised everyone! Believe and know God will only take us when it is our time to go and no one can determine how long we will live. Cancer took his right kidney and renal gland and matastisized to right thigh by the time we found out. It spread to his knee and hip, left adrenal gland, ribs, and lungs. It is incredibly hard to watch the man you love suffer and be so sick and know their days with us are limited. My husband was like your husband is as far as not liking vegetables (except potatoes). He too ate meat and high fat burgers,ect. I do believe we all need to eat cancer fighting vegetables and fruits to attack the cancer sells we have in our bodies waiting to take over. I know it will be a long road ahead with ups and downs, but always remember miracles do happen. Never stop believing. Never forget to take care of yourself. I will keep you and your dear husband in my prayers and if I can do anything for you or be a listening ear call on me.


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