In their book(s) ‘the S.H.E Anthology, ‘The Evans Terrace Girls’ give their account of what happened when 7 or more parents died within a year or 2 of each other in a small subdivision of about 110 homes. People started saying their land was CURSED. The children heard those rumors about their subdivision and were scared to death. Then, when a neighbor lost her dad to a blood clot after surgery, the kids felt the need to help. When one of the girls heard the rumor that the mourning family ran out of milk, she setup a traditional solution or proverbial lemonade stand. That day, other angels or young children arrived; many of those neighbor kids ran door to door selling half glasses of hot lemonade. They raised enough quarters to buy milk and other perishables. More importantly, they formed a group that became a club and led their neighborhood out of grief. A CHAPTER excerpt from their story follows.
Excerpt: ‘Tis The Season
The holidays seem to make shopping imperative. Being girls, we enjoyed that event just as much as the nursing home women did. However, sometimes, our allowances were needed for more important things than just a new outfit to add to the other twenty- five in our closets. Our club was about to happen on one of those causes.
Right before the holidays a year earlier, Joy found out that one of her friends had inherited two cousins. One of the boys was just two weeks old and the other was eighteen-month-old when their single mother died in her apartment of an epileptic seizure. These two miracles survived two days with their deceased mother before authorities found them. Their aunt’s family was not well to do but had inherited two cribs for the boys. However, just near Christmas, they needed real beds for these toddlers.
Our neighborhood parents have a cookie swaps once a year during the holidays. The mothers go and exchange sweets while discussing us. We always wanted to be able to attend. This year the club came up with a reason to be invited to this party. We wanted to raffle items using the proceeds to buy at least one bed for these two boys.
Nicole’s mother hosted and let us set up a table to sell tickets. There were donations of new jewelry and Christmas items to raffle. We charged a dollar a ticket. On our little table sat our flyer of community services completed and goals to finish this year.
As one guest read the document, she handed us a five-dollar bill whispering to my mother, “What is their goal?”
“At least one bed,” She responded.
“Well, good luck. They probably won’t even raise enough for a mattress,” this woman added.
“I’ve seen them sell one hundred and seventy one dollars’ worth of lemonade and still have over half the original gallon. I bet they can get this bed,” My mother defended.
“Good luck,” The guest reiterated.
“I believe in miracles,” Mom observed smugly. “ ‘Tis the season!”
The next morning as we recounted the cash, it was our turn to gloat. We had raised one hundred-forty dollars for our orphans. Nicole and I had come up with the raffle idea and our pride filled us with joy.
The telephone rang early; it was Laura, Nicole’s mother. “Hey, why don’t we go to estate sales, today? We could try to find a nice used bed for the girls to give this orphan,” She suggested to our only adult, permanent member to this club. Along with exhausting and futile searches, they checked the local paper. In the paper, there was an ad for twin beds. Laura made a call to the woman with this item. After hearing the story, the lady agreed to meet us and possibly sell us the bed for a bit less than the asking price of four hundred dollars.
Laura made to appointment and took the directions to the self-storage facility. Unfortunately, Nicole’s mother was new to the area and from Brazil originally. Sometimes, these facts lead to communication difficulties. Unaware that we didn’t really know where this storage facility was located, the club members entered Nicole’s and my mother’s van.
“Okay, I’ll follow you,” My mother yelled across to the other driver.
After a few turns and some meandering, my mother became anxious. We were headed towards the migrant farmer area of town and away from storage facilities. A few more blocks and we’d be past the agricultural area landing in the middle of alligator pods and wilderness. Realizing there was a problem, my mother began signaling with her lights for Laura to stop. The others in that van must have realized we were lost because it didn’t take long for both vehicles to pull off the road to discuss the situation.
“I don’t know. This facility should have been sooner,” Laura spoke in her heavy Brazilian accent.
“I think we got a turn or two the wrong direction,” My mother agreed.
“Well, she says turn right on Airport Road,” Laura read her scratch sheet of paper.
“What is the name of the storage place?”
“U-Store, I think.”
“Hmm, I think I know where we wanted to be. Follow me!”
Then without a clue to whether she was heading for the correct facility because this area was big enough for several storage places. Our main chaperone led on a wing and a prayer. She pulled our car into the location that seemed correct but it had the wrong name.
As Laura pulled into a parking slot nearby, our fearless leader jumped out of the car and ran over to her window, “This place has the wrong name but is the only one on this road. Are you sure you have the street name correct?”
“Here, I have a telephone number. Maybe, we can call the owner,” Laura offered just as confused.
My mom grabbed her cell phone from our car and dialed rapidly muttering, “She’s probably at the storage place and won’t even answer this call.” Then, someone answered and a conversation occurred, “I am at public storage facility on Airport Boulevard, am I at the right location?” After a few nods and frowns, our leader spoke aloud to us. “I think we are lost. The woman on the telephone was the mother of the seller. We’ll wait ten minutes before we give up. The lady says we are at the right spot, maybe.”
It seemed like an eternity, “Let’s go. This lady isn’t late! We are at the wrong place!” Joy’s impatience revealed itself, again.
Just as we all gave up hope, in came a car with a “Jesus is the magic” sticker. It was truly a miracle that we found one another because we arrived by reversing the scribbled directions, and she was held up in traffic. When she called home her mother told her we were at the wrong location. So, this Christian almost drove home but figured she’d drive by just in case her mother was incorrect.
After a good chuckle, we started to bid on the twin beds. They were gorgeous oak and in fine shape. However, we only had one hundred-forty dollars, and it was weeks until Christmas. Thus, our allowances were all assigned to various gifts for our family.
“I am sorry! I want to help your cause but these two beds that can be arranged as bunks are less than a year old. I paid a thousand dollars for them before I lost my job. The price of four hundred is already a sacrifice.”
“Couldn’t you sacrifice a bit more?” Laura’s mom commanded instead of questioning. “These beds are for some orphans not for some rich family.”
“They lost their mom to epilepsy and went to stay with their aunt who already had children to raise. She lost her job to care for her nephews,” Mom tugged on her heart.
“Excuse us,” Laura pulled my mother aside. “These beds are too nice, and she has her own sad story. I don’t think she’ll give them to us for less. What should we do keep looking?”
“Yes!” Then our leader noted, “The girls only have one hundred-forty. We can’t even meet her in the middle with a bid.”
Wandering back over, my mother explained it to us all. At that, the stranger stopped our movement back to our vehicles, “I’ll let you have both beds for two hundred dollars but only if you can pick them up by tomorrow.”
“Sold!” We all screamed as Laura and Mom flinched. The club was sixty dollars from reality. However, our leader knew that when we had a goal we’d usually surpass it so both adults remained silent or too stunned to speak. In either case, I called an emergency meeting to find sixty dollars in less than twenty-four hours.
As we sat at our kitchen table, Stacey, my cousin and current sibling, overheard the plight of the two orphans. She was five years older than I was, so this sister usually stayed away from my activities. However, this project hit home for her. A few years before this Christmas and a short time before Jane lost her dad, Stacey buried her mother due to cancer and her dad because of suicide. After these four horrible weeks, my cousin came to our house permanently and became our older sister. Thus, she could empathize with the plight of orphans.
Wandering back in sight, Stacey tossed ten dollars on the table. “Here, I want to help with my allowance.” She vanished as quickly as the money arrived to the table.
“We can use our allowance. If we all gave ten dollars it would be more than enough,” I stated.
The next day was rainy. Our leader had arranged for my dad to drive the beds to their new home using his pickup truck. She invited the recipients to meet us at the storage facility and guide us to their home. It poured and drenched all the earth around us as we loaded up the beds and covered them with traps, plastic, and raincoats. Then, we caravanned to their new location. In spite of the rain, the orphans received their Christmas gifts early.
Our main adult sponsor has a letter from Jesus that her mother left behind on the day of her death. It talks about talking problems over with Jesus and letting him be your friend or guide. One line in the note says that He feels our emotions with us, and his tears are in the rain. Today, they are droplets of joy; I am sure.
“Praise the Lord,” the new mother of the orphans, their Aunt Nora, gasped as she hugged each member in attendance and blew kisses to the rest. Then, she made her two toddler boys smooch each girl and with a loud voice say, “Thank-you!”
Before we left, my mother bent over to say good-bye to the boys. The oldest one leaped into her arms hugging her wildly. Our mentor threw her head back laughing. Then, she talked quietly into his ear, “You are so sweet.”
At his young age, he seemed brilliant as he told her loudly, “I see the angels! Right there!”
“Where?” My mother giggled not mockingly but just because she was taken off guard.
Nora chimed in, “This one is so special!” She grabbed his arm and said, “He sees the angels that took care of his brother and him. I believe him.” She gave the child a peck on the cheek.
Then, he made his eyes stay open by using his fingers saying, “When mommy was like this,” the unspoken word was dead, “the angels told me what to do for my brother.”
“The angels were with you,” Nora sang hugging the youngest child. “They helped you find food to feed your brother and yourself.”
“Yes, I found the cereal. I couldn’t do the diaper.”
“That’s okay because your brother was clean at the hospital.”
“Yes, the angels helped him.” This youngster jumped from my mother’s arms taking his brother by the hand. They ran off to jump on his newly installed bed. We followed except for Nora and our mentor.
“It took two days for the neighbors to realize something was wrong. My sister was dead just after coming home because the baby was still strapped in his car seat. My sister must have gone for her medicine but didn’t make it. The medicine was lying next to her.”
“Wow!” My mom listened as I lurked in earshot.
“When the neighbors realized that my sister had not been seen in days and the baby was crying too much, they went to her door. It was locked but that little boy,” Nora recounted the incident while pointing towards the bunk beds, “called out, ‘My mom is sleeping too long!’ ”
“Sad!” My mom tried to imagine the scene. I did, too.
“That boy was only eighteen months old, and he was really being instructed by his angels to know what to say. They put another older child through an open window. She went into my sister’s apartment unlocking the door for the police and her parents. They found the boys. The oldest was trying to wake his mom up to talk to them.” She mimicked him poking her face to wake her up. “Like that!”
“Awe, were they okay? I mean I know the boys lived but were they okay at that point? Was the little girl that opened the door traumatized?”
“All the children saw the angels according to her mother. That kept the girl okay,” Nora told her newest children’s story. “They took these guys to the hospital and not one diaper rash out of either of them. Not one bruise or harmful mark! No sign of dehydration or malnutrition! The oldest said it was because of the angels. I believe him.”
Goose bumps took over my skin as I believed this story, too. “It makes sense. To last two days unharmed, there must have been angels with them.”
“To this day, anyone that helps these boys is blessed. You all are very blessed,” Nora added.
“Yes, we were to get these beds for you!” My mom gloated.
“No, I mean you are blessed forever by these children’s angels.”
After that, the oldest boy emerged from his bedroom and leaped back up into my mother’s arms. “Thank-you!” He hugged her. “Did you see them? The angels are here!”
My mom nodded and smiled at him.
“This one is very leery of strangers, but he loves you,” Nora explained. “It is because you are close to his angels. All of you are! God bless you!”
The little boy’s sentences were so eloquent for his age that he captured our imagination. His new mother was so sure about the angels that none of us left doubting their miracle story.
To the neighbor that played doubting Tom, my mother’s heart winked as she said, “I believe in miracles!” However, sometimes, you have to help God accomplish them instead of just praying and then waiting.
A majority of the proceeds from the S.H.E. Anthology go to agencies that deal with children with PTSD. So, come on buy to be inspired and help grieving children.
It’s a WIN-WIN.
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