ORPHAN

This article was written for “QUINTET,” our Parish magazine, requesting submissions on the theme of  ~ What’s in a Name?

 

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME

ORPHAN

by John Yeo

   Our name is the handle by which we are handled.
The childhood is a time of a happy innocent vulnerability. My early childhood was spent in idyllic peaceful happiness, I was an only child brought up by two wonderful parents. Tom, my father was a gentleman farmer. This self-styled title always amused him as he worked from dawn to dusk on the land.

    “I’m a farmer and a gentleman, ask my wife Molly, how gentle I am.”
My Mother, Molly would gently smile and nod in agreement.

  What’s in a name? Certainly a contradiction, as far as my Dad was concerned.

    “Aren’t gentlemen supposed to be rich and lead a luxurious, cushioned wealthy life?” I asked grinning. At eight years old I was as sharp as a razor and very cheeky.

    “Come on Tom-junior eat your tea. Mind you finish those greens they are the secret of good health.” said my Mum smiling broadly.
Mum was a hard worker helping Dad on the farm. She somehow found the time to support the local WI. Sometimes the farmhouse would resound with her ladies busy chatting together, earnestly discussing matters of great importance.

   Such was our family’s happy life until the day of that terrible road accident that changed my life forever. We were out for a Sunday drive to the next village to visit my Uncle Bob when a huge tractor pulling a trailer full of heavy logs crashed into our tiny family car. My Mum and Dad were killed instantly and I was trapped…. Upside down in the back seat; still alive.

    At that moment my life was to change forever, I instantly became an eight-year-old orphan and a problem for the Social services. Uncle Bob and Aunt Millie took care of me for a few weeks but they were unable to make this a permanent arrangement as they had four children and very little space.

    I had become an orphan, now this is a name that due to our vivid Victorian literature has become irrevocably linked to poverty and pity. A state of unwantedness that generated much hardship and sorrow.

     I was fostered by several kindly families at the start of my new station in life and finally, I was adopted by a nice family.

    Mr. and Mrs. Smithers and their four children, all boys older than me, lived in a huge sprawling house in an acre of beautiful gardens with woods and fields stretching towards the horizon.

     The next few months passed in a blur as I quickly became accustomed to my new station in life. It was a slow degenerative process as I became that orphan, who was not really one of us. Quite unworthy to be a real part of the family. I was bullied by the children and ignored by their parents except for when I was expected to wait on them.

     “That boy will do the work! The orphan will clear the table!” said Mrs. Smithers.

 Somehow I had become a person without a name, a legal slave, fed and watered and expected to wait on the family hand and foot.

      ‘The orphan will do the job!” Was the favourite saying of the oldest son, a cruel vindictive fellow.

  I became insecure and frightened to get up in the morning. I refused to go to school in case I said something that would get me in trouble at home later.

     Eventually, I ran away and made my way back to my childhood family home. I was shy and reluctant to knock on the front door and I made my way around the back. A dog started barking loudly and a lady who I vaguely recognised, exclaimed;

    “Hello young Tom junior; what are you doing here? Come inside and have some tea.”
  At that I burst into tears, this was the first time I had encountered such familiar kindness for ages.

     “You must recognise me I am Rose, we used to come here for our WI meetings to see your Mum. My hubby and I bought the farm. Don’t cry Tom, come inside you are welcome.”

    That was five years ago now. I shudder at the memories of that period I spent as just a nameless orphan.

    I now live here in my old/new home with kindly new parents who have made me welcome. I feel secure in the knowledge that there is always an essence of our departed loved ones around guiding us in spirit.

 Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

FICTION NOTICE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

JANUARY BLUES

This article  was written for “QUINTET,” our Parish magazine, requesting submissions on the theme of January Blues

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Image © Copyright John and Margaret ~All rights reserved

JANUARY BLUES

Sowing the Seeds of Recovery

by John Yeo

    Uplifting Christmas carols and music. Sparkling, colourful lights have now been replaced with  the shock of the after-effects, and the  cold gray  winter weather of January.

   A moment of taking stock, counting the cost of the revels that have gone before.

  This time of the year can be a lonely time after the celebrations are over and the family have all left and gone their separate ways

  We plan to visit several people, neighbours, and friends who we know will appreciate a chat and a few moments of company. A cheery word in the right ear can bring magic to a sufferer of January blues.

  For some, January is a time of reflection on the past year, with high hopes for the future We feel the lowness of mood, that follows the high Christmas cheer, of the celebrations with friends and neighbours.

    January is a month of gloomy darkness.

  Cold, dreary weather,  when the blue of the skies is obscured by gray cloud, midwinter frosts, and freezing temperatures.

  There is a recognized uneasy mood affected disorder around, known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD for short. Light therapy is a way this disorder is treated by exposure to artificial light.  

  Perhaps another way to combat SAD is to bask in the benefit of the light that the enlightenment of the epiphany has revealed, by the special relaxed calmness that can be obtained through prayer and having faith that the future is a mystery that has yet to be solved.

  Another way to chase the blues away is by planning a holiday, this is one of the most popular ways to combat the January blues. Just seeing piles of brochures with photographs of beautiful blue skies,  and impressive surf with waves pounding into some golden sands is certain to lift the most downtrodden spirits.

    Sadly the alluring TV adverts and seductive  brochures, that drop through many of our letterboxes, can actually contribute to a deep feeling of depression, especially when some of us will never have the financial means or health to take advantage of them.

    Again this is a time to be considerate and cautious, with the sure knowledge that things can improve with the reaching out of a warm connecting smile.

  As a gardener and an avid grow-your-own enthusiast on my allotment. Easily the most satisfying, rewarding and entertaining way to spend those long January evenings, is with an enormous pile of seed catalogues and brochures; planning the growing year in advance. I can picture myself in the Spring, sowing tiny minuscule seeds, taking care of the seedlings to promote growth. I can close my eyes and picture an array of wonderful flowers in full bloom. I can picture fresh wholesome tasty vegetables that will bring a smile of satisfaction to my face with the sheer joy of accomplishment.

  The January blues will swiftly become a faint memory as I look into the gardening future.

 “Cheer up my friend Spring will certainly arrive. How are you today?”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

THE GIFT OF LIFE

This article  was written for “QUINTET,” our Parish magazine, requesting submissions on the theme of Christmas Presents

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Image ©️Copyright John and Margaret ~ All rights reserved

THE GIFT OF LIFE

by John Yeo

 The Jackson family were well-known to everyone in the village, regular churchgoers they had made many friends over the years. Speculation had it that branches of the family had resided in this village since the days of William the Conqueror.
Tom Jackson had passed away five years before; he had been a churchwarden, chairperson on the Parish council and his wife Gina had been the hon.treasurer.

Their two sons, Ricardo and Ernesto had been a great comfort to their Mother.

Ricardo became a special forces soldier, serving in Afghanistan, with the SAS. Infrequent letters would arrive, describing the horror of war and his narrow escapes from the enemy. “We are involved in battles before they are officially fought, our undercover forces are on the attack. Our forces are involved in dogfights all over the city,”

One fateful day in November a telegram arrived Ricardo was missing in action, a hero who had saved many lives.

 Gina was devastated, many parishioners rallied around offering help and support. The situation for the family was looking grave, with Christmas the season of goodwill just around the corner.

 Then, without any warning Ernesto, her younger son was diagnosed with advanced kidney disease forcing him to undergo dialysis three times a week. Gina was absolutely shattered and asked for his name to be included in the church prayers list. A kidney transplant was the only solution.

Then one memorable day there was a knock on her cottage door and Ricardo her eldest son stood in front of her smiling. “Hello, Mum! I’m home! I escaped and I have some leave to use up.”

Shocked, Gina could hardly believe her eyes. “Welcome, home son!” Was all she could say with tears in her eyes.

When Ricardo heard about the plight of his brother Ernesto, he was quick to offer one of his own kidneys, which was obviously a perfect match.

Christmas Day arrived, and old Jeb the gardener displayed the perfect Christmas rose in Gina’s garden. “What an unbelievably beautiful rose, they say everything comes in threes. I have been blessed with three perfect Christmas presents.”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved