November 29, 2012
William has a head cold. He is oozing snot. His eyes are bloodshot and puffy. Other students back away from him with his sneezing which he can’t quite catch with his hands, sleeves, or kleenex. He snuffles several times a minute. The nurse has just sent him back to class with a note saying “it’s just allergies.”
We’re reading “Hard Times,” part of the Read180 program. Today’s selection deals with a child who was abandoned but learns how to overcome the challenges of life.
William raises his hand, snuffling noisily. He is so proud when he has something to contribute to discussion. He waves even more strongly, making “oh! oh!” noises. Students duck the snot flinging off the ends of his fingers as he tries to catch my attention.
“I’m abandoned! I’m abandoned! My mother abandoned me when I was just a kid!”
Sadly, enough, he’s right. Several years ago, William and his sister, Daisy, after suffering years of neglect, were abandoned by their mother. Court papers say they were found after living on their own in an empty apartment for several days. They live in a foster home with several other foster kids now.
After class, William lingers in the doorway, still snuffling despite the dozens of kleenex stuffed into his pockets.
William has news to share.
“Do you remember Chris?”
“Chris Palmer. He says, ‘hi.’”
“How do you know Chris? He should be almost finished with high school now.”
“He’s a sophomore. He got adopted this weekend. He lived with me at the foster home.”
“Really? How about that. And he got adoped?”
“Yes, ma’am.” William pauses. “I’m for sale, too. Maybe you’ll want to buy me so I can have a real family like Chris.”
My heart breaks for William and Daisy. These poor kids.