Spruce Harbor, Maine, 2011 - Albans, Minnesota, 1929 Summary

Molly and Vivian have decided Molly will work for two hours a day for four days a week and four hours total on the weekends. This should have Molly completing her fifty hours in about a month. At home Molly is trying to focus on the good and not the way Dina treats her. Dina it seems is only interested in herself and not Molly or Ralph. Even though Molly has told her she is a vegetarian, Dina insists on making meals that have meat as a main ingredient. Molly deals with this by not eating the meat, instead she tries to mash the meat into little bits so Dina does not notice it has not been eaten. Molly is thankful for the home, her own room, and how well she is treated by Ralph and Dina. She has been in some foster homes in which she was physically abused and had foster parents who were alcoholics. This placement with Dina and Ralph is the twelfth foster home she has had in nine years.

Molly starts to work on Vivian's attic, so she can get through the fifty hours as soon as possible. Together they look at what needs to be done in the attic. It is full of memories for Vivian, such as a coat she wore in 1930 and things from the department store she and her husband used to own in Minnesota. There are twenty years worth of boxes and other items stored in the attic, and it seems as if fifty hours might not be enough time to sort through it all.

As Vivian looks through the boxes and discovers the coat from 1930, she begins to think back to her journey on the Orphan Train. She remembers how it felt to be on the train bound for Milwaukee. She and Dutchy were both apprehensive about what was to come, wondering if they will be adopted, and how well they would be treated by their adoptive family. Dutchy was certain he would be taken to a farm to work as a farm hand, a fate he did not look forward to. Vivian, who at this point is still known as Niamh, didn't know what to expect. She hoped she would be taken in by a kind family, but she was also realistic and knew the chances of that were slim. More than likely she would become in effect a household servant for a family. Niamh was still taking care of the baby and wondered what would happen to him.

The children were told that if they were not taken by a family in Milwaukee, then they would ride the train to the next stop. In Milwaukee the children were taken into a waiting room in the station. They had to line up on a stage and wait to be looked over like animals at a farm show. The baby was taken first and some of the younger children went to families. The families were told they will be responsible for the care and well-being of the children, along with their education and religious training. If, after ninety days, the families did not like the child they had selected they could return them to the Children's Aid Society.

Dutchy was taken by a family in need of a farm hand. He had already told Niamh that the two of them would stay in touch no matter what. Niamh was not chosen by a family and had to board the train to go to the next stop.

In Albans, Minnesota, the next stop for the train, Niamh was chosen by a childless couple who ran a sewing business. Niamh was chosen because she had some sewing skills and because the husband's family was also from Ireland. The couple were Mr. and Mrs. Byrne. They were not the friendliest people, but Niamh was told that if she was obedient and worked hard she would be treated fairly. They also decided to change Niamh's name to Dorothy, which Niamh accepted without question.

Once at their house she was told what her duties were, such as sweeping the porch and sidewalk every day. She was then taken to the back room where the seamstresses worked and was immediately put to work. She had to work with Mary, a young girl a couple of years older than Niamh, now called Dorothy. Mary did not like her. Every task she assigned to Dorothy she had her do many times over, telling her the work is not good enough for paying customers.

Dorothy was also told she is not allowed to use the bathroom inside the house, but instead had to use the outhouse. She was informed the meals were at 8 am, noon, and 6 pm and snacking was not allowed, in fact the refrigerator was padlocked between meals to eliminate any chance of snacking. Mrs. Byrne felt that no snacking develops self-discipline, which in her words was "one of the most important qualities a young lady can possess."

At night, Dorothy was allowed to take a pallet out of the hall closet and sleep on it. She was not allowed to have a room of her own, but instead had store her possessions in the closet. She had to use the outhouse at night without the benefit of light, which was a frightening thing for her to do. She was also not allowed to disturb the Byrnes after supper, instead she had to do the dishes and be asleep by 9 o'clock.

This section shows how Molly and Vivian had similar experiences with their respective families. The families Molly was placed with were not always kind to her, in fact, some were abusive. Vivian, who was named Dorothy by the Byrnes, was treated as a servant. She was not shown any kindness from Mrs. Byrnes, but instead was barely tolerated by her.

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