26 July 2019

Published July 24, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook


Genre: Historical Fiction circa 1890

Word Count: 100


Eight-year-old Charity watched the strange countryside whiz by. In the glass she caught a glimpse of her reflection. She covered her ears with her hair and tried to block out the other kids’ cruel jeers. 

“Wings for ears. Beaver teeth. Too ugly for anyone to adopt you.” 

She stepped off the train, clutching her rag doll. Schubert, Missouri looked nothing like New York.

A man and woman with prominent ears approached her. The man knelt and grinned, revealing a pronounced overbite.  He caressed Charity’s cheek. “Mama, I believe this orphan train brought us the pretty little girl we prayed for.”


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107 comments on “26 July 2019

  • This story brought tears to me, Rochelle. It reminds me of a small childhood book I’ve kept entitled “Who’s Little Bird Am I?” A baby bird is looking for his mother. Each adult finds fault and tells him why he isn’t hers until a mother stork claims him and tells him he’s her little bird and she thinks he’s just right. Well written as always. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      While it’s true that many of those children ended up as indentured servants, there were stories with happy outcomes. I chose to go that route. Charity has found the parents who will love and nurture her as a cherished daughter. 😀 That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Thank you.




    • Dear Jan,

      True. Some of those poor kids ended up as nothing more that servants. However, I read quite a few personal stories that had happy endings and decided that was the way to go. There’s been enough sadness lately, hasn’t there? Thanks m’luv.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Kacey Jones W(T)F,

    So, there is hope for those with minor imperfections (not that I have any)? I keep waiting for them to start a train for senior orphans, as both of my parents are gone.

    Surely some young couple would be anxious to adopt me, feed me strained peas, and change my Depends when needed.

    I make a wonderful couch ornament,
    Rip Skinflint

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rip Skinflint,

      Do you think you could reserve a seat on that train for me? I’ve been an orphan for a very long time, too. However, feel free to keep the strained peas. Blech.

      Actually I think of your more as being a yard gnome. 😉 Thanks for swinging by. Tickets please. Next!


      Kacey Jones W(T)F


  • Lovely story, Rochelle – but those poor children waiting in line to be chosen – my heart aches for them. I believe similar line-ups occurred in WW2 in the UK when London children were evacuated to the country. Some children landed on their feet, others were ill-treated and used as virtual slaves.

    Liked by 1 person

  • My goodness! I was not aware at the scale of homeless children during the 1850’s America.
    It just goes to show that when society gets it wrong, it is the children who are abandoned and left to fend for themselves.
    I liked the uplifting story of Charity – an appropriate name – for an orphan child.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear James,

      The 19th century was definitely at time of exploitation for little ones. So many of these orphans ended up as little more than servants to the families who took them in. Happily, there were stories like Charity’s. 😀 Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • This is a beautiful story, Rochelle, and you’ve educated me again. It’s too bad not all the real stories were as happy as this one. My first thought was, “How do they screen these people?” Apparently, that was an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Nobbin,

      I don’t think there was much screening back in the day. The main objective was to get the children off the streets of New York. I’m not sure it mattered to the powers that were whether or not the children ended up in loving homes. Fortunately, there truly were some happy stories and decided I would write my own. 😉 Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve read the book and seen the movie. “Orphan Train” is incredibly moving, and this little slice of a larger story brings it home perfectly. I’m glad this child has a happy ending. Not all of them were so fortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    This was a beautifully written story. To each child a home be found – I know, we wish it were so. However, I am so very glad you chose to go the happy family route and avoided the indentured servant one.

    Shalom and lotsa love,


    Liked by 1 person

  • Ha, in your face, other kids 🙂 Sweet story, though I’m guessing it didn’t necessarily end happily for a lot of the kids who were adopted. I expect many families were looking for someone to do the housework for free…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    This was such a heart-warming story. And like others who commented, I’m glad she ended up the way she did instead of being an indentured servant. She was blessed to be adopted by a loving couple. It seems like everyone’s prayers were answered. Beautifully done.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Penny,

      In researching this story, I did read some uplifting stories of orphan train children who had grown up in loving families. 😀 That seemed the best route for my story. Thank you.




  • Your mention of Missouri reminded me that I learned, not long ago, my mother’s mother’s mother left her husband in Virginia and went to Missouri, where my mother’s mother and her siblings grew the rest of their childhoods in an orphanage (but not quite as orphans — as their mother worked at the orphanage… and, I suppose, lived there as well). I wonder if they traveled by train. Probably.

    Liked by 1 person

  • OMG this is a lovely heartfelt story. I actually have tears in my eyes reading it. Those poor children. And what an incredible thing that people did. This is beautiful. Thanks for the happy ending, Rochelle.

    And what a terrible realization I have when I wonder, in this day and age, would people do the same? And for what nefarious purpose would some people do it?

    Liked by 1 person

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