I came to live with my Grandparents in the fall of 1959. I was eight years old. It was a sad time in my life. My Father was gone and my Stepmom could not keep me. I lost my parents, my teacher my friends and all my toys. I went from living in an apartment on Court street to living in a huge house on the West side of Binghamton. I had no idea what was going on and no one would talk to me about anything. I was scared, sad and lonely.At night I would sit by my bedroom window looking and waiting for my Dad to come and get me and take me home. He never did.
My Grandmother was not happy about me moving in. She told me I was lucky they were taking me in, because no one else would.She told me that this was the time when her and Grandpa were supposed to be alone with each other and I had ruined that. I really just wanted to go home.
My Grandfather worked construction and had winters off. That December on the day after Christmas, we left for Florida. We were going to live there for the next three months.I was going to go to another new school and meet some more new kids.
My Grandparents found a nice little house to rent, but the owner did not want children there. There was some long discussion and he finally agreed to try it. I got several lectures about being seen and not heard. How I was lucky to have a place to stay and I needed to tow the line. I was not sure what that meant.
The day after we moved into our rental I went outside to check out the yard. I saw some kids playing at in the yard at the house behind us. The older boy saw me and ran over to see if I wanted to play. I got the OK from Grandma and off I went. That was the beginning of a life long relationship with the Dishman family. They brought me in the house and introduced me to their Mom. From that day on she was my Aunt Lillian. I had found a family waiting for me in Florida. A place where I fit in and I was welcome. A place where I was loved and wanted.
Aunt Lillian was a strong force in my life. She took me to church and Sunday school every week.She taught me about Jesus. She showed me that I was wanted. She was always proud of me. She was always there. One year my Grandparents couldn’t get the little house. Aunt Lillian asked if I could stay with her so I could go to the same school. What a good winter that was. One year I was doing so well in school my Grandparents left me with Aunt Lillian so I could finish the school year there.I got to ride a train home all by myself that year. I was 13.
My Aunt Lillian passed away 24 years ago today. I am forever grateful for her being in my life.