Roots

Train Child

a woman now she

lives each day that is given

past has no import

to a young farm girl

nor the woman she became

husband, ten children

it would change nothing

the moment is what matters

today’s crop is all

the long train ride west

just words from a past long gone

that child’s tears long dried

lineage of blood

incarnations of the soul

paint her here and now

One day my mother recounted a long ago conversation with her own mother, Herminia (Minnie). She said she was a Bohemian* and adopted into by the Lozanos, a Hispanic farm family. Any memory before that was long gone, and now she is long dead. 

Was she one of many of the Orphan Train children, sent out to work the land, and forever to never know her roots?

Bohemian?  I always knew that old photograph of my grandmother and grandfather, Minnie and Blaz, looking for all the world like the famous ‘American Gothic‘ seemed somehow not to fit into the mold of the neighborhood where she and he were raised. According to my father. Her husband, Blaz Guzman, was referred to as the squarehead*** by some neighbors.

Notes: *Bohemia, Czech Čechy, German Böhmen, historical country of Central Europe…

**Orphan trains. East Texas became a significant milestone in the children’s journey. Between 1854 and 1929, over a quarter of a million orphans and unwanted children were taken out of New York City and given away at train stations across America.

*** Squarehead. An ethnic slur directed at German and Scandinavian immigrants.

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