We were best friends right from the start of the fourth grade at Roosevelt Elementary school in Boise, Idaho. It was September of 1962. We lived two blocks apart, so we walked to and from school every day. I lived in a quaint little yellow house shared with my parents, and she lived in a big gray building with lots of other children. Her parents had abandoned their five daughters a year before and now Carrie was a resident of the Idaho Children’s Home. She always had a smile, her sweet face accentuated with deep dimples. But, her soft brown eyes told far more of a story than her happy disposition ever did. No doubt, Carrie was acquainted with sadness and loss.
Her charming personality afforded her many opportunities for friendship. Teachers adored her. Despite several attempts by classmates to befriend her, she was my shadow and stayed close by my side. Carrie spent many a weekend at our house, and gravitated to my mother for the maternal affection she craved. I was always more than happy to share the blessings of my family and home life with her. She went to church with us frequently, and we even attended a week long summer camp together. She accompanied us on weekend camping trips along the Payette River and in the Idaho mountains.
Just before the beginning of fifth grade, Carrie sadly informed me that there was a family from Texas that was interested in adopting her. Unfortunately, their interest did not extend to Carrie’s sisters, the youngest of which was only two-years-old. We were both frightened at the prospect of her being taken away – especially to Texas. I promised her that I would talk to my parents about adopting her so that she wouldn’t have to move and live with people she didn’t know. Neither of us was aware that the adoption process was well under way, and that we had very little time to spend together – or very little to say about her eventual destination.
A couple of days passed and I walked to the Children’s Home to see if Carrie could come to my house and play. A social worker met me at the front door and said that she was already gone. What? How could this be? I would not be able to write her or have any contact, she said. Carrie had moved to Texas to start a new life. I cried all the way back home.
I never had the chance to say goodbye to Carrie. I still miss her – after 54 years I think about her and wonder where she is. I can only pray that she found all the happiness she sought.