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An Astonishing Gift: Christmas Memories from Harry Brown

Is it too early to talk about Christmas?

Glow in the dark watchOne Christmas morning at Astor, I was opening gifts retrospectively, donations that included a baseball mitt, model car, model plane, paint by numbers, etc. Nice things! I opened yet another gift box and found an unbelievable treasure.

Inside this Christmas present was a book, a fountain pen and a Timex watch that glowed in the dark (the book remains my singular reminder of this moment in my life at Astor). Also there was a card with a very long letter written inside; my mother introduced me to my family!

I never knew I was different…

though I figured it out in short notice, the “normal” routines at Astor made it quite obvious, kids coming and going. Families visiting and leaving. Boys away for the holidays returning for year round school or never to return. However, not me! No one came for me, no one visited, I did not go home for the holidays, in my heart Astor was indeed my home.

Boy holding toy train That did not prepare me very well for the day I met my mother…

Still she wasn’t just another foster mother, or my new adopter and she definitely was not imaginary! She informed me I had a brother (separated from me at six years old and thought long lost), and a sister.

She also sent along a black and white Polaroid picture of herself and my sister as well! I had a family! No longer did I feel different. This led to my first family meeting and follow up visits to and from my mother’s home. This eventually led to a lost hope for change, returning to a family I never knew I had. Not a very long time later I left Astor and moved to my mothers!

More to come…

One comment on “An Astonishing Gift: Christmas Memories from Harry Brown

  1. catherine manekas says:

    I was 6 years old when i came to live at astor home it was 1964i was abused before i came to live there they showed me love and kindness. something i never new before i learned how. to trust again christmas was awsome i recall 4 diffrent santas before during and after christmas i wanted a raidio and got it sister imaculatta was my favorte person she eas my teacher and my friend the best years of my. childhood were spent at astor home if i could say anything to the nuns and the imaculite unite. th its. this thank u for the love and kindness i love and miss all of u I'm sure by now most staff had passsed away I'm 55 now but i will allways love all of u and hold the memory of you close to my heart thank you for helping me

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