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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sunday School (10/25/07)

TITLE: Childhood Memories
By Patricia Todd


It was the summer of 1956. I was four years old. Everything seemed to be going fine for my elder brother, my baby sister and I. We were living with my parents on a small farm about half a mile from the sea. Then everything changed dramatically.

My brother and I didn't know that my mother was expecting another baby. Sadly she slipped and fell while carrying buckets in the yard. She hurt the base of her spine and was taken to hospital. My father tried his best to look after my brother and I with some help from a local lady, but things didn't work out.

The next thing we knew my brother and I were sent to the local orphanage. This was a rather terrifying experience. The building was old and rambling and the other children tried to frighten me by telling me there were bats in the dormitory. I had no idea what bats were but they sounded quite scary. It was strange to sleep in the little bed in the dormitory without my brother who was put in a different one.

However, as it turned out that I had whooping cough, I didn't stay long at the orphanage. Instead I was taken by ambulance to the fever hospital some twenty-four miles away. I remember the nurse who accompanied me in the ambulance was very kind and sang songs on the way. The fever hospital was rather grim and I was put in an isolation ward. For what seemed like an eternity I just slept or sat up in bed. I had no visitors because the hospital was so far from home. Life seemed sad and lonely. Eventually I was re-united with my brother who it transpired had been admitted later. That was a joyful day.

Finally we returned home to find we now had two baby sisters. It was good to be back with our family. I then had to start going to school. The time in the isolation ward had made me rather quiet and withdrawn. I found school quite daunting. Some of the teachers were often cross and I was not used to being among so many children.

My father started taking us to church with him and we went to Sunday School. I remember that as a happy experience. The lady in charge of the Sunday School was called Mrs. Stewart and she always seemed to be so cheerful and welcoming. She had a way of making each child feel that they mattered. The individual teachers were very nice too. We used to get little stamps depicting a Bible scene each week to put in our attendance book. At Christmas we did a nativity play and every child had a part. There was also a Christmas party which was great fun. At the end of the year we had a special children's day service when we sang songs that we had learned to the rest of the congregation. Everyone received a book as a prize for their attendance. Finally we had a Sunday School outing to the beach and played games in the sand.

To me Sunday School was a very happy place where people made me feel that I was loved. Possibly I needed to know this more than some did because of some of the experiences I had had as a child. When I was older I did teach in Sunday School for a while. Sometimes it is hard to think of what I achieved. Did the children that I taught go on to become committed Christians? I don' know, but I would like to think that they saw something of Jesus in me, that they felt loved and cared for just as I did by the Sunday School staff when I was a child.

Maybe, you teach in Sunday School today and, if so, it may be vastly different from the Sunday School that I experienced all those years ago. However, I trust one thing is the same and that is the sense of love and care which children feel there. We never know what a child may have gone through or be going through. Therefore let Sunday School be a place of peace and love and never under-estimate the power of God's love to work in a child's life.

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This article has been read 711 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw11/01/07
Sad in the beginning, heart-warming in the end. Good story!
Laury Hubrich 11/02/07
Thank you for sharing your memories with all of us. How sad, though. Did your mom end up having twins? Just wondering... Good job!
Lynda Schultz 11/06/07
Nice balance of bitter and sweet. Well done.
c clemons11/06/07
I like the message of this "teach one, reach one" it was a little rough in places but with a little reworking I think this can be quite good.
Anne Linington11/08/07
My only suggestion would be starting the story in the middle, perhaps in the Orphanage dormitory and paint a picture of what it was like, then go back to explaining how you came to be there. This grabs the attention at the outset and you can fill in the detail afterwards.