Your memories could fill a thousand scrapbooks.
On this page here, you’d glue that first-day-of-school smell. If you could, you’d paste the sound of your father coming home from work. Your moth-er’s voice would be saved between pages of perfect-weather days, lost loves and hot cocoa. You’d fasten down puppy breath, running through sprinklers, and birthday cake.
You could fill volumes with the memories you hold, but Vivian Daly has packed hers in boxes enough to fill an attic. And in the new book “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline, the time has come to empty them.
Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayers hoped that Ralph and Dina’s house would be the last one she’d have to endure; she’d cycle out of the foster care system soon, and a last-minute move was ridiculous. It was obvious, though, that Dina didn’t like her, so Molly started packing after she was caught stealing a ratty library paperback. She wanted the book and she was sure Dina wanted a convenient excuse to kick her out.
Molly knew she was facing either a new foster home or short-time juvie, until her friend-cum-boyfriend, Jack, came up with another solution: His mother worked for a 91-year-old woman who needed help cleaning her house. It was the perfect place for Molly to serve her community-service punishment. It was the perfect place to wait out her time in the foster system.
Molly figured she’d be bored.
She didn’t figure that Vivian Daly would be so interesting, and she began to think Vivian would be a good subject for a senior-year project on “portage.” Surely in her 91 years, Vivian had carried something dear from one place to another.