The Dandelion and The Orchid Memories of my Sister I remember my sister as a three year old and I was only six months old. I remember that my sister was very abused by my mother. I remember that my sister was put in a French Catholic boarding school. The next time I remember my sister, I was 8 years old and she was eleven. My new stepfather, Lee, had brought her home form the boarding school to live with us . We were happy to be together again and we have many happy childhood memories but we also have difficult memories because my step-dad was an alcoholic as was my own father, George, and my mother's second husband, Jake . My sister was diagnosed as retarded but basically she was only slow to learn. Lee was good to us and soon we had a little house. The only problem was the drinking, the fighting, and my mother's abusive ways. Valerie was always an "orchid" in my mind. She was delicate and easily crushed. I was a "dandelion!" Mow me down, weed me out, and I still popped up and thrived. Valerie was destroyed by our vicious family. Although she never graduated from High School, Valerie passed a General Education test and she left home at seventeen to join the army. The following year, she was engaged but her future husband died before the wedding, then she traveled to California where she met Howard. I remember when my sister was beaten and raped during the Watts Riot. She spent several months in the hospital. She moved to Seattle and struggled there to live but she loved Seattle. After all these years, (she is now sixty-eight) the Orchid "Valerie" is home with her sister, the Dandelion, and I am very relieved and happy The dandelion will take care of the Orchid with the greatest of care and unconditional love. My favorite verses in this book are 'Empty House', 'Welcome to the Pit', and "Old Photographs on "Past Boulevard'. By VeAnn Campbell, Her Sister
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