Before boarding the orphan train, kids were given a bath and fancy new clothing.
Matrons warned them to keep those clothes tidy. That could be challenging on a train journey—especially a trip that could last a week or longer.
Still, Lee made an effort. That first night on the train, he removed his suit jacket and laid it out neatly. He made sure the pink envelope with his father’s address was tucked safely in the pocket.
In the morning, the envelope had vanished. Lee looked everywhere. When he asked the matron for help, she ordered him to return to his seat.
“Where you’re going, you won’t be needing that envelope,” the matron said.
Lee knew she had taken the envelope—but he felt helpless. First his mother had died, and then he’d spent two miserable years at an orphanage. Now he’d lost his only connection to his father.
At night, Lee lay there with tears rolling down his cheeks. “How have I lost so much?” he wondered.