A SPECIAL NOTE to the reader:
Each blog about the S.H.E. Anthology has
a unique excerpt to keep things fresh.
In the book, The Evans Terrace Girls give their account of what happened when 7 or more parents died within a year or 2 of each other in a small subdivision of about 110 homes. People started saying their land was CURSED. The children heard those rumors about their subdivision and were scared to death. Then, when a neighbor lost her dad to a blood clot after surgery, the kids felt the need to help. When one of the girls heard the rumor that the mourning family ran out of milk, she setup a traditional solution or proverbial lemonade stand. That day, other angels or young children arrived; many of those neighbor kids ran door to door selling half glasses of hot lemonade. They raised enough quarters to buy milk and other perishables. More importantly, they formed a group that became a club and led their neighborhood out of grief. An excerpt from their story can be found later in this article. Meanwhile, the reason the S.H.E Anthology was compiled centers on a very sad event in our nation’s history.
When I heard about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, due to my experiences with many deaths in our small community within a short period of time, I felt that the kids and folks might feel less alienated and alone if they were shown the light at the end of their tunnels. I wanted to find a way to be empower the children and their community while revealing to them a HOPE that things can and do get better. I thought that town might enjoy rhetoric from those kindred spirits. PLUS, I felt others including health care professionals might enjoy those types of stories.
After pondering a bit, God illuminated my next step. Thinking of three books that I had partial copyrights to, I began compiling that book. Plus, I immediately had the title of an anthology in my mind. By the way, the S.H.E. Anthology is NOT a romance anthology but it was written by all females. In this book, the girls recollected traumas, mostly related to death, that they faced while in elementary school. Their stories reveal their path out of mourning along with many minor miracles that they encountered. Their tales of hope and inspiration are true accounts from those children turned authors. One writer and illustrator is only six; Thai wanted to be a part of empowering children to survive harsh things in life; so, her piece is story number three in this compilation.
The abbreviation ‘S.H.E’ also refers to Sandy Hook Elementary. Isn’t God the best at setting up coincidences?
This book is meant to empower Newton as well as others that read it. We hope that this anthology, also, sheds some new light on grief recovery in the minds of teachers, mental health professionals, and adults handling major life changes.
The compilation’s royalties will help charities involved in grief counseling or with mental health issues- especially for children therapies for the types of traumas witnessing massacres produce. For example, one local group ‘New Hope for Kids’ (Orlando) will get some of the profits from this compilation because the group that started this organization helped Stacey over 20 years ago; her story is in this anthology as well as excerpts in my blog @
The club founded after the multiple parental deaths and rumored curse lasted four years or until its members became too busy with teenage life to get together as often for charity work; some went off to do their good works alone but continued caring about social and community issues. The club revived for a year or two just before the remaining girls went off to college. The following excerpt shows how a lemonade stand introduced many children and their community to random acts of kindness. Their full story is in the anthology.
Our oldest (club) member, my mom, went against many obstacles to keep our club’s spirit alive. Suddenly, she was teaching our enthusiasm to her current religion class. In her lectures, she retold our stories exciting her class into action. Plus, she added to their thrill “The Power of Prayer.”
One day, in the year 1999, a hurricane was poised to ravage all of Florida. It looked more ominous than the Y2K bug with arms that could sweep across the peninsula and wipe us out. Parents sent their children to class that Monday night. My mom suspects it was to get them out from underfoot more than an act of faith. First, our club sponsor told her class about the continental shelf as well as the upper wind currents that could spare this area a direct and deadly strike. Then, she explained the power of prayer coupled with believers left in a city and the promise God makes to spare these places. “Without the ‘t’ you simply have rust. With the ‘t’ you suddenly have trust. You have to really trust God will do what is best!” My mom challenged her class to faith and hope. So, the class prayed with our club mentor guiding a very simple prayer.
“God, please, slow this level four hurricane by breaking up the wind patterns and push it away from us to a less densely populated place. If possible keep it off shore and less dangerous than it is tonight. Thank-you.”
The next week, the children entered the class a buzz about their hurricane. “Did you see what happened?”
Amazement was short lived because their leader had a new tone. “We forgot to ask God to drop the water over the ocean and spare anyone flooding concerns. Our prayer was answered, but it harmed others. So, what should we do?”
“Help them!” Kacey chimed in.
“How?” Their teacher asked.
“Send them water,” Caitlin stated matter of factly.
“I think they have enough water up there in Carolina,” A jester noted.
“She means our bottled water,” Their teacher’s tone reprimanded.
“We could send them clothes, too!” Kacey added.
“I heard that after Hurricane Andrew clothes rotted before they could be distributed. Money is always helpful. We can send money to the Red Cross,” The mentor continued her role as advocate of charity.
“Raise money with bake sales,” Caitlin enthusiastically chortled.
“Quicker methods with less work should be found,” Their teacher decided. “How about doing a collection. After all, this is a church and people are used to giving money. We could collect pennies. Most people don’t care about their loose change. We could collect it. ‘Pennies for People’ could be our goal and slogan.”
“Sounds good,” Kacey stood up pulling change from her pocket.
“Let’s advertise,” a male yelled out from a group that had been conversing the whole time. “We need to let other classes participate.”
“Okay, this table needs to make up a flyer for distribution. This table needs to find newspaper articles about the tragedy and make up a bulletin board, here,” Their leader put their charity in motion.
“What about us?” The third group asked.
“You are my counters. Each week, you will tally our money so we can convert it and pay the Red Cross as we go.”
“What is our goal?” Kacey interrupted.
“As much as possible,” Caitlin stated the obvious.
“Eight hundred dollars,” A student added quietly.
“How about a thousand, it is a more even number!” Another added.
“It will never happen,” I informed my mother in the car on the way home as she shared her ideas with me.
“What about the lemonade stand and the beds for the orphans,” She argued.
A few Mondays later, the director of religion approached my mother before class. I was still in her room awaiting the bell. “We are concerned with your class project,” Ted began.
“What about it?” Mom resolved to listen before reacting.
“Well, the counters at the church refuse to count a thousand dollars worth of pennies. Father Glenn fears that your class will be vandalized for the pennies, and he just replaced all the door locks.”
Perplexed, her thoughts were spoken aloud, “First, there will never be a thousand dollars in this classroom because have you ever tried to lift a hundred dollars in pennies? You need a suitcase on rollers to get it to a bank. It is just too heavy! I have done it before! So I can assure you, every hundred dollars will be converted to a check and mailed off quickly. So Father Glenn should not worry. ” Now, she became indignant, “As for the counters, tell them to worry about real issues.” Sarcastically, this lady continued, “Do you think these kids would let anyone besides them count their money? Part of their fun and glory is the grand totals. They want to know their collection amounts immediately. I am sure I will have more than enough counter! Thank-you very much!”
“Okay, I’ll tell the church their concerns were remedied before we met on this subject!”
“I am going to help you,” I added belligerent. “I didn’t think your pennies project would succeed. After listening to that stupid lecture, I am resurrecting the club, and we will help you. This church’s leaders are whack!”
My mother was overwhelmed when her adult aide entered the class. After recapping the story, Liz wailed, “No, this church could not stop the charity! What is wrong with them?”
Our leader was wavering. “I do not know. I think we should pray about it,” My mom stated. After the prayer, upon lifting our eyes, we noticed a huge bag of pennies pinned to the bulletin board. “Where did these come from?”
“It is a sign,” I noted. “God wants us to continue our task regardless of the problems Ted brought up.”
So, we did. I called a meeting of our remaining members of the Helping Hands Club. Kate and Tina had moved. Mia and Ann went back to Canada after a divorce. Lee was living out of our area due to a divorce as well. Jane was busy with competitive gymnastics and did not attend this meeting. I called our group to order with Nicole, Joy, and I at the helm of our club.
What other minor miracles happened when these angels joined forces with others to bring a cursed community back to life and thru more miracle events? Read The Evans Terrace Girls or their section in the S.H.E. Anthology.
The eBook copy of the S.H.E Anthology is available @
The paperback version comes in BLACK & WHITE on AMAZON @
Plus, the S.H.E Anthology is in color paperback format @
as a KINDLE @
in other eBook formats @ SMASHWORDS.com @
So, come on buy to be inspired and help grieving children.
It’s a WIN-WIN.
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