The Throwaway Kids by Peggy Aldhizer

My life began in a happy home, with successful parents, a brother and a sister. We were living the American Dream. My father had a solid job during WWII at a factory in Ohio. My mother was an actress who worked at WLW Radio and TV in Cincinnati, I remember watching her on TV acting the part of a very ill woman. Many actors she knew then would go on to become Hollywood stars in later years. My parents had all the promising beginnings of a good life. We had a nice home in one of the nicer sections of town and even had a maid who watched us. But this life was not to last, I recall my Aunt said my parent's marriage was ill fated. Once the war was over and the depression hit, my father lost his job and could only find low paying work house painting or bartending. Depressed and broke, my father turned to drinking. My mother had much bigger ambitions than this new reality with my father. She took my brother with her and left us all. I was three years old when she left, telling us that she liked boys better than girls. My sister was 4.

My father continued his downward spiral, now trying to raise two little girls alone. We lived in seven different homes during that time, moving whenever he couldn't pay the bills. Eventually, my father had a heart attack and my sister and I were taken by the state welfare department and placed in a foster home. This is when the true nightmare began.

The Throwaway Kids by Peggy Aldhizer

The older couple we were placed with told us to call them Grandma and Grandpa. But what those names imply could not be further from the truth. At the ages of 7 and 8, my sister and I became farm laborers for our new foster family. We worked from sun up to sundown in cornfields and tobacco fields. We were so small, we had carry the tobacco sticks together, one end over each of our shoulders. We were worked until we thought we couldn't do anything else. We were also excluded from all family gatherings and holidays, made to sit outside while their family was visiting, even at Christmas. We were taunted and bullied not only by "Grandma" and "Grandpa" but by their family members too. We were called whores and thieves and liars, told that we stunk up their house. We could not understand where our parents were and why no one loved us anymore. The physical and mental abuse we withstood during those seven long years still haunts my sister and I today. We have done our best to overcome it all. I am happily married and have a son and grandson of my own now. But I still had unfinished business, I needed to tell my story. I have done that now with The Throwaway Kids.

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