Cry into the Wind
Close your eyes and imagine your life living in the back of a pick up truck with six other siblings, an alcoholic father, a mother who was caught between more than just a rock and hard place. Imagine having to run away from landlords, a father whose temper reeked of alcohol and the abuse you took was not just physical. Imagine having little food to eat and your father using what little her earned for himself to get drunk and on other woman. Imagine living in a life that is less than poverty. The world of Othello Bach and her siblings was just this and when you open your eyes you won’t see much more than the fields they passed, the farmhouse they would never live in and the running water in a sink that they would never drink. Cry Into the Wind will bring tears to your eyes, anger within your heart and the hope that no other child will ever have to endure what she and her siblings did. Imagine your home living in a field. Imagine a father who just did not care. Imagine having to beg to be allowed to go to the bathroom.
Life did not get much better for Othello as they all realized food was scarce, their father was usually never home and they lived for a long time in trench covered with a tarp to prevent the rain from soaking them. Going to school was difficult and imagine having no shoes. A father who was abusive and a mother who tried so hard this family survived on their strength and love alone. As you hear the voice of the author you can feel the pain, see the tears they shed and simple joys and triumphs they experience even though they are short lived. Imagine receiving a homemade sweet potato doll for Christmas made with love by your mother. Imagine hand made decorations cut out from paper. But, what happens when Othello’s uncles come to visit bearing food and the police come and cruelly take it away. With no regard for the children and a father whose answer to everything is anger and the belt. No child should ever live this life and maybe if kids today read this book that would appreciate even a simple present like a hug.
Othello, our author learns many lessons even before her eighth birthday. When neighbor offers to make her a birthday party she is thrilled and cannot understand why her mother has mixed feelings until she herself realizes just how mean kids can be. Next, she becomes friends with a young girl named Kathryn who invites her to her home for lunch. But, when she reciprocates what happens will help you understand the cruelty in this world and the lack of understanding of others when some have and others do not. Running from her house Kathryn never looked back. Being poor does not make you a bad person or less of a human being. Sad, to think others do not see it that way. Tragedy strikes as a fire breaks out and their mother dies leaving them all alone with their father. Her first encounter with her father was not exactly what a young girl should endure. After that they were sent to live in an orphanage and the conditions and the treatment were worse than horrific and the abuse alone angered me as Ms. Hornaby needed a night in the basement herself. Separated from her brothers and sisters and forced to live in this place they were finally liberated by their father but for how long? Her older brother Don remained in Colorado with Mason the two that she counted on and really loved. Gordon the youngest lived in Oklahoma with her aunt and uncle. Then, the truth came out as they learned more about their new home but their father was not going to be there for very long. Telling them they were going to be alone and that Mason would be there at night taking Thurmond with him to earn some money. A simple question was asked: What about school? Telling them he had to leave in order to give them food and clothing. But, the food did not last and things only got worse. Othello was humiliated in school, her father beat her mercilessly and did things that most parents should and would not. Then her brother insisted she do something and the end result was not exactly what a brother and sister should be doing. But, when the author relates how her brother sent money home for their care and he learns that they were sent to an orphanage things change. Another orphanage this time in Texas called Tipon Orphan Home. Never looking back at them their father left them and with a feeling of hopelessness Othello, Amy and Jenny once again were left alone. The conditions were so bad that she and Jenny decided to escape only to return again. But, Othello had nightmares and kept dreaming about being locked away in room with an open coffin. This book brings out the horrific ways parents, teachers, those that are supposed to nurture kids and protect them use their power to abuse them and take advantage of their youth. Living with her father was not any different than the abuse she took living in the orphanage. As you hear the voice of the author it changes from beginning to middle to end as at times it is one of hope, then heartache and then despair always hoping to find that one positive that would change it all. From working in the laundry to the kitchen to the unnecessary beatings she and her sister endured Othello withstood more than anyone should in a lifetime even before she reached her ten. But, when she turned 12 things changed at the orphanage and her father came to see them to take them for the weekend. Leaving them alone and then making them wait until he took care of his male needs with Othello. How can a father abuse a child like that and how did she deal with his betrayals only wanting him to care for her and her sisters and brothers. Then the most precious gift of all she bestowed upon herself. She learned to read and the whole world opened up to her because now she could read her brother’s letters and the bond was even closer. Not only that it seemed to ease her way with Ms. Polk her matron. Othello was bright, full of life and made sure she protected her family when she could.
Then, a miracle happens and her brother Don returns from Korea. Things changed for a while since he and his family came to visit and the rest were united for a short time. Then the unthinkable happens at the orphanage and the abuse roars on even worse several children were raped. The ending will astound you as Othello gets punished for reporting what we all know is wrong and should not have been swept under the rug.
When you read the Epilogue you will know what the fate of her family members and the courage it took for Othello to forge ahead, go after what she wants and never ever have to Cry Into The Wind Again and let her prayers and wishes fly away.
The final chapter is quite compelling and can be used as a resource for anyone who has ever been a victim of any type of abuse: Regaining, Self Respect. “Before you can succeed at anything, you must decide what you want to do, and create a plan of action to make it happen. You certainly did. Abuse of any type is wrong and the way the children in the orphanage in Texas and Oklahoma were treated is beyond horrific and the fact that there are places today and kids in foster care that are enduring the same type of treatment equally as horrific. I started with review with Close your eyes and picture your life in a field filled with mud. Now: Open them and realize that everyone needs to protect the children from harm and the picture painted in the first chapters of this book should not be the ones painted in real life for anyone. She concludes with the Happiness Program and I will quote one line to complete this review of this outstanding memoir: “ There is Power within you that is sufficient to overcome all obstacles.” “God gave you that control because God is Love!
I dedicate this to all children who seek help and hopefully will be rescued and receive it. I dedicate this to the memory of Mason and Thurmond and to an author who shared her thoughts, her life and her goals with us and achieved so much in her life. Thank you for sending me this book to review.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
This book gets FIVE HUGE HUGS AND FIVE WISHES THAT WILL NOT CRY INTO THE WIND: THEY WILL BE HEARD!
It was not uncommon for Othello and her family to be referred to by others as "white trash." What Othello really wanted in life was something to eat other than greens, a pair of shiny black shoes and a rubber doll. Her mother told her she might as well, "cry into the wind" because the possibility of getting any of those was next to none - hence the name of the book.