Sat. 9.14.19 3:32 Fresno Airport.
The plane, originating in Nanaimo to Vancouver, B C, Canada to San Francisco, to Fresno, USA, landed here, carrying Carmen Larson. Carmen was our daughter Nina's older sister who had been looking for Nina for 40 years! All tears and nervousness left when we met such a pleasant and loving person. Later, at dinner in our home with pizza and Nanaimo Bars for dessert, some mysteries were unraveled with incredible histories. We knew very little about Nina's past when we got her in Vancouver, B.C. on April 1, 1975.
We learned that Carmen was in kindergarten when Nina's mother left newly-born Nina with her father, Bob Larson. Bob was a truck driver who was out on the road, so his other daughter, Carmen had to stay home from kindergarten to take care of newly-born Nina. Since Carmen and Nina shared the same father, Bob instructed Carmen to warm the bottle to wrist warmth and change the diaper when it got smelly. This obviously led to very close bonding very early in Carmen's life!
Finally, Bob and Carmen set out to make their own home leaving Nina with her mother. Nina was severely abused by her birth mother. When they came back to get Nina, she was gone. The BC govt. had taken Nina away, put her into foster care and then she was adopted - - - by us! But we knew nothing about these events.
We became very alarmed when we realized Nina had serious problems. But Byron and I had no idea that abuse could be so damaging even though as educators, we had both come into contact with many afflicted children. It was with horror that we saw in our home, the deep savage damage to Nina. So I decided to search for help in counseling and to also find healing with music. This led me to study early childhood music at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, a World Seminar/Conference in Finland, the Orff Institute, and USA workshops. Music made an enormous difference in Nina's life as she learned to play the piano and was in the Fresno Bullard High School Band.
However, way back while teaching at the Old Massett Haida Indian Reserve school where my life was enriched, I had made necessary changes in education. Nina is part Haida, and so my book, Flying Away (about teaching Haida Grade 1), is dedicated to her. Nina changed our lives forever. And now meeting Carmen is a huge bonus gift of pure joy for Byron and me.