About the Poet ~~ Estelle P. Shrum
In my book I state that “Everyone has a story to tell.” My life has gone from one extreme to another. I was born in the “Big Apple” in 1946 at St Clair’s Hospital and raised in Manhattan until I was seven years old. Life back then was very different from what it is today. So different, that it seems like a world away. Because I was born in the first generation after the war, they called us the “Baby Boomers’ I can still remember the news war stories in the theaters before the movie would begin. Although I didn’t understand most of it, the tone and the photos scared me.
My Lord knew me before I was conceived. He knew me when I was born and fighting for my life because my mother’s blood type rejected me. He knew me when I was taken from her because she had TB and I was put in isolation while she was in an infirmary. He knew me when I developed pneumonia in the crib and fought for every breath while the doctor called for an ambulance (doctor’s came to the house in those days). He knew me through every child hood disease and when my baby carriage was side swiped by a taxi cab. He knew me and wanted me to live. He stayed with me throughout all the years, tears, and fears.
My sister and I attended Catholic school. Our school was three blocks from our apartment building. In those days you could walk to school unaccompanied by a parent. In fact, because my sister was three years older than myself, I never had a parent accompany me anywhere. The kids in our neighborhood hung out in Central Park, River Side Drive, the Museum of Natural History (it was free then), and sometimes we rented bicycles, but most of the time we walked as far as we could go to be home by dinner. We lived on the fourth floor in a rail road apartment. They called it that because every room was in line one after the other, like a box car. Life was so easy then. Everything was an adventure. It’s so sad that kids today practically have to be on a leash to keep them safe. Imagine not having to worry about your kids running the streets at five, six, and seven years old?
I remember some really sad times before I turned seven, like when our little friend, Tina, fell through the skylight on the roof of her building across the street. I remember the confusion I felt, and kept picturing her falling through the skylight. That was my first experience realizing people could die and would never come back. Or when my sister fell off the back of the sofa that was left out on the street for trash, and tumbled over the cellar gate down onto the cement and fractured her skull. I remember it to this day. It is still vivid and I can still see myself running down the steps and seeing blood pour out her ear. I can still hear the kids screaming to get my parents who were at the corner bar. The next day my sweet little friends were coming up to me and asking if my sister was dead. Kids are so cute!
I remember going to Catholic school and being afraid of the Nuns. Mostly, though, I remember having fun. I loved to play dress up, I loved paper dolls, and coloring was like having a cartoon come to life. My sister and I would lock our cat in the closet and pretend he was a lion. We would dress him up in our doll clothes, and sometimes pretend he was our baby. We used to sit on the window sills, of course we didn’t have window screens back then, so it was easy for us to throw water balloons on the unsuspecting people that walked by. We never worried about falling out the window, until that accident with Tina.
My mother was a waitress and my dad worked at company that collected money from parking meters, and he also drove a taxi cab at night. I remember going to the PAL (Police Athletic League) after school to play ball, run around, and doing crafts. I remember going to clinics to get our teeth fixed, (without any Novocain) while we hung on the chair screaming, and check-ups when we were sick. Back then there were clinics, and PAL, YMCA and they were all paid for by donations. Somehow everyone got taken care of. Amazing!
For me, those were the good old days, but life began to get complicated and much too confusing for a child. Manhattan started to get a large amount of immigration, and many people didn’t like their neighborhoods changing, so division of language and ethics got in the way of good will. Up until then I had no idea there was prejudice against, race, color, or creed. All I knew was that something changed in our household because of an unimaginable attack on my mother and our lives were never the same. Childhood innocence was forever changed…
If you would like to read my full story you can find it on my website, heistheword.com. My book was published in 2002 but I no longer have my contract.
“He Is the Word”: Scriptural Poetry That Answer’s Biblical Questions, has a compelling testimony and was printed October 2, 2006 and revised on Sep 11, 2013 – Rated (4.7 out of 5 stars). I cancelled my contract so it is no longer on the market but can still be found on online stores.
Please help spread God’s Word. Thank you.
Estelle P. Shrum