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Mercy Train
A poignant look at three generations struggling with loss and love.
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What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

Created: 06/03/12

Replies: 26

Posted Jun. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 369

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What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

How much did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel? What touched you most
about Violet’s story? Did reading Mercy Train make you want to learn more?


Posted Jun. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gretchenm

Join Date: 06/04/12

Posts: 7

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I had not heard of mercy trains and found it interesting how a priest and a nun were behind the original movement. It always amazes me how during certain periods of our history children were taken from their families for whatever reason without laws in place to protect them. So different from today's standards!


Posted Jun. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
katerha

Join Date: 02/16/12

Posts: 3

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I had not heard of orphan trains before reading this novel however I was aware of orphans being "used" as laborers for families. Interesting and sad part of history.


Posted Jun. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terrio

Join Date: 08/16/11

Posts: 41

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I did not know about orphan trains before reading the book, but I read a bit about them afterwards. I think it's one of those examples of well-meaning individuals coming up with a "solution" to a huge problem (thousands of homeless children living on the streets of NYC) without considering all the potential ramifications. There's no doubt that some children were much better off with their new families, whereas others were exploited and abused. I was also fascinated to learn that the orphan trains are considered to be the forerunner of the US foster care program.


Posted Jun. 05, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
annar

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 31

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

Violet wanted so much for her Mother to "be a Mother" and take care of her. However, she did learn to take care of herself. I have heard of Orphan Trains before and read more about them since reading the book.


Posted Jun. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 116

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RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

Like any little girl, Violet did not want to leave the only mother she knew nor her friends. It wasn't a good life but it was the only life she knew. No, I knew nothing about the orphan trains. It is sad that the church stepped to supposedly solve the problem of the children on the streets but instead basically sold many of the children into servitude. I'm not sure I want to know more about the orphans trains. It would probably just make me angry about what was done to the children.


Posted Jun. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I'd never heard of mercy trains before reading this book, either. It's horrible for kids to face living in the streets but I have mixed feelings about sending them away, too. Hard to know what's the better option. Neither is ideal.


Posted Jun. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 209

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RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I was familiar with the orphan trains from discussions with my parents. They were acquainted with a few children who had come to their area of rural Iowa on those trains. At the time I heard about it these children were all adults with families of their own and I as I remember it my parents gave me the impression that they had basically been adopted into the families and were treated well. So I am sure that there were some very good stories but can well believe that it wasn't that way for all of those children.


Posted Jun. 07, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
djn

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 50

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RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I only had a passing knowledge of orphan trains...never heard them called mercy trains...I think they were probably well meaning, but many times what we think will be a better situation leaves out some crucial parts that aren't addressed...like "I still will miss my mother", or the cruel new master....


Posted Jun. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 29

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I had heard of the orphan trains, but did not know the details.
I was impressed by the strength of Violet. It had to be so scary for her to leave everything behind. Most children would keep repeating the cycle with their mother; hoping the next time her mother would get her life together and find a way for them to live together. Joycew


Posted Jun. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 93

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RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I had heard of Orphan trains and I had used some testimonials of people who actually were "orphans" with my Middle school students and there were some people in my town that actually came here on orphan trains and our Library did some newspaper articles about them. I guess what surprised me the most when I learned about them was that many of the children were like Violet and actually had parents. Something I learned was that there were some records found in an old office that did give some of the children information about their pasts. Wasn't it amazing that the group was allowed to even do that. In many cases it turned out well for the children, but even those children had questions and suffered from not knowing their pasts. I thought Violet's story was the most interesting of the three.


Posted Jun. 11, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
djn

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 50

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RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

Thanks for the information about the mercy trains...certainly was interesting time...


Posted Jun. 11, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
CoventryReader

Join Date: 08/04/11

Posts: 22

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

Violet's story held such sadness. It seemed to pass from mother to daughter as you read how they lived out their lives. Violet was a very strong person, even when she was a child. I wasn't aware of the orphan trains; I had never read anything about them. While I was reading the book I would chat with friends and family about the book and not one person had ever heard of the train that brought these children so far away from home. I think this book will open our eyes about something that happened and never made it intto a history book, even though it involved so many children.


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
tracyb

Join Date: 09/22/11

Posts: 22

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I had never heard of the "Mercy Trains" Violet seemed like a child that became street smart quickly. The fact that this is a secret in both our history and the children's lives. I can't imagine the implied forgetting the past 11 years, feeling ashamed of who you were & where you came from.


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
elizabethw

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 9

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I knew about orphan trains as some stopped in Arkansas and an orphanage of sorts was provided for those who were not selected. That continues to be a part of the area's history. What I did not know was the numbers of children involved and exactly who those orphans were. I thought they were all orphans. I also had never heard them referred to as "mercy" trains although I understand how the term came to be used. How very sad that well-meaning souls at times "kidnapped" children for good.

elizabethw


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 33

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I didn't know about orphan trains before reading this book. I felt so badly for Violet, and I can sympathize with why she made the decision she did. I have been involved with organizations that help prevent girls from entering the sex trade, so I was relieved for the character that she didn't end up with that fate; though of course was sad that she didn't end up with the traditional family that she longed for. I would be interested in learning more about orphan trains.


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
raynat

Join Date: 02/29/12

Posts: 22

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I had never heard of the Mercy Train before this novel. It was hard to believe such small children were out in the street with no supervision. Very sad for them.


I identified with Caroline since I am also an adoptive mother. Although I didn't feel anything like her. I was ready to be a mother and took it on with a positive attitude. Also I don't approve of open adoption so I wouldn't like all the people in the story to be involved in our lives.

I loaned this book to several of my friends and they just said it was O.K. I liked the book and wanted to find out how they all interacted with each other even though I wouldn't like that for my life.
Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Beth350

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 62

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RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I was slightly aware of the orphan "mercy trains" but this book really brought the whole concept to life. I guess my initial impression was that the children on the trains were, in fact, orphans and not children who were being given up. Such a sad situation.


Posted Jun. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gabkwoman

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 2

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I had read about the orphan trains before.
What touched me most about Violet's situation and that of the other children was the rejection they encountered along the way at the "stops" when they were not chosen. What a blow to be in such a situation and then face rejection after rejection!


Posted Jun. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
CoventryReader

Join Date: 08/04/11

Posts: 22

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I was touched by Violet's level of maturity. She made a life-altering decision on her own. She decide to leave her mother at a young age. I was also touched by her bravery; to pick up and go without regret. she had some mixed feelings once she was on the train, but she saw it through to the ending of her being placed in a hospital to work in the kitchen. She couldn't believe how lucky she was to have her own room with a window that looked out on a pond.


Posted Jun. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 116

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RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

gabkwoman made a good point about the rejection the children felt at each stop when they were not selected. How horrible that must have been for them!


Posted Jun. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Daveann

Join Date: 07/17/11

Posts: 6

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I had never heard of Mercy/Orphan trains before. Though Violets mother had an addiction problem, it is very sad to think that other parents had to put children on the train just because they couldnt take care of them.


Posted Jun. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianes

Join Date: 05/16/11

Posts: 53

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RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

Yes I did read about them in other novels, but I never knew that they disguised the where abouts of the children to such an extent that their parents or parent or even a relative could never find them again. I suppose that was done for the protection of the children but I think they should have taken it on a case to cases basis. So many parents were having difficulties during that time period and I think if there situations had changed they should have a least been able to be told that their children were all right.


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dhaupt

Join Date: 06/20/12

Posts: 10

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I loved her never give up attitude, her tenacity and her ability to form a new life from the old one. And in my opinion without the Hospital and the motherly nurse and fatherly doctor what kind of life would she have had in NYC.


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 80

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RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

Violet was a very strong character and very mature. She knew that she had no life in NYC and made the best decision she could.

I knew a little bit about orphan trains but did not know how many children were sent to the West -- I was amazed when I read how many there were. Even though I knew little about the trains, this novel made it more real.


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeanettel

Join Date: 01/05/12

Posts: 19

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

The early twentieth century was a very difficult time in the world with lots of poverty and hunger and New York was no exception, Violet who was only 11 years old had to develop her survival instincts quickly. I had never heard of the mercy trains and the relocation of thousands of children to the West.


Posted Jun. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
aprilp

Join Date: 06/21/12

Posts: 6

RE: What touched you most about Violet’s story? Did you know about orphan trains before reading this novel?

I had never heard of the orphan trains before this story, very interesting part of America's history! I was very sad for Violet in regards to her mother and the fact that she just couldn't get herself together for her daughter's sake. I think because Violet did leave at an earlier age she didn't seem to have the hatred she might of had for her mother if she had stuck around into her teen years, this could have turned into a whole different story then! Violet seemed to feel sorry for her mom more than anything else and I think that came with Violet's age she still felt unconditional love for her mother and was too young and innocent to know any different.


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