A small New England town makes two discoveries, an abandoned four year girl, and a dead young woman. Are they connected? Did the woman kill herself? Mrs. Hallaway pushed those questions aside as she discovered the joy of caring for Lydia, the four year Latino youngster. The note attached to the child's coat specifically warned against bringing her back to her family. "They no good" was the explanation. Since her husband's death she rarely interacted with people outside her shop. Her friend, Mr. Washington, may have been the only resident of the town to visit her. Adoption plans played in her mind though she never uttered a word. The plans, however, came to a halt when the sheriff announced that the Grandfather was on his way. “Were they “the bad people”? What happened to the mother, why was she here? Who was she running away from? Mrs. Hallaway made an unconscious decision to find out and when a snow storm hit’s the region, stranding the visitors she finds her chance.
And so Mrs. Hallaway was left alone with the girl, who followed Stacy’s departure with her eyes. Not sure what to say, Mrs. Hallaway tried to make the little girl more comfortable by removing her coat. At the rate Mr. Washington walked, it might be a while before the sheriff came by. Of course, it would have been a lot easier to just call, but he seemed too pleased and intent about walking, so neither Stacy nor Mrs. Hallaway mentioned the phone. Besides, he was probably hoping to find the parents and personally give them the news. He was like that, wanting to see relief or happiness transform a person's features into a sigh or a smile. Once her coat was removed, she noticed a name written on its label. Lydia. “Lydia,” she read, and the little girl turned. “Oh, your name is Lydia,” she murmured and then looked at the child as if she discovered a precious secret. When she looked closer at the coat, there, taped inside, she saw an envelope. It wasn’t addressed to anyone and was sealed just at the tip. She could just flick it open. Just then, Mrs. Hallaway heard the phone ring in the back somewhere and heard Stacy say hello. Lydia’s eyes stayed with the envelope. For just a moment, but Mrs. Hallaway thought there was a flicker of recognition in her look. Without even opening it, Mrs. Hallaway had an idea what the note said. “Hey, Mrs. Hallaway, some bad news.” Stacy came over with the oatmeal and placed it in front of the little girl. “It’s good you took off her coat—I think she may be here for a while.” She smiled sadly at Lydia. “That was the sheriff . . .” “I found a note.” Mrs. Hallaway, excited, didn’t let Stacy finish. “They found someone . . . ,” Stacy continued simultaneously. “What?” both ladies asked each other. “You said they found someone . . .?” Mrs. Hallaway asked slowly. “Yeah, what did you find . . . a note?” Stacy returned with a question. “Do you think we should wait before we open it?” “Well, the sheriff is coming over. I hope there isn’t a connection.” Angrily, Stacy added, “Of all places to . . .” “You’re not saying someone abandoned her?” Mrs. Hallaway put her hand to her neck, shocked. “No. I’m saying they found someone dead,” Stacy bluntly replied. “Dead? Poor Lydia.” Mrs. Hallaway, without any evidence, felt sure there was a connection. She pitied the child. “Lydia?” Stacy tilted her head slightly. “Her name, Lydia.” She showed her the coat. Lydia stared at the oatmeal, then poked her finger in. She looked up when her name was mentioned, but responded by licking her finger.
Luz Guzman is a native Jersey City and is the child of Puerto Rican Parents. Her heritage and the city she lives in opens up a variety a cultures that have learned to accept their differences especially among the Latinos. She lived for eight months in Nicargua which further her exposure to latino traditions. Her approach to the family dynamic may not qualify as a solution but identifies issues that still arise within any family, latino or other ethnic group.