Once upon a time there lived a small girl. Quite small. When she was a newborn, you could practically put her in your pocket and carry her around.
Her birthmother was a drunk. The inebriated woman staggered into the hospital, had a baby and two days later she disappeared.
The nurses called the child Thumbelina. So that’s what we’ll call her, too.
Thumbelina’s little face looked perfectly scrunched up. Her hands were itty-bitty and looked like doll hands. All the maternity nurses said they wanted to eat her up.
But Thumbelina’s size did not work in her favor. It was the reason nobody wanted to adopt her. At the group home, she was often glanced over with disapproving stares, for she appeared to be underweight. The runt of the litter.
People associate small size with sickness. And not everyone adopting has room for a sickly child.
So Thumbelina began her life alone. She lived in many group homes throughout the 1950s. She moved in and out of foster care. She learned what it feels
like to be a pinball.
She was a quiet child, it seemed as though she was unable to speak. Maybe she was going deaf? Perhaps she was mute? They had her tested. No hearing troubles, the doc said. No vocal problems. She was just a natural stoic.
This, too, worked against Thumbelina. Nobody wants to adopt a sullen child who has about as much to say as a municipal fire hydrant.
One of Thumb’s great talents was art. She loved to draw. You could put Thumb in a corner with a pencil and a notebook and she would draw for many hours.
Mostly, she liked to draw countrysides, with pretty flowers. Places she wanted to visit someday. Distant lands where people were nice, and everyone loved orphan girls, even if they were smaller than the rest.
Also poems. Little Thumb loved poems. There was a time…