Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Angelic Messages Rang True on My Voice Mail

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Angelic Messages Rang True on My Voice Mail

Article excerpt

I SPENT THREE HOURS Monday morning talking to angels.

If you don't believe it, I don't blame you. About this time last year, I wrote a column denouncing angels, the angel craze and the people who claim they talk to, see and hear angels.

So you can imagine my consternation upon hearing from a whole host of angels. I didn't talk to them face to face, mind you. We communicated with each other the way everybody does these days: voice mail.

Many of the angels were weeping. Since I cry at the drop of a hat, just listening to pre-recorded angels crying made me cry. I'm sure I looked completely ridiculous sitting at my computer transcribing notes with tears rolling off the tip of my nose into my coffee cup.

The angels wanted to know how they could help Annie, the pseudonym I gave the 12-year-old girl in my column last Saturday.

Annie's story is a sad and complicated one. Annie is a bright, articulate girl who excels at school. She wants to be a pediatrician.

But Annie lives in a deeply troubled family. Since she was 7 years old, Annie has been the backbone of her household. Annie and her retarded brother, 13, have done all the grocery shopping, banking, cooking, cleaning and laundry for their parents. Her mother is illiterate and mentally ill. Her father, a dependent and sometimes violent man, is recovering from a stroke at a nursing home.

With so much responsibility placed upon her young shoulders, Annie hasn't had much of a childhood. She has never been to a movie theater, or to the mall with a girlfriend. She has never been to church. She doesn't own a skirt or a dress. She has never had a birthday present or a Christmas gift.

After a fire in their apartment, Annie's mother moved with her into a cheap motel in Illinois. Since she no longer had a permanent address in Missouri, state social workers who had been involved with Annie could no longer help her. But because Annie is not technically a resident of Illinois, the Illinois social welfare system could not help her, either.

But since her story appeared, the wheels of the social welfare system have been set in motion. The system has its ways of dealing with needy and neglected children like Annie. …

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