. . [W]bile we were at breakfast, the doorbell rang. Thinking
it was the postman, I did not press the button which would open
the outside door, but, as usual, went out to get the mail.
of the postman, however, I was confronted by two children: a
girl, as we learned afterward, of ten and a boy of eight. Not
very adequate for the season and weather, their clothing was
patched but clean. They carried school books.
me, Mister," said the girl in a voice that sounded older
than she looked, "but we have no eats in our house and
my mother she said I should take my brother before we go to
school and ring a doorbell in some house" she swallowed
heavily and took a deep breath "and ask you to give us
something to eat."…
children were given food. The girl ate slowly; the boy quickly,
greedily. He looked at no one and made no reply when Stella
[Adamic's wife] or her mother asked him if he wanted more. When
he got more food, he bolted it down rapidly.
girl, however, answered every question directly, thoroughly,
thoughtfully. Some of the information she volunteered ....
her brother did not answer, she explained his silence. "He
ate a banana yesterday afternoon, but it wasn't ripe enough
or somethin', and it made him sick and he didn't eat anything
since. He's always like this when he's hungry and we gotta ring
. . I studied the girl. She was tiny for her age, no doubt underweight,
but appeared more an adult who had shrunk than a growing child.
She was keen and knew more of the immediate world in which she
found herself than people four times her age had known of the
world they were living in before 1930.