Grades K-6: Fairness & Equal Treatment
A Famous Kansas Child
Linda Carol Brown was seven years old. She lived with her father, Oliver, and her mother, Leola, and two younger sisters in a poor neighborhood in Topeka, Kansas. It was a very noisy neighborhood, because it was right next to a switching yard for trains. Linda and her sisters didn’t mind the noise. They liked making up games about the trains, and they made friends with many of the trainmen who ran the switches. Some of these friends gave them candy. One man played a teasing game with them. Every time he saw the three girls, he would wave and yell, "Hi boys!" The girls would laugh and call back, "Hi Mary!" The man was so jolly, he reminded Linda of Santa Claus.
The girls also liked being near the railroad yard because when the big fair came to town, the show cars were brought up on the siding, and the children who lived nearby would be the first to see them and the first to know the fair was in town. There were bright silver flatcars and troupers’ quarters, and the red and yellow cars that held the animals.
When Linda was inside her home, life was much quieter. Her father worked at a different kind of railroad job, about a half mile away. He was a welder who repaired boxcars. He was very tired when he returned home at night and often took a little nap as soon as he arrived. When he woke, everyone would come quietly to the dinner table and remain solemn until grace was said. Then Mr. Brown would joke with his family during dinner and everyone would laugh and feel happy. Friday nights were special times, and Linda’s favorite. The family would pop popcorn and then Mr. And Mrs. Brown would tell wonderful stories about when they were children.
Each night Mr. Brown would listen to the girls’ bedtime prayers. On Sundays, the family went to Sunday school and church. Mr. Brown gave much of his Sunday time, and any other time he could, to work at the church as an assistant pastor. The church was an important part of life for everyone in the Brown family.
- In what ways was Linda's life the same as yours?
- In what ways was it different?
- Draw a picture to illustrate one part of this story.