Julie Carmichael Jackson

The Home Children

In the dirty streets of London, long ago, as I’ve been told
Stood a little boy without a home, barely four years old.
His parents sick and destitute, unable to provide,
He came to a Bernardo home, then crossed the ocean wide.
What must have haunted this child’s mind, so far away from kin?
What destiny awaited him.? Who would take him in?
For certain no one loved him, or he’d not be in this state
But he would have to go along. Poor fortune sealed his fate.

Refrain:
They called them “The Home Children” and they placed them here and
there
And if they would be lucky, they would go with those who care.
Some were not so fortunate and they lived a life of pain
Knowing they would never see their families again

In the eyes of little children, there is nothing like a home
Where the arms that hold are loving, not cold as is the stone.
Some lived in love and laughter. Others lived in misery
Without the love and kindness of a caring family.
Could it be they fared out better than the ones who got to stay?
How would life have been in London? Who’s to know or who can say?
It was someone’s good intention to provide a better home
Not thinking of the empty heart in a country all alone.

Refrain:

Many years have come and gone now, there are tears that never dry
But now there is a gleam of hope, as caring people try
To find the loved ones left behind and search their history
To claim what’s theirs – the truth about their birth and family.
What could have been their wisdom sending them so far away?
And why are there so many who still long and search today
For answers to the questions they would ask so frequently?
Were they really better off alone so far across the sea?

Refrain: (The following is spoken during the last refrain)

To late? It’s true for many, but for some, the timing’s right.
The answer to the little prayers said silently each night
Shall calm the restless spirit that could never settle down
Since boarding that big steamer long ago in London town.

Written by Julie Carmichael Jackson January, 2000 c
Dedicated to the Home Children sent from the UK to Canada, and, in particular, to PEI, during the years of 1869-1930

*Special thanks to R. A. “Dutch” Thompson for the inspiration for this song.

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