The Orphans’ Nine Commandments

978-0-87565-355-6 Cloth
6 x 9 x 0 in
238 pp. 14 b&w photos., 14 b&w illus., 1 map.
Pub Date: 10/11/2007

When Roger Bechan was six, his mother packed his suitcase and told him they were going to Oklahoma City to visit an uncle. Instead, she took him to the Oklahoma Society for the Friendless, where he began a long journey through three orphanages and several foster homes. With all the color of the 1930s, this is a story of survival within an impersonal child-care system, a story filled with vivid characters, pathos and surprising humor, and the tenacity of a young boy who longs for a normal home—and can’t understand why his mother abandoned him or who his father is. No wonder he and his orphan friends omit the tenth commandment—to “honor your father and mother.”

As a teenager, the boy finds a home with a supportive couple in a small Oklahoma oil town. Roger Bechan becomes William Holman, who obtains degrees from two universities, marries and raises three sons, and becomes the youngest director of the San Francisco Public Library and an award-winning book designer. Late in life, he discovers the identity of his father—and a new family.

Published by Texas Christian University Press