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One week to the day I arrived in Sawmill to my new home uncle Blue, my Emilia, Anuta and Beth came to visit me. With them was a very pretty and sweet lady. Uncle Blue introduced us and told to me her name and then told to me again. Elena this lady is a retired speech therapist living here in Sawmill now. She's going to teach you how to talk no matter how long it takes and no matter how many doctors you have to visit.

I started crying for I knew that uncle Blue and this lady were going to give to me the most precious rose dream I could ever ask for, they were going to give to me the blessing of speach that I do not have all of my life.

Everyday for a year this lady worked with me for several hours a day. I went to Atlanta and visited with doctors and they told to my therapist what my problem was and how for her to teach me how to speak real words and not have to write on a pad anymore.

It was a very difficult and frustrating year for me and I cried myself to sleep a lot of nights but it all began to come together for me after a few months working with this lady. Not only did I have to learn to speak words I was being taught the words in the English language.

If you've never had a speech handicap then you could never understand how wonderful it is for me to be able to talk now and have a conversation with anyone. Every day of that year everyone here in Sawmill was supporting me and also helping me to regain something I had never had, my self esteem.

When I had learned the English lanugage and how to speak real words I started going to public school and not being home schooled anymore by aunt Anna and aunt Marcie. It was so very much fun for me. I wanted to prove to myself, my family and everyone here in Sawmill that I could make very high grades in school and be able to attend college some day. I studied and I kept right on studying. With the help of three retired school teachers that lives here in Sawmill tutoring me my grades started going up, up again and in my Senior year in high school I had the highest GPA of all the students.

I played in our high school band, was on the debate team, and was a member of the FFA with my sisters Snoopy, Anuta, and Beth. It seems our Senior year was the most fun year in our lives. I was given the award of Valedictorian because of my highest grades in the school. I cannot tell you how excited I was. The night we graduated high school I was awarded my diploma by my uncle Blue, my speach therapist and my sisters Snoopy, Anuta and Beth.

I know where I am in my life now.. I know that I will be going to our local community college with my muskateer sisters Snoopy, Anuta and Beth. I know that when I graduate college I will enter the Kagen family business as their assistant marketing manager and I also know I will have to earn a Master's Degree as required by uncle Blue. I have been in training for two years now working with one of uncle Blue's daughters we call Penny. When she retires from the family business I will then take her place. Anuta is working under her sis Karen to one day be the CEO of the business. Snoopy is working under her sis Scoot and will one day be the international coporate lawyer for the business. Beth is working under our sis Marina and will one day be the finance director of the Kagen corporation.

I hold a private pilots license now and also studying and taking more flying lessons to earn a jet pilot rating like my Sawmill sisters Karen, Marina and Scoot.

My dad is now earning high wages working with uncle Ed and Mike in their construction business. My mum and my Snoopy's auntie are the directors of our Sawmill daycare center. All the children love them and they love all the children. My mum no longer has chapped hands and no longer has to try to mend our clothes for us. We have plenty of food to eat now but are not wasteful with it. My little sis Olga is now 7 years old and is my little heart and soul and I love her so.

I think probably one of the things I value most in my life now is being a Sawmill Girl and one of the care takers and farmers of poppa and granny's beauiful Sawmill Farm. I'm also the adopted mum to a family Sawmill Farm Morgan Horse that is my friend and I love him so and he loves me. We spend a lot of hours together and really have some fun and interesting times together. You will read about those when the Bells & Hoofs chapter is written.

In one more year my family and I will become American Citizens and we're all very excited about that.
I owe so many things to the Kagen family as a whole and especially my Snoopy, Anuta and Beth. I would never have been able to achieve such things in my life that I have done and hope to continue to do without their never ending love and support to me. I owe so much to all the wonderful Sawmill residents that never gave up on me and would never let me give up. I have many uncles, aunts and grand parents now all around me giving me their love and support.

I would like to say to you please. Anytime you're out and about and  you come in contact with a person that has a handicap be nice to them, smile to them and ask them if you could possible help them in any way. If you're in a store and you see someone in an electric chair ask to them if you can help them remove anything from the shelves and ask to them if you could help them finish their shopping especially our elderly people.

If you come in contact with a person that cannot hear nor speak words and you do not know the sign language smile to them and write on a pad to them, may I help you with anything? My muskateer sisters and myself have learned the sign language and all four of us have used it before when out somewhere and met someone that has to use the sign language.

Love your family and give the agape love to your children for you should be their guiding light into adulthood for them. Never turn your back on your family and your friends when they may need some help especially from you. Never abuse a child or an animal, and never abuse yourself for any reason.

I pray to my God in Heaven everyday and thank him for the new life that he has given to my family and me. I never asked him for any material things, I asked for him to help my family and to give to me a very special friend. He chose to give to my famly and me and my Emilia and her auntie a new life here in Sawmill surrounded by many loving and caring friends.

I will leave you with these words and I wish you a blessed and happy life.

"Never be ashamed of the scars that life has left you with. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed, you endured the pain and God has healed you"

Thank you for reading my story. Sawmill Girl Elena.