Posted by admin on April 21, 2014
Annie Malterer’s life, though now happy and promising, began otherwise. She was born in third-world poverty to a mother who abandoned her to an orphanage in New Delhi, India. Only by sheer luck and scheduling difficulties did she avoid being on the doomed Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, raining down wreckage and passenger bodies on the picturesque countryside. Her life could have been snuffed out early but wasn’t. Now she’s thriving, living on her own and employed in the cosmetics industry in New York City. This is Annie’s story and also the story of the Duluth, Minnesota, couple who adopted her — Bonnie and Tom Malterer, told by Bonnie.
“Did you ever worry that you couldn’t love someone else’s baby?”
The question came from a complete stranger and I was surprised, but not offended, by its bluntness. For Tom and me, the answer was simple: the worry had never entered our minds. We wondered about others in our social circle, however. Would our black-eyed, brown-skinned baby fit in?
One morning 4-year-old Annie was getting into her coat as we prepared to leave the house for the Montessori school in our Hunter’s Park neighborhood.
“Yesterday Thomas called me an Indian,” she stated in an angry voice.
I was stunned. Thomas, also 4, was a high-spirited redhead whose parents were professors at the University of Minnesota Duluth. They seemed open-minded and sincere and they were devoted to their children. Was Thomas just stating a fact or was he implying something derogatory? What did he actually say? My mind raced. I realized the outcome of this situation was up to me and I couldn’t let Annie see I was flustered.
“Well, Annie,” I began, “you know that you were born in India, so technically it would be true to say that you are an Indian.”
“But he called me an Indian,” she yelled.
This was not going well. Then, from the corner of my eye, I noticed the stack of children’s books on a bench in our front porch. The top book’s title was Children of the World: INDIA. Its cover displayed a handsome lad wearing a bright orange turban. Inside were pictures and stories of Indian children at school, at festivals and at home with their families. The book gave me an idea: “Would you like to take your book along to school and show the kids this story about your country?” I asked.
That brought a smile and Annie was on board with the plan.
Purchase Annie Comes Home
Purchase Annie Come Home directly from Bonnie. Purchase price is $12.00 US, plus $3.99 for Shipping & Handling.
Annie Comes Home is published by Maltech Press.
1960 – 2004This book is dedicated to my brother, Annie’s uncle Ron, who died of pancreatic cancer at 43. Through Ron, Annie learned the tough lesson of saying good bye. In his memory 10 percent of book proceeds will be donated to pancreatic cancer research.
About the Author
Bonnie’s technical writing days ended when she retired; now she writes for pleasure. She is inspired by the stories of everyday people: the hermit who lived in a shack on her dad’s woodland; her mother who became a registered nurse at age 64, after raising 13 children, and fighting her way out of a deep depression; her friend’s son who became an award-winning skier after losing a leg in an accident. The possibilities are endless, but she always knew where to start: the story of adopting her baby girl from India, bring her home just in time for Christmas in 1988.