A girl of meagre means is raised by a single mom in a trailer park. Life is a struggle, but she soldiers through with the help of small anonymous kindnesses. When she grows up, she tries to find the person who helped her, to pay her own personal debt of gratitude.
Jane Anne Smith was a common ordinary name for a common ordinary girl. At least that was how Jane Anne felt about the matter. Unfortunately everyone else that knew her felt the same way. They decided that she was as common as dirt, so they treated her like dirt. It really hurt her to be disliked by practically everyone she knew, but she couldn't do anything about it.
Her mom, Susan Smith was a single parent, and they lived in a trailer park. She had married her high school boyfriend when she became pregnant in her final year. After three years of stress and struggle, her husband took off, never to be heard from again. She was still technically married, so that her daughter would not have to bear the stigma of divorce.
Her mom worked long hours as a waitress in the city, and had to take a bus back and forth. She was gone before Jane Anne got up for school, and she didn't get home until late in the afternoon. Supper was always ready for her, because her daughter had learned to cook by the time she was eight years old.
Sometimes Susan was too tired to even eat, she would have a cup of coffee, then go to bed. She would eat later when she woke in the middle of the night. Susan didn't sleep well. Overwork and worry kept her from getting any meaningful restful sleep. She loved her daughter, but she never expressed it. As far as Jane Anne knew she was totally, completely, irrevocably unloved forever!
She often thought about suicide, but she never even attempted it because her mother depended on her so much. She did all the cooking, cleaning and yard work around the trailer. By the time she started high school, Jane Anne was even keeping her mom's chequebook in order. She kept enough out of her mom's pay each week to pay the mortgage and the taxes on time. Even though she thought she was worthless, she was not. She was smart, and patient, and good at everything she did. Unfortunately, the painful truth was that no one even noticed.
She wore second hand clothes from the Salvation Army store in town. She used bar soap for her hair because it was so much cheaper than shampoo. Her hair was dirty blonde, and very long. It was always clean, but lacklustre and dull. Her mom sometimes trimmed the ends so that it didn't look too ratty, but she didn't know how to shape it or give it any style.
There were bigger boys in the neighbourhood that made fun of her and teased her.. from a distance. The one time that the local bully tried to hurt her, he paid for it so dearly that no one else ever physically attacked her again. Instead, they ignored her, or whispered about her, and avoided her in school and on the bus. All of these petty meanesses hurt more than physical abuse.
Jane Anne was walking from the bus with her arms full of books when the bully ran up behind her and grabbed her by her long hair. He twisted it around his wrist and pulled backward until she lost her footing and fell backward. The vicious creep dragged her by the hair several feet, laughing all the way!!!
She was only nine at the time, but she had a very high pitched soprano voice. She screamed so loud and so long, that the policeman that lived on the highway a half mile away could hear her. It sounded like she was being murdered! It hurt, and it was humiliating. She would get over it, but she wasn't going to let him get away with it! She deliberately screamed and cried until the cop came running.
She reached up under the roots of her hair where it was being pulled, and gouged a deep channel with her long fingernails. By the time the cop got there, blood was dribbling down the back of her neck. The cop could clearly see the blood when he ran up behind the heavyset teenage boy and twisted the arm that was dragging Jane Anne.
"Hey! let her go!" The cop bellowed.
The boy dropped Jane Anne's hair and tried to run, but the cop grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and forced him to sit down in the dirt. The cop called the police station on his two way radio . A cruiser was sent to come and get the boy, while the officer stood behind him to keep him from running.
The boy was sixteen and charged for assault causing bodily harm. Without the blood, there would have been little proof that he had really hurt her. Jane Anne didn't know that at the time, she just thought that blood would make the injury look worse than it was. He had tormented her for two years. She wanted the boy to be arrested. He spent six months at a reform school. He never did come back to the trailer park.