Share “Melba's Swap Shop”

Modified: February 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm •  Published: February 19, 2014


This author can cook, too

DEAR READERS: L.A. Muse begins her book, “A Forest of Doors: An Orphan's Quest,” by recording the day her mother died. She is immediately thrown into reliving the day when she was 7 years old and her mother abandoned her, her brother and sister at Bangor Children's Home in Maine. Now, her mother has done it again, left her without even saying goodbye.

Her memories include years when her father was in the military, stationed in Vietnam. Her alcoholic and drug-addicted mother would put the children in the car and drive to a bar, where she locked the kids in the car and disappeared for hours.

They were not treated well in the orphanage, either, but one Christmas, someone donated gifts for the children. Lynnann received a Pinocchio hand puppet. She loved it.

A few years later, a family adopted Lynnann and her sister, Sissy. Lynnann was forbidden by the head matron at the orphanage to take her puppet with her. Another heartbreaking bit of information Lynnann learned later was that the adopting mother only wanted Sissy, but the people at the orphanage wouldn't let her take one without the other.

But it worked out with a happy ending, and now she lives in Oklahoma. She devotes much of her time as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children. The book, published by Innovo Publishing Co., can be found at Barnes and Noble and Full Circle bookstores or ordered from for $12 in paperback or $12.95 for hardback.

Lynnann doesn't include recipes in her book but agreed to share some. She said, “One of my favorite foods is New England Corn Chowder. Making this dish was always great fun. My foster mother taught Sissy and me to cook.”


2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 small onion, chopped fine

11/2 cups boiling water

1 cup finely diced potatoes

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