Where I Come From

Bonnie O'Neil

Our Foster sister Bonnie O'Neil:

We were members of the First Baptist Church of Springfield, Illinois.
Bonnie and her siblings were "bus kids" who came to church every Sunday.
I don't know how many of them there were, but she was perhaps the eldest sister.
Her mom was killed by a train sometime around 1971.
The kids were fostered amongst some members of the church after that.
What little I know is, Bonnie came to live with us after her family tragedy.
My parents had never done anything like this before, and it was a noble undertaking.

I didn't know when Bonnie's birthday was, but I do know that for once my older sister had an ally.
The two of them often had an opinion to shed upon me, and it did me no harm.
They encouraged me to play my guitar, because I sounded "like [ name a current rock band ]".
Bonnie taught me that I was fortunate to have both of my parents, and that they cared for me.

She brought street-smarts to us more than my parents realized.
She was a rough diamond that taught me how to fight when it was absolutely necessary.
She both protected me (like my older sister), and
told me to behave when fighting was a poor proposition.

She left the family when we moved to Arizona, in 1973.
She married Tom Malcom, from church.
I saw her again in 1980, in Galveston.
Her life was in a state of flux, after having 2 children.
I haven't seen her since... but I did find her, on Facebook!

'Bonnie and our family in Springfield, Illinois.

Springfield, c.1971

Another picture, about the same time, maybe at Easter?

Boykin Family, c.1972

Bonnie & her kids down by the sea

Bonnie with her kids,
Chad & Jill, and
Tami with Tabitha
at Galveston, 1980

A letter from Bonnie, 10 December, 2010

I read your web page it's so cool I'm even in there !! I brought back so may memories.
I'm so glad I found you all. I have thought of everyone so many time over the years.
I can give you some correct infomation to change on your web page about me if you want it?

...March 12th [birthday]... My mom died Feb 1, 1970. I came to live with you all March 1970.
That was the best thing your mom and dad could have ever done for me. I will always be grateful
for them. Tom and I got married June 23rd 1973. We divorced May of 1997. Almost made it 24 yrs.

We had 2 kids. Chad Thomas Malcom (born 1974) is a lieutenant for the Federal Prison System.
He's married and has twins, a girl and a boy, Emilee and Austin. Jill Malcom-Ripley, born 1976, is a
surgical tech in Peoria. She's married and has 2 kids: Kahner (5) and Jacee (2). We all have lived in
Washington, Illinois for a little over 30 yrs. I married Curt Burroughs in 2002. I stopped working as an
administrative assistant for a trucking company when I got laid off Nov of '07. I've been watching
Kahner and Jacee ever since and I love it! Grandkids are the best. I live about 70 miles north of
Springfield and about 10 miles south of Peoria. Washington is a small town... :-)


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