Editor’s note: Laura Bien’s look back into the archives this time around is not really about trains. But there’s a public transit titbit that will likely stand out for readers who’ve been following The Chronicle’s coverage of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority’s effort over the last year to develop a transit master plan for Washtenaw County.
Thirteen-year-old Ida ran upstairs into the bedroom and opened the closet. Such beautiful things – skirts, dresses and blouses – which one to pick? She selected a long brown skirt of light, glossy brillantine and a brown wool shirt stitched in red silk. They would look lovely with Ida’s brown hair. The clothes were too large, but so much nicer than the drab blouse, faded blue skirt and worn, over-the-ankle black shoes she had on.
There wasn’t much time – she quickly changed.
“Ida!” called a woman from downstairs. “Suppertime!”
It was the eve of Halloween in 1905, but Ida wasn’t selecting a costume, or playing dress-up before Saturday dinner. She was planning an escape.
And although she lived with Mr. and Mrs. Curson* in Ypsilanti’s prosperous Normal Park, she wasn’t their daughter, or even a relative. Ida’s relatives had abandoned her.
That night, her place at the table remained empty.