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Welcome to Steve Marchand's website, author of Citizen of Happy Town: An orphan remembers, an ebook available in all major online ebook stores such as Apple iBooks, Amazon, Kobo, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble, etc.

In Citizen of Happy Town: An orphan remembers, the author tells us the story of his childhood, in the present tense, as he saw it during the long reflexion in which he plunged himself in order to complete his book. Steve Marchand was six years old, in 1975, when he was taken from his family and driven to an orphanage called Ville-Joie, or Happy Town. That's where the difficult quest to find him an adoption family began. He describes the daily life at the orphanage but also his experiences, at times good but at times shocking, with the different families who welcomed him "on a trial basis."

Citizen of Happy Town is a tribute to the kindness of people and the proof we can keep pushing forward on the road destiny has decided for us, even when it's obscured by a thick fog.

You may purchase Citizen of Happy Town for the special price of $3.99 (epub) directly from the author here.

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 6

"... October. Danielle comes to see me to announce that another family will come and take me with them in a few days.

For any other orphan, this news would normally be worthy of a celebration but, even if long months have passed since my stay with the D family, its memory is still present in my mind as is my knowledge of how fast a dream can turn into a painful nightmare. I also know, however, that I have no say in these matters and that if a family is coming to pick me up then I have no other choice but to surrender the safety of the orphanage and trade it instead for the unknown.

Of course, I don’t say any of this out loud but Danielle, who must see a look of apprehension on my face, promptly tells me that this family is made of a caring couple with two happy daughters. She insists that all of them are very excited at the prospect of having me in their lives.

And so, two or three mornings later, I reluctantly pack up my suitcase again, put on my suit which is still too big and still comes with that damn clip-on tie that is so long, I could almost pass it around my waist and use it at the same time as a belt. I then march to the visitors’ lounge where I sit and wait for another group of strangers to arrive and become my family.

The anxiety suffocates me and the clip of my tie, digging into my throat, isn’t helping. Despite Danielle’s reassuring words, I still worry about what might happen to me. The images of my previous family are still as vivid as the fear itself and the memory of the pain takes hold of my mind to remind me of how vulnerable I will be once the orphanage’s door closes behind me.

As I wait with my suitcase by my feet, Alain stops by the lounge to say goodbye, along with a few other friends. The Educators allow this sometimes, whenever the schedule cooperates. I have been on their side a few times, on the side of those saying goodbye and wishing the best to another orphan who is about to leave with a new family. Each time, I could see the same thing in that orphan’s eyes. There is a spark there that can only come from the pride of an identity on the verge of revealing itself as well as from the chance, now within grasp, of a shot at a better life.

It’s quite something to see and experience: an orphan who, right there in front of the others, turns into a child. A child with a father and a mother. A child who found his family. A child, no more but certainly no less. For those of us who live here, these words are usually whispered late at night as part of the stories we tell each other in the darkness of the dormitory before we fall sleep. But for that lucky orphan, the stories are about to become real and what could only be said in whispers the night before, can now be said with no holding back. It really is a grand moment, not only for the orphan in the middle of it, but also for those who have the chance to witness it.

Now that my turn has come however, I don’t feel the spark in my eyes anymore than I feel the pride inside of me. The D family deprived me of that moment by replacing joy with fear and pride with shame during my short visit with them. I can see how Alain and the others are happy for me so, to reward them, I act out the scenario that has been played in that room by many others before me with all the talking, the smiling and the laughing it calls for. Deep down, there is so much fear inside of me that all I want to do is run as far away as possible and hide.

When the P family shows up, their obvious kindness lights up the room, which allows me to relax a little. Danielle was right; they do seem like a very happy bunch. Mr. and Mrs. P are all smiles and their two daughters rush to stand next to me, one on each side, as soon as they enter the room.

We spend a few more minutes with Alain and my other friends, and it’s time to say goodbye.

As I leave with my new family and the car begins to move forward, I look over my shoulder to see the orphanage disappear behind me once again. I can’t believe this is happening. It’s as though this war raging inside of me, the one between my desire to stay at the orphanage and the one I have for a family, has just intensified. My desire to stay at the orphanage rises to show its intention of waging a fierce battle.

There are images that are so difficult to look at, it’s impossible to stop our body from expressing what our inside feels. Seeing Happy Town disappear in the background is for me one of those images and I can’t control my reaction.

I close my eyes and I shake my head in disbelief...."

You may purchase Citizen of Happy Town for $3.99 directly from the author here

Copyright Steve Marchand 2017