The first year seems to drag on endlessly. We got up at the crack of dawn every morning by the shrill of Miss. Hannigan's whistle. Then she'd make us scrub the floors and work on our sewing machines from morning till night, sometimes forgetting to feed us breakfast lunch and dinner. Luckily Annie was able to sneak some slices of bread for me. Miss. Hannigan only let us take a cold shower once a week in the scary basement.

Summer was hot and sweaty and the orphanage had no air conditioning. The only time we ever got to go out was when Miss. Hannigan marched us to and from church on Sunday mornings. I hated the winter because it was cold and my shoes were worn out and had holes in them and snow got into my shoes and made my feet cold. For my 5th birthday there was no cake or singing or presents. Well all I got was a new pair of shoes that were a size too small. No one even wished me a happy birthday but Annie. She told me that once she found her parents she would come back for me and I'd live with them forever.i hoped that was soon!

In the orphanage I became close with Duffy she's only two years older than I am so we became really good friends. I also became close with Kate, because she's protective and takes care of me just as good as Annie does. I'm pretty close with July and Tessie but she's always worrying about things and says "oh my goodness" which makes Pepper mad. Pepper picks on me constantly because I'm the littlest and I cry easily. She says I'm a clingy baby I just stick my tongue out at her and tell her to shut up..

Annie told me that I should stand up for myself to Pepper. She said it's a good idea for me to be strong but sometimes Pepper scars me too much. But luckily July Tessie Kate and Annie stick up for me, sometimes they even get into big fights with Pepper.

Nobody ever comes to the orphanage. The only person who really comes is Miss. Hannigan's brother that calls himself a chicken but he does t even look like a chicken! He's really mean and scary looking, but Annie told me she would never let him go near me. He normally only comes when he wants money because he goes to jail a lot because he a very bad man. Sometimes he even brings a girlfriend with him that's just as ugly as he is. The only man I like who comes to the orphanage is Mr. undoes, the laundry man. He collects our dirty sheets and gives us new ones onc a month. He's really fat like Miss. Hannigan but he's nice and sort of funny. He makes me happy when I see him because he's the only adult who's nice to me.

….

One night in December Annie told us she was going to run away to find her parents. She's tri d to run away at least 10 times since I've arrived and she's always been caught each time. She told me that tonight she wasn't getting caught and she was finding her parents for sure. But I started to cry because I was gonna miss Annie so much, but Kate told me that she'd take care of me while Annie was gone. That made me feel a lot better. Annie read her note to me one last time before she left. She rads her note on a daily basis of about 10 times a week. I love her note but Pepper gets sick of hearing it.

"So long dumb kid you're gonna get caught anyway." Said Pepper as annie was leaving the dormitory

"Oh yeah! Watch me!" Then she left, but no more than 10 minutes later Annie was being carried by the collar of her dress by Miss Hannigan, as usual being caught for trying to run away. Hiss Hannigan said she was going to paddle Annie if she tried to run away again and made us clean the floors with no dinner or breakfast that morning.

"Told ya dumb kid! Your folks are probably dead why else has it taken so long for them to come for ya?"

"Shut up Pepper! Annie has a note sayin' that her mama and daddy are comin' for her someday right Annie?" I was trying so hard to stick up for myself to Pepper because I knew Annie's parents were going to come for her one day. Annie's gave me a hug and said to Pepper,

"She's right shut up!"

Even though we had no dinner or breakfast and we had to clean for the rest of rh night I was happy Annie was back for good.

By the time Christmas rolled around I found out that Christmas in the orphanage was like no other day. Drab and dreary. No presents or a Christmas tree or decorations or even a Santa clause. I told Annie that I used to see Santa with my parents on Christmas and I missed him. I told her how my parents gave me the best Christmas they could and I was always happy with my new toys. Annie told me she really wished she could've met Santa and seen a real Christmas tree. One day I went up to Miss Hannigan and asked.

"Miss Hannigan is there a Santa Clause?"

"Why yes there is my darling!"

My eyes lit up and the thought of Christmas presents.

"But he does t come to orphanages and give presents to dirt little brats like you!" She laughed and ignored my tears. Pepper thinks Santa is dumb and for babies I don't believe her though I told her she had a brain full of mashed potatoes and she shut up after that.

So in the orphanage there was nothing happy or cheerful about Christmas or any other day, during my first year even when Annie tried to make me happy by giving me hugs and kisses I just hated my Hard Knock Life.