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70852Vinklarek family from Flatonia - On Oprah Winfry show

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  • Roland Beausoleil
    Jul 4, 2013

      I found this on the Oprah Winfry website quite a few years ago and just came across it again. I thought you might enjoy it.

      The Vinklarek sons are Ronnie, Darrell, Victor, Lawrence and Felix.



      March 27, 1998 Special People in a Special Place

      All the Vinklarek boys wanted to do was stay together at home in

      Flatonia, Texas. The family of five boys lost their father to a car

      accident when Felix, the youngest brother, was just five years old.

      Their mother became the family's center, but tragedy struck again seven

      years later on Christmas Eve. Felix remembers seeing his mother enter

      their house, her arms filled with gifts. She took two steps, then fell

      to the floor. "She was laying under the tree, with presents scattered

      all around her," Felix said. "I knew she was dying." Mrs. Vinklarek had

      suffered an aneurism, and passed away later that night.

      Losing their mother was hard enough on the Vinklarek boys. But

      imagining what the future would bring was almost impossible. Neighbors

      and family friends petitioned Judge Dan Back to keep the boys, ages

      12-16, together. He agreed, telling them if they behaved, they could

      stay in their family home forever. Although their grandmother stayed the

      night occasionally, there was no way she could cook all the meals five

      growing boys needed, or keep up with the dirty laundry. So the citizens

      of Flatonia took them under their wing. Martha Freytag, a neighbor,

      organized a group of women who took turns preparing meals for the boys.

      For three years they made sure all five had a hot and homemade dinner

      waiting for them at home. Edna and Henry Meegle, two other neighbors,

      washed, folded and ironed the boys' laundry. The boys also worked

      part-time to support themselves, and say none of them were ever turned

      down for a job.

      All five of the Vinklarek's grew up and started lives of their

      own, but they never forgot the kindness shown to them by their

      hometown neighbors. They appeared on the (Oprah Winfry) show March 27,

      1998 with their heartfelt thanks, and a plaque to present to the

      citizens of Flatonia, Texas. It read: "To the people of Flatonia: It

      took special people in a special place like Flatonia to help our family

      in our greatest time of need. You were there for us and we are forever

      grateful." The plaque will hang on the wall of the town museum, but the

      memories and love that were shared in Flatonia will live on forever.

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