70852Vinklarek family from Flatonia - On Oprah Winfry show
- 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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