Boston's Jack Williams and "Wednesday's Child"
On a spring day with lilacs bursting and the city bathed in green, “Wednesday’s Child” number 850, a young woman named Araina, comes to Boston. It is her day of hope. More than 525 children have found families since “Wednesday’s Child” began; maybe she will, too. She is just shy of 16, a high school freshman living in a residential home an hour south of the city with five other foster children. Two younger sisters found adoptive families long ago, and she hasn’t heard from them since. It’s as if they simply flew away and left her behind. She is shy, but when asked, she says she likes big dogs, soccer, pancakes, cereal, and the color red. She has a collection of decorative ornaments, but no place of her own to show them. She says she wants “a mother, a father, and younger kids and older siblings.”
Williams has interviewed children at police stations, malls, Boston Celtics practices, fire stations, playgrounds, ballparks, sledding hills, miniature golf courses, petting zoos, horse farms … wherever a child would feel relaxed and engaged. “Nobody has ever turned us down,” he says. For Araina, who wants one day to work in criminology and forensics, the meeting is supposed totake place at the State Police Crime Lab in Sudbury. But her case manager gets lost, and with time growing short before Williams has to return to the station, they make new plans. Araina will be filmed outside the CBS4 Boston (formerly WBZ) studio. The Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office agrees to bring a squad car and fingerprinting equipment for Araina to try.
Williams and the cameraman swing into action as soon as they arrive at the station. “We have a very cute kid,” Williams says to the camera. “I want to introduce you to the newest member of .” Araina smiles the shy smile of a blushing teenager.
“You interested in law enforcement?”
“How are your grades?”
“You have to study hard. You are a great kid. I’d be so thrilled one day to be there when you graduate from law enforcement academy.”
Araina climbs back into her case manager’s car, heading south to her home, where all she can do is wait for the show to air and then wait to see if anyone calls to say, “I want to meet Araina.”
Jack Williams walks back into the station, down a corridor, and into his office that’s crammed with photos of “Wednesday’s Child” kids. Beside his desk, a cabinet holds tapes of the segments, lined up in rows, organized by years. He doesn’t forget a child. Not one.