Until last July, Morgan Thomas didn't know what it was like to run around a backyard that seemed to have no end, how it felt to swim from the moment she woke up until it was time to go to bed or that you could walk around a city without brushing shoulders and elbows with thousands of people.
The 10-year-old from Queens got the chance to experience all that and more when Missy Simpson and her family invited her to spend a week with them at their home in Ballston Spa as part of the Fresh Air Fund.
This year, Thomas came back to spend her spring break in the country and said she can't wait to come back again.
I was excited but not really nervous. This family is very nice, it's hard to explain because they're just nice, nice, nice, said Thomas. "I like them because they're who they are and they like me for who I am."
Simpson has two stepchildren, 14 and 16, who immediately formed a bond with their younger, surrogate sister. Thomas had her own version to share.
"As soon as I saw those kids, oh it was over! They got along with me and it was like we knew each other for years," said Thomas. "We played games, board games, went out places. It was wonderful, perfect and I'll come back all the time."
After her first visit last summer, Thomas was ready to return to the simpler life as soon as that Christmas, but her mother was worried she'd get stuck in a snowstorm so they waited until the weather got warmer for the reunion. Simpson took Thomas to the Great Escape, on walks around Saratoga Springs, had picnics, taught her to swim and let her run around with the dogs. More than giving a little girl a break from the big city, Simpson said she hoped to provide a life changing experience, in some way.