Orphan Survival Stories Index |
It was the 20th of November, which was my 6th birthday. The house parent was going to do something special, because I had cleaned all the bathroom floors, showers, sinks and toilets, upstairs and down. I spent the entire day cleaning the bathrooms ďextra special clean,Ē because the matron told me she would bake me a cake. I was also going to have a birthday party. All the boys were going to get a piece of cake, while we watched television later that evening. I was very happy and excited about the party, because I could do something nice for everyone. They would all like me and we could have a good time.
About six o'clock, all the boys took their showers and then gathered in the television room. Each boy was instructed to stand and repeat one of the Ten Commandments.
When Horace Barnesí name was called out, he stood and very proudly said, "Thou shall not spit."
Everyone just about died laughing. Horace was only 3 years old and he didnít know the Ten Commandments. I laughed very hard too, but felt sorry for Horace. When I got the cake, I was going to give Horace the first piece and maybe the biggest piece of all. We began watching television and talking about the party. I told everyone that my birthday cake was an angel food cake and that it would be ready soon.
Then the house parent, very sternly like, called me out into the hallway. She asked me if I had taken a piece of the cake. I told her that I didnít touch the cake and that I hadnít even seen it. Then she grabbed me by the arm and shoved me into the kitchen. There was a big piece torn out of the side of the round cake. You could see where someone's fingers had grabbed the cake and torn it away. She took my hand, placed my fingers into the torn part of the cake and told me that they fit exactly into the finger slots. I told her over and over that I didnít touch the cake.
She reached over and turned on the burner to the stove, to allow it time to get hot. Then she told me that if I did not tell her the truth, she would put my hand on the hot burner. I continued to tell her that I didnít take any of the cake. She grabbed my arm, pulled me over by the stove and raised my hand toward the hot burner. I began to cry and kept trying to pull my hand back. Though I was crying, I tried not to yell so that the other boys would not hear me. She reached over, turned off the burner and touched my hand against the hot metal. I screamed as loud as I could. Then she turned on the water spigot and told me to put it under the running water. After several minutes, she began rubbing butter on my burnt hand. Pushing me toward the door, she told me to go back out to the television room and wait until she came out.
When I walked back out into the television room, all the boys knew that something was wrong, but they didnít say anything. About five minutes, later the matron came out of the kitchen with a plate. It had about 15 small pieces of cake on it, each about the size of a quarter. She gave one piece of cake to each of the boys, except me. She told all the boys that I had stolen most of the cake and it was my fault there were not larger pieces for everyone. Not one of the boys said anything whatsoever. They ate their small piece of cake and then were sent upstairs to bed. I had to stay downstairs and straighten up the television room before I went up and changed into my pajamas.
When I got to my room, there was a small piece of cake about half the size of a quarter lying on my pillow. I picked up the little piece and squeezed it between my fingers, because it was like a sponge. Then I ate it. I pulled my bedspread and sheet back, and then walked down the hallway to use the bathroom. As I passed Horace Barnes' room, he was sitting on the end of his bed sucking on his big toe. He pulled his toe out of his mouth and smiled at me. Then he reached over, picked up a small piece of cake about half the size of a quarter and put it in his mouth. He waved at me as he chewed, and then stuck his big toe back in his mouth and began sucking again. I just smiled and hurried off to the bathroom.
I washed my mouth out really good with soap and water, before I went to bed. That is all I can remember about that happy 6th birthday.