Orphan Survival Stories Index |
ORPHAN WITH A GUN
When I lived in the orphanage, I hated going to school. The kids were very cruel to the children who lived in the Children's Home Society. I attended Spring Park Elementary School, which was right next door to the orphanage. The school baseball diamond came right up to the orphanage fence.
I would stand for hours with my face pressed against the chain-link fence watching the "normal" kids playing baseball and swinging on the swings. It was like a child looking through the window of a donut shop, face pressed against the glass, watching everyone else eat donuts. I will never forget the loneliness and how separated I felt from the rest of the world. I will always remember those kids looking and laughing at us.
One day, I decided to run away from the orphanage and not go to school. I ate my brown paper bag lunch before I reached the orphanage gate. After all the other children went inside the school, I hid behind a house, until the school bell rang. Then I ran as fast as I could down the street. I walked about five miles to San Marco Square. I had heard that there were many stores there, stores that had everything in the world a kid could want. I looked at all the large buildings and marveled at how many there were. Then I went inside a clothing store that had fake people standing in the window and they were naked too!
When I left, I entered another store. As I rounded one counter, I saw it right in front of me. It was just like the one I had seen on television. I had never seen such a thing in all my eight years on this earth. However, there it was, right in front of me. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I reached out slowly and I touched it gently with my hand. It was pure silver. I slid my finger over each and every one of the diamonds and rubies. My eyes were open wider than they had ever been before. I had never seen such a wonderful thing in all my life.
I walked out of that store with the "Fanner 50" gun and holster set tucked beneath my shirt. About a block or two down the street, I took it out and I strapped the leather holster to my side. I felt such pride. I was just a little boy, but I walked proudly up and down the streets of Jacksonville, Florida, with diamonds and rubies gleaming in the sunlight. It felt so good to be noticed; it felt so good to be a "normal" little boy, who could have something nice and new for once.
Well, all that glory would be short lived.
As I walked back to the orphanage, I realized that I could not return to the Children's Home with such a weapon of high quality. Therefore, as I passed the school, I hid the gun and holster in the mailbox. I planned to return after dark to collect my treasure. When I retuned, the gun was gone. Never to be seen again. My guess is that some "normal" kid got it.
Even today, at the age of 53, I would love to have that gun and holster. I would love to have it hanging on the wall in front of my desk, just to remind me of what it felt like to be proud of myself for the very first time and to remind me that there is a very high price to be paid for "pride."