Orphan Survival Stories Index |
Three times a day, all of the orphans lined up two abreast and walked to the dining hall across the yard. We waited on a large, screened-in porch, until the other orphans arrived from the other cottages. We then walked into the dining room and stood in front of our chairs, until Mrs. Winters arrived.
She walked to her place at the end table and bowed her head. The entire room then repeated, "Thank you God for this food, Amen.” Then she picked up a small bell and rang it. We would all sit down and start to eat whatever was placed on the table.
There is one thing I shall always remember. It was that we always got a little box of cereal every morning. You could cut the box open, peel back the tin foil and it formed a bowl that would hold milk. It was sort of neat, but that was not the problem. Every morning we had a ritual. You shook up your box, cut open the package and sat the box back on the table. Then all these small bugs came running out. There were hundreds of them in these cereal packages. Little tiny bugs went running everywhere on the table. This was somewhat funny to us at first, but after a while, it was not funny anymore. Of course, we complained, but Mrs. Winters, the head matron would tell us, “Shut your damn mouths and be thankful that we had cereal at all.”
Being the little bastard that I was, I decided to investigate the situation. You know how little criminals are!
Several weeks later, I found out the cereal came from the United States Navy. This bug-ridden treat had been out at sea for many, many years. They needed to get rid of it, so we were the lucky recipients. Of course, I started spreading a rumor around the orphanage. I told everyone that the little bug creatures were actually crabs taken off the sailors. This did not sit well with Mrs. Winters, not to mention the black cook, Charity.
Well, at least we got pancakes for the next few weeks, until the kids finally settled back down. I should have realized right then, that I should grow up and become a lawyer.