Orphan Survival Stories Index |
"IT'S MY MOMMY!"
I thought it must have been a miracle happening or something, because we orphans were allowed to watch a television show called "Corky and White Shadow." It was about a kid and a big, white dog. We were very excited about being able to see it, because we never ever got to watch very much television. That was 'cause we had to work all the time cleaning things to make them look good and new.
The television was turned on and the boys sat up really straight and proper. We didn’t want to get sent to our bedroom and miss the wonderful show that was coming on. I remember moving my eyes around slowly, without moving my head and seeing all the smiling faces on the boys. I remember that matron walking around and around the room in a great big circle just looking for someone to slouch, so she could send someone to his room and they would miss the movie. She loved to do that kind of thing.
However, everyone was minding well and the matron got very upset; she kept hitting the back of the chair with the bolo paddle. Some of the boys started laughing and then tried to cover their mouths, so that the matron would not hear them. However, one of the boys got hit on the side of the face with the wooden paddle anyway. It knocked his glasses off his head and they broke when they hit against the metal radiator.
I did not say anything, but I did get scared. One of the boys called her a "fatty” and then she began swinging the paddle at everyone. Boys started running everywhere trying to get out of her way. She stood in the doorway and made us walk past her, one at a time, and then she hit us on the back with the bolo paddle. Then she sent us up to our rooms and made us go to bed.
It was still daylight, so when I got to my bedroom, I went over and looked out the upstairs window. I saw an old station wagon driving up to the office where Mrs. Winters, the head matron of the orphanage lived. These two grown people got out of the old car and they had two little kids with them. I watched them walk around the car for several minutes. I just kept staring at them and thinking about that television show "Corky and White Shadow" and what it would have been like to live in a regular house with a big white dog or something like that.
The next thing I remember was the new kid, who lived in the bedroom next to me screaming as loud as he could, "It's my mommy! It's my mommy!” The matron came running down the hallway as fast as she could, ran into his bedroom and started beating on him with a belt. We all went to our doorways and carefully peeked our heads out so we could see in the hallway, but we could not see anything.
I was 6 or 7 so I guess the little kid getting the beating was about 3 or 4 years old. He must have been waiting to go live at the nursery building located on the other side of the orphanage. I ran back to my bedroom window and looked out, but all I saw was that old station wagon driving out the back gate. The two little kids were now standing by Mrs. Winters and they were both crying. The next day, I learned that the two little kids dropped off were the brother and sister of the little boy who was being beaten in the bedroom next to me.
I did not cry when they brought me to the orphanage for the first time. I didn't even cry when I didn't get to see "Corky and White Shadow" on the little television box that day. I did not even cry when they beat me on the head and made me all bloody.
The next day, I put my arm around the little boy when we were sitting out on the dining room porch waiting to eat supper. I told the little kids that everything would be okay and that one day soon, they would forget what crying even was - just like the rest of us.