Orphan Survival Stories Index |
I ran as fast as I could to the high, chain-link fence, which surrounded the orphanage I lived in. I pressed my little, 7-year-old, teary-eyed face against the cold, hard, rusty holes and with all my might pushed the heavy steel wire outwards. Watching the best that I could, to the right and then to the left to see if ‘Old Topper’ might be walking down the long, white, concrete sidewalk that ran along the orphanage perimeter. However today, he was nowhere near the orphanage and could not be seen.
As I turned around and placed my back against the fence, still shaking and crying from fear, I saw the matron beating one of the little orphan boys on the back of his head with the broken, old, rusty pogo stick. Earlier that day, we had found it on the edge of the baseball diamond at Spring Park Elementary, on our return to the Children's Home Society from school.
Many of the boys heard the loud screams that came from the nursery playground, as well as the matron yelling at the top of her voice at him. They all gathered and looked out the windows to see what was happening. However, no one said anything. They knew better than to speak or they would be next. I stood against the fence shaking in total fear that the matron would soon look up and see me. I was afraid she would know I had also been trying to jump on the pogo stick and that she would beat me for trying to tell ‘Old Topper’ what was happening to kids at the orphanage.
I carefully lowered myself to the ground and slid slowly like a snake on my stomach, until I reached the safety of the azalea bushes. My heart was beating 90 miles an hour, and the sides of my temples were moving in and out. It felt as if my head was going to blow up or something. I lied there really quiet like for the longest time, just waiting for the matron to leave. The little boy just lied on the ground at her feet, without moving. Finally, she stopped yelling and threw the old pogo stick over the red brick fence, before she turned to go inside.
I saw the boy’s heads in the windows start to disappear one at a time, for fear the matron might catch them. Looking out the windows was something that was absolutely forbidden for us, under any circumstances. After about five minutes, I sneaked out of the thick, green azalea bushes and made my way over to the edge of the red brick nursery building. The little boy, who was lying on the ground, was still not moving.
"Hey," I whispered. "Hey, you okay?" I said a little louder.
However, there was no answer. I carefully walked over to him. I saw that his eyes were open real wide and had rolled back into his head like a monster or something. I put my hand on his face very easy like, 'cause I didn't want to touch anybody that was dead. As I felt him on the cheek, he moved just a little bit, then turned his face over and looked at me. There were some little blood things coming out of his ear. But I didn't say anything, 'cause I didn't want to let him know that he was going to die soon.
"Will you play the pogo with me?" he asked.
I did not know what to say, so I just sat down beside him and put my hand on his head.
"WHAT IS GOING ON?" someone from a distance yelled.
My heart started beating all fast again. I jumped up real quick and started to run back to the azalea bushes, but my legs started shaking so bad that I fell down. I just could not stop them from trembling, so I cried and screamed as loud as I could.
The next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground looking up at ‘Old Topper,’ the police officer, who walked around the orphanage fences every afternoon to check on things in the neighborhood.
"Are you all right, son?" he asked.
"It's the little boy over there," I said as I pointed in the little boy's direction. "He's going to die real soon, 'cause he got blood."
When I finally sat upright, I saw the matron running out of the nursery toward us. I looked up at Old Topper and begged him to help us get out of the orphanage. He just told me that it was my home now and that we were lucky; we should be thankful to have such a good place to live and food to eat.
The matron, Mrs. Castile, took Old Topper over to where the little boy was now standing. I heard her tell the officer that the boy had fallen off the pogo stick and hit his head on the concrete. She rubbed the little boy on the hair and hugged him the whole time Old Topper was there. She just kept looking at me real mean like, so I kept shaking my head as though I was saying "yes" and agreeing with her the entire time.
I never did tell Old Topper what really happened to the little boy, 'cause he didn't die like I thought he would. But I did ask Old Topper for a stamp, which he gave to me so I could write a letter and mail it to someone important. That night, I made my very own envelope out of a piece of white notebook paper that I stole out of one of the older boy's locker.
After the matron was asleep, I went to the bathroom and wrote a secret letter to President Eisenhower of the United States of America. I told him what happened to that little boy, but I never heard anything back, not ever. I guess he thought that I was lucky too, just like ‘Old Mr. Topper’.