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LEVIS



We children filed past the orphanage clothing room one at a time and were handed our clean clothes, which we were to wear to school that day. There was no such thing as size, other than small or large. Colors that matched, tears or holes really did not matter much to the house parents. I was tired of being made fun of at school by the other children, all because of the clothes I wore. Having big ears that stuck out was bad enough. However, having to wear those types of clothes day in and day out made it even worse on the orphan kids. I was sick and tired of being dressed everyday in clothes two sizes too big or two sizes too small, or full of holes.

This one morning, I marched down the stairs with the other boys, picked up my clothes and returned to my room to dress for school. After I dressed, I noticed the pants had a hole in the front about the size of a quarter. If I had not been wearing underwear, you would have been able to see my “thing-a-ma-bob.”

I walked back down the stairs and found the clothing room door was locked. So I went back upstairs to the matron's bedroom and told her that my pants had a big hole in them. She told me the hole was not big enough to worry about and I would have to wear them anyway. I pulled my shirttail out of my pants and tried to cover the hole, but the shirt was so small that it would not reach the hole, much less cover it.

I walked to school with my Dick and Jane book over the hole in my pants and went directly to my Grade 2 classroom. I sat down at my desk, hoping I would not have to get up all day long, not even to go to the bathroom. When the class started, the teacher, Mrs. Cherry had the pupils come to the front of the classroom, and read from the Dick and Jane book. When called, I told the teacher I had not read the book and someone else should read it.

"Now Roger, you know how to read. I want you to come up in front of the class and read your passage," said Mrs. Cherry.

“I don't want to read and you can't make me. There ain't anybody that can make me.”

I grabbed onto my desk and held on tightly as she walked toward me. Mrs. Cherry tried to force me out of the desk, but I would not budge an inch. She let go of me and walked back to the front of the classroom.

"Now Roger, if you do not come up here right now, I will ask the entire classroom to remove you from your desk," she said. I did not move an inch.

"Alright class, let's see if we can show Roger who is the boss here," said Mrs. Cherry.

The entire classroom moved toward me. I jumped up from my desk and just started swinging at anyone and everyone who came near me. I hit girls and I kicked boys. I hit or kicked them anywhere that I could. Then I broke free, ran out of the classroom into the hallway and stood there crying with my face stuck in the corner by the water fountain.

Mrs. Cherry came out and asked me to sit down on the floor with her so she could talk to me. She asked me what was wrong and why I was acting like a spoiled child. I stood up and pointed to the big hold in my pants. She looked at me and rubbed her hand down the side of my face.

"I see," she said as she wiped my eyes.

She got up, walked back into the classroom and then came back out holding her sweater in her hands. She told me to stand up and she wrapped her sweater around my waist so it covered the hole in my pants. Then she took me to the principal's office and had me sit in a chair, while she went in and talked with Mrs. Dryer.

A few minutes later, I was in Mrs. Cherry's car and we were driving. We stopped at a store where she took me inside and bought me a new pair of Levis and a brand new shirt. Oh yeah and some new socks without holes, and they did not smell either.

There have been many terrible things happen to me during my lifetime. There has probably been only one act of kindness for every 100 unkind acts. However, those few kindnesses have balanced the scale in my book. That is the power of ‘kindness’ over this thing called ‘love,’ which I have never understood.



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