Orphan Survival Stories Index |
"JESUS LOVES ME?"
"I said sit your damn little asses down!" The matron screamed in her shrill voice.
The television room fell very silent as all 15 of us little orphan boys took our assigned seating positions.
"As we all well know, there is not one child in this room who was wanted by his own parents. Not only that, but not one of you is wanted by any family who wishes to adopt a child," said the matron, shaking her finger separately at each one of us as she spoke.
"That's 'cause they want little babies to take home. Not because they don't like us any," said one of the 4-year-old boys sitting near the end of the line.
"SHUT YOUR MOUTH!" yelled the matron.
She quickly reached over, grabbed him by the arm and jerked him out of his chair.
"Well that's true," I said.
"Roger Dean! You get your little ass over here right now and I mean right now!"
I knew instantly, just as I did every time, I should have kept my big mouth shut. I also knew I was about to be locked away for a day or two in the dark closet at the bottom of the back staircase. I slowly rose from my chair and walked around the large group of kids. The entire time, I knew I was going to be knocked to the floor when I reached the matron's position. However, to my surprise, she just placed her arm around my neck and said, "Now, for those of you who are not loved and have been discarded like white trash, there is still a chance for you to be loved."
All of the boys, including myself, smiled very big. We waited in anticipation for her next words about who would or who could love us boys.
"But that excludes children who cannot stop running their foul mouths long enough to be loved," she said as she slapped me behind my head with her fist, almost knocking me down.
"I didn't say no foul mouth things!" I yelled.
"Don't you dare tell me what you did or did not say!"
"I didn't say no foul word," I repeated.
"Who heard Roger Dean say a foul word? Raise your hand," the matron demanded. However, no one raised a hand.
"I see," she said placing her hands on her hips. "I guess there will be no television for anyone for an entire week."
Slowly, one at a time, hands started to rise, until every hand in the room aimed toward the ceiling.
"Now, that's much better," said the matron.
I stood there looking directly into the faces of the other boys, but not one of them looked me in the eye. The matron grabbed me by the hair of the head, pulled me out of the television room, pushed me into the dark closet and slammed the door shut. In all that darkness, all I could see was a thin, white line of light under the bottom of the door. I lied down on the cold floor and tried to look through the crack, but it was not large enough to see anything. So I just lied down again and tried to prepare myself for a day or two in the closet. Several minutes later, I heard the boys and the out of tune matron starting to sing, "Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong...."
I stood up, pressed my ear against the door and began to sing along at the top of my voice, "JESUS LOVES ME AND I KNOW. FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO. LITTLE ONES, WE THAT BELONG. WE ARE WEAK AND HE IS STRONG."
I could hear the matron telling the boys that Jesus loved them and that was all that really mattered. Finally, all the boys went to bed and everything became quite. It was very cold in the closet and I shivered all night long. Occasionally, I heard strange crackling sounds. I looked around the best I could in the darkness, just to make sure there were no ghosts or anything like that in there, with me.
I was let out of the closet the next evening at about six o'clock. I had not eaten for almost 30 hours. I was thirsty so I went to the upstairs bathroom; I probably drank water from the sink for about five minutes. Then I walked down to the garbage room and looked through the trashcans. I found some wet bread in a bag, which I tried to eat. However, it made me throw up, because it was soft and gooey like.
I have been told many times that Jesus really did love us kids, and that is why we survived the beatings and abuse for so many years. However, the part I do not understand is why Jesus couldn’t put something in the garbage can that was good to eat, at least once in a while.