Orphan Survival Stories Index |
THE TEAM KICKER
"Your gonna be next," said the 9-year-old boy as he climbed back into his bed and covered up his head with his blanket.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Pop said that he's gonna do it to you too."
"Do what?" I questioned.
"He's gonna do the bad thing to you."
I did not have the slightest idea what the heck he was talking about. The next thing I knew "Pop Henderson," the man who looked after us kids at the orphanage was standing in our doorway.
"It's time for you to go to the bathroom, Roger," he instructed.
"I don't have to use the bathroom right now, Pop Henderson," I said.
"Are you telling me that you are not going to go?" he asked.
"I really don't have to use the bathroom, Pop," I said again.
Pop Henderson turned around, left the room and headed down the hallway to another bedroom.
"What did he do to you?" I asked the boy next to me.
"Pop made me take down my pants and he played with my private thing," he said sounding as if he were about to cry.
"I don't believe you. Why would he do something like that?" I asked. "It's stupid to say something bad like that about Pop Henderson."
"He's been doing a lot of boys like that and he's not the only one whose doing it either. The man from the church is doing it to us too," he said.
"Pop ain't never done nothing like that to me. The church man, he just laid on top of me one time and he pulled my hair real hard on the Easter Sunday day," I told the boy.
Nothing more was said about the incident and finally we just fell asleep.
Later that night, I awoke when I felt someone moving a hand underneath my covers. I just lied there too afraid to move. Whoever it was rubbed on my leg and then moved their hand up and began feeling my private thing. I yelled as loud as I could and then I began thrashing my legs about, back and forth, as if I were running in a race that I had to win. I kicked and kicked as hard as I could. Finally, my foot hit someone in the head and they backed up against the door. The bedroom light came on and there stood Pop Henderson in the doorway holding his hand against the side of his face.
"You are in some serious trouble now young man," he said.
"I'm sorry Pop Henderson. I was real scared. I thought I felt a ghost touching me, so I started kicking real, real hard," I replied.
The boy in the bed next to me said nothing. He just lied there holding his covers up around his neck as tightly as he could. He was holding the covers so tight around his neck that his fingers were real red and start'n to turn blue like. He looked over at me and then would look at Pop Henderson. Then he would look back at me again, but he said not a word. Pop didn't say anything else either. He just reached over, shut off the light and walked back down the hallway to the room where he and Mrs. Henderson slept at nighttime.
"I told you he was gonna get you," said the boy as he uncovered and sat up on the side of his bed facing me.
"Why would someone like a man do something nasty like that?" I asked making my eyes real big.
"He's married to Mother Henderson and that makes it a real, real wrong for him to do that. I'm gonna tell Mother Henderson on Pop in the morning," I said.
"You can't tell anybody, ever. I told you, Roger. Didn't I tell you like a warning sign? Roger, will you sleep with me all night and kick Pop if he comes back again tonight?" the boy asked.
I let him sleep in my bed with me all that night. I stayed awake as long as I could, but finally fell back asleep. The next day, Pop transferred me to another bedroom at the end of the hallway with another boy named Wayne Evers.
I never did tell Mrs. Henderson about what Pop Henderson tried to do to me or what he was doing to many of the other boys at the orphanage. I guess this went on for many, many years. None of the boys would ever talk about it.
The word spread rather fast around the orphanage about me kicking Pop in the head, but nobody ever mentioned anything to me about it, so I never said anything to anyone. They all just kept their mouths shut, like they were told to do - just like Pop Henderson told me to do the very next day when he told me he was just checking to see if I was dead or alive and that he touched me by my privates by mistake 'cause it was all dark and stuff.
That one kick probably saved me. I suppose in the end, I was one of the lucky ones. Most of the other kids finally, after many years, made their way out of the Children's Home Society Orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida and I guess they earned their way into other various institutions such as reform schools, jails and prisons. The few who didn't head in that direction, unknowingly made their way to a life of unhappiness, sadness and many, many a day of total despair as parents and grandparents.