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THE BASTARD



"If I have to tell you little bastards to get out of that bathroom one more time. I said get your little asses out of there right now and get into bed!" yelled the matron at the orphanage where we lived.

Even today at age 56, I can still remember being called those types of horrible names almost on a daily basis. I can see the smiles on our little faces as we heard such words.

Smiles? You might say to yourself.

There comes a time in a young child's life when being called a bastard means nothing more than calling them by their own name. After days and months and years of hearing such terms, it becomes almost commonplace.

The matron would yell at us, calling us whatever hit her fancy. Then we boys would look at one another, smile and then push one another toward the bathroom door as if it were all a game, while all the time laughing. Then we would run in all directions to our assigned rooms and dive into our beds. As the years passed and as other house parents came and went, we were called many things ranging from "bastards" and "illegitimate son-of-a-bitches," not to mention words that I can not and will not use when telling my stories.

Many people who read my books and stories wonder how we children could have survived such verbal abuse. I can honestly say, after my first year in the orphanage, that the names they called us meant absolutely nothing to us as far as hurting our feelings. I guess we finally got use to it or the names they called us no longer had a negative meaning. It just became another word, as if they were calling us by our own name.

I secretly and silently look at my grandchildren, and I wonder how anyone could possibly call an innocent 5 or 6-year-old child a name like that. When I look at them, I picture myself when I was that age. It hurts me so much inside to know that I meant absolutely nothing to anyone at that time in my life.

Yes, it took some 45 years and many failed relationships, before I ever realized that I had been abused as a child. All that I could remember were the names, the loneliness and all the fake smiles on all those little faces. Forty-five years to wake up one morning and realize that the problem was living inside of me - that it was not my partner(s) and/or the world itself.

I do not hold any grudges against the orphanage for the way they treated me as a child. My biggest sorrow is not today, yesterday or tomorrow. It will be the sorrow that I take to my grave one day, because of the way they treated me as a child.



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