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I was not exactly sure what was happening when all of we boys at the orphanage were ordered out onto the front porch of our dormitory. I sat down in one of the few metal chairs which lined the white brick wall and waited to see what lay in store.

Most of the boys, myself included, had lived at the orphanage for about eight or nine years now. When we were called together as a group we knew that whatever was about to happen was not going to be nice or pleasant. So, we just sat there quietly with our hands folded across our laps. Once in a while we would look at one another to see if anyone knew what was about to happen.

"You boys stay seated and keep your big mouths shut. Is that understood?" said the head matron, Mother Winters, as she appeared through the double glass doors, which led outside from the sitting-room.

"Yes Ma'am," said most of the young men, nodding their heads back and forth.

Slowly the matron moved her head looking around at the 20, or so boys who were waiting for her to speak. Then she raised her finger into the air and slowly moved it across the entire group.

"I am sure that most of you know what the rules are here at the children's home. Most of you do not care to abide by those rules. It is time that we get things back into some form of order around here. Is that understood?" she questioned.

"Yes Ma'am," said everyone again.

"I have made it very clear throughout the years that most of you children living here at the home are what society calls "bastards". There are a few of you who do have both a mother and a father. However, in my eyes that changes absolutely nothing. You were placed here because nobody wants to take care of you. You are worthless to your own families. Do you understand that?"

"Yes Ma'am," each boy repeated again, one after the other.

"How come they have to call us that word like that?" asked one of the boys, as he raised his hand into the air.

Once again Mother Winters raised her finger into the air and motioned for the boy to lower his hand.

"I am not here to be questioned by you, young man," she told him, as she stared directly at him and then tilted her head to the side.

Slowly the boy lowered his hand and just sat there quietly.

"Let us look at the facts. You boys are here because nobody wants you in their home. That makes you worthless to any family. You have no value to anyone except for the State of Florida. It is the law that we here at the home feed, cloth and give you a place to live. That is all that we are required to do. In return for food and shelter you boys are expected to follow the rules. Do you understand me?"

"Yes Ma'am," said several of the boys.

"It has been brought to my attention that some of you boys have been looking out your window at night and looking through the windows of the girls dormitory. Are we going to have to cut your balls off to stop this activity?" asked the matron.

All the boys started looking around at one another. No one said a word. I, being one of the boys who was looking out the dormitory window, looked over at Wayne, who was my room mates. I saw him look at me and then he smiled and ran his finger across his throat as if he were cutting his throat with a knife. I moved my eyes around in their sockets, without moving my head, so that Mother Winters would not notice me motioning for Wayne to stop.

"Is there anyone here who wants their balls cut off?" she asked.

"Would you die without no balls?" asked little Billy Smith.

"Are you being a smart-aleck?" she asked him.

"I looked at the girls window one time. But I didn't see nothin'. Honest I didn't," little Billy told her.

About half the boys started laughing aloud.

"SHUT UP," yelled out Mother Winters. "You boys cross that damn sidewalk, leading to the girls dormitory, and I will personally cut your damn balls off."

Our entire group of boys fell totally silent. I sat there with my hands still folded across my lap. I was now twelve years old and I knew that she was full of crap. Still Mother Winters was the supreme and only law in my world, and she was the meanest woman that I had ever met. I sat there wondering if she might really be able to do such a thing.

In 1977 I was diagnosis with testicular cancer. My right testicle had to be surgically removed because of a cancerous tumor. After the surgery and remembering that the doctor had given me less than six months to live; I lay in the hospital bed, tears rolling down my cheeks in front of my wife and children. I was crying not because I had developed cancer or from the fact that I was going to die. I was weeping because the first thing that came to my mind was Mother Winters and her telling me that she would cut my balls off.

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