Orphan Survival Stories Index |
Screams could be heard from little girls running down the hall of the Children's Home Society in Jacksonville, Florida. it was time for the nightly baths. I was ahead of the others and thought that I was free when I ran into a very hard object. The hard object was a matron, wearing a pink dress, who smacked smacked me on my knees and screamed at me to get my clothes off.
With head down and legs shaking I went to the bathroom and took off my clothes and got into the tub filled with dirty water. Three other little girls all crying and waiting for their turn to take a bath. The matrons were yelling, and screaming, at everyone to wash everywhere and then get their "white trash bodies" out of the tub for inspection. I did not want to get out of the tub because I hated the inspections and this time was worse! The matron told me to bend over and hold my knees and then she stuck her soapy finger up "the dirty hole". The matron moved her finger all around and then when she remove it she stuck it under my nose screaming "Your stinky hole is not clean and you will have to be punished". The matron took hold of my ear and pulled me towards a closet, screaming the entire time that I was nothing but white trash and should not be with the other little girls who now smelled clean. I was thrown into the closet wet, hurting and shaking. I could not understand what bad thing I had done.
That night in the closet lasted, what seem to be, forever. An little girl, only 4 years old, wondering what she had done to be in a dark closet, on a wood floor, with no "blankie" for comfort. Why had her mommy left her with these people and what had she done that was so bad that her mommy and grandma did not want her any longer? After hours, and hours had passed the matron came back and dragged me out by my arm. She was yelling at me for wetting the floor. The matron took me to the dining room and threw me over a chair on my stomach and she beat me with a belt. All the other little girls watched and cried along with me. I did not get breakfast, but had to sit and watch the other girls eat. After breakfast I was taken to the closet and given a rag to clean the wet floor.
I was allowed to dress and then I sneaked into the mama matron's office and I found the bottle of medicine in her bottom drawer. I took the cap off and took a big gulp. The medicine was horrible and made me throw up. I tried to keep it down hoping that I would die. Then there would be no more closets or beatings. No more greasy meat or slimmy eggplant. I held my breath and I drank as much as I possibly could. Then I passed out.
When I woke I was in the hospital in a tent. I began fighting and trying to get out. A lady in white came and told me that everything was all right. That I was having trouble breathing and the tent was to help. The nurses were kind and came into the room many times to check on me. But in a few days matron came to get me to take me back to the home. I started screaming and trying to hold onto the bed until matron slapped me and told me that I was going back into the closet if I did not shut up.
The matron had lied. When we got back to home I was told to take my clothes off and I was shut in the closet anyway. I tried the door, many times but it would not open. I beat on the door until my hands started bleeding. Stll no one came. Finally I gave up. I crawled into a corner, into a ball, and I cried myself to sleep.
I spent more time in locked closets and the hospital, in three years, than playing with the other little girls, or being allowed outside to play. I still had to have my bath with the other little girls each night, and each night the "dirty place" was checked and found unclean.
The matrons told the other little girls not to play with me because I was a dirty little girl, and not worth their time. And in time I learned that no matter how hard I tried I just could never be good enough for the matrons. As the days, weeks and months passed I spent many night, and day, in the locked closet, and continued to be beaten, naked, in front of all the other little girls.
I survived through all of the degradation but have never felt clean and I doubt I ever will. People say you cannot live in the past, just get over it. But these people have not been there and do not know. If the past is not so important than why do archeologists dig it up and write papers about their findings? Some things you never get over as the past shapes the future. The past is what makes you act and re-act in all situations. The past is important and the past of all orphans, especially those who were in the Florida Children's Home Society, under the hands of Marcus C. (Daddy) Fagg needs to be aired and exposed. Most of the adults and many of the children are now dead and the story of the children who suffered the atrocities of "Daddy Fagg", and his matrons, should be told and never forgotten.
By some miracle I am alive today. I am now in my 60's and in a wheelchair. I hurt so bad, both physicllay and mentally. It is a hurt that no medicine or love can cure or make better. I am Mary Rose and my very soul is broken and cries out daily.