“Sometimes some DAYS are NEVER HAPPY DAYS”

Sometimes  when you decide to take a second look at old PHOTOS…  those that were taken of you and your brothers, when you were very young children… and all the changes to your LIFE at HOME with your parents… and then so abruptly find that you are all placed into an Orphanage… for HOW LONG?

This next PHOTO is taken after our new addition to the family has finally arrived, our new baby sister, Eve Karen. This is a visiting SUNDAY… which would be only once a month… and the time of the visit would be  from one in the afternoon and until five in the afternoon. 

Very few parents would get there at exactly “one in the afternoon” as back in those days the BUS service was very slow on Sundays.

In fact, most Business’ were close on Sundays… most people had a Church to attend and would enjoy Sunday at HOME with their family

“Things sure have changed since then!”

Baby Karen 001

This sure was a change for us.

I would continually ask…”When are we going back HOME with you?”

The answer that I received was, “We are trying to work things out, and it will be  soon!”

A Sunday Visit 001

Well … we are still here and still waiting to go HOME!

We are getting bigger and learning the ways of being an ORPHAN… as this place has rules and regulations that just do not seem to be okay with my MOTHER.

On one Visiting Sunday… she asked me what do you do?

At that time, I was only eight years old… and worked for Sister Editha on the ground floor where the  “Girl’s  Wash Rooms ” are… and my job once a week was to wash and clean the toilets. Of course my Mother wanted to know how I cleaned the toilets?

So I told her… I had bucket of water and rag and a bar of brown soap… and soaped up the rag and washed the inside of each toilet. They had to be clean or I would have to do them again!

When my Mother heard this… the first thing she did was to type a letter to City of St, Louis… and of course they received that letter MONDAY … as there would be several  mail pick-ups back in those days.

When they received that letter … they called the Orphanage to find out about this situation… and it must have been a mess that needed to be taken care…Right NOW!

The next morning as we are all preparing for the six o’clock Mass…we are all in line in the Hall… and the NUN in Charge call my name out… so I stepped out of line… she asked me about what I had told my MOTHER… then started slapping me in the face… half a dozen times,  said, loud and clear for all to hear, “What goes on here in the Orphanage … stays in the Orphanage and you are not to tell your Mother and or anyone else!

I was crying, and that is all that I could do…

Life was not worth living…  when you can not tell anybody anything…

From then on… the NUNS watched me like a hawk… and on the next Visiting Sundays… a NUN would stand right by where I was sitting with my MOTHER… to hear everything and anything that I said.

“I knew that I was no longer allowed to say anything about what was done in the Orphanage… for fear of more trouble!”

1-more 001

My brothers may have been Happy… but, I always knew that I was being watched and never really ever felt too Happy to be an Orphan!

Come to think of it… back then… there were lots of kids that never ever received a VISIT from anybody…that has to be the  hardest thing in LIFE for a child to live with…  never ever a HAPPY Day in their LIFE!

Posted in Childhood, Grandma, Today and tagged with 2 comments.


  • Alan says:

    Hi Grandma, this one made me sad. What a terrible place that must have been for a kid. Despite this treatment though, you overcame. I think your stories are inspirational to anyone who has felt like this.

    • Mary Ellen says:

      “Thanks for the comment…for so many children and older people that are placed in some type of care institution… there are so many that are suffering as they are learning to survive or die just trying”
      “It does take a strong will just to live … for most people”

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