"They told me that they were going to come get me today. And I didn’t have a lot of clothes so it was just like a little bag. They put me on the boat and I left.
And it was a really long ride and it was a really funny boat. They called it the Messenger boat."
What is a favorite memory you have of the Children’s Home?
I was walking down the stairs Christmas morning and I saw a glow coming in from the dining room and I walked in and I didn’t expect this and I saw this huge Christmas tree. I don’t think when we lived in our little house across the slough I never saw a Christmas tree like that and I had… we knew where to sit at the table and I sat at my table and they said, that’s yours up there and I looked up. There was a huge stocking full of stuff. And it was all for me and then they gave me this great big empty box and I didn’t know why and then they started, after we ate, I think we were too excited to eat anything. We all turned toward the Christmas tree and I just couldn’t get over that Christmas tree. And all the lights, all those presents under the tree and they started calling names and I don’t know how many times I was called up there. And it just filled up that great big box.
And we got to bring some up to our rooms and we just sat there and went through our stuff. Everything you can think of, before Christmas I think that was maybe the second time I saw Santa. He came in a National Guard Army helicopter. And he was in the dining room and we were all around him and he would call our names and we would go up and he asked us what we wanted for Christmas and I said, I want a hula hoop. And when I got it I totally believed in Santa because they got me that hula hoop.
Do you have any difficult memories from the Children’s Home?
Being hit by a teacher just because you spoke your language. We were in the classroom and me and this kid we never got along and we argued and she let us go to the front of the desk in front of everybody and stick our hands out like this and she hit our hands with the ruler as hard as she could. And then, I don’t know what I did that one time but she brought be out to the hallway and made me put my dress up, my panties down and spanked me really hard. Those are the worst memories I have. Those are the only two worst memories I have. But then I was very naughty. I probably deserved that spanking. I probably did deserve it. I was naughty.
Well then when I first got there I didn’t understand English. So if they said it, I don’t remember.
Did you continue going to school after you left the Children’s Home?
I kept going to school up to 8th grade and then… I just was never interested in school. I lived so much outside with my grandparents. We were always outside. I was always outside. I tailed my grandpa everywhere he went. I was always outside and I could never make myself concentrate in school and I dropped out. But thanks to Nora Guinn she let me go to school. She signed me up for job corps and I got my GED like that.
Do you remember the first time you went to the Children’s Home?
They told me that they were going to come get me today. And I didn’t have a lot of clothes so it was just like a little bag. They put me on the boat and I left.
And it was a really long ride and it was a really funny boat. They called it the Messenger boat. I didn’t see a motor on it but I heard it. On the way maybe I fell asleep and I’d wake up and fall asleep again. And I got there and all these people I knew. They gave us baths in these great big sinks and I was used to steam bath. I never saw a steam bath up there. We had to get inside the water to wash. That was funny!
I remember when I was younger getting in the great big tub but later on it was always steam baths. And then doing that over again it was kind of uncomfortable because it was square and it wasn’t too big.
What else do you remember about living there?
And sometimes Mr. Henkelman would invite one of us kids to go, one or two of us to go in and have supper with them, it was like a special treat. And me and I forgot who it was, got invited to go over and eat and we were getting ready putting on our best clothes, brushing our hair. And my hair had really gotten long then and we ate there and that Dale was really small. He got done eating and I was still sitting there and he kept playing with my ponytail. I remember that.
It was one of the Henkelman boys? Yes the baby, the third one.
And they would sometimes their Mrs. Henkelman would pick one of us to iron her stuff and one day she chose me and I burnt her nightgown. I was so scared you know, so very scared. I ironed her stuff and things and waited for her and then I went over and I brought them and I said look what I did to your nightgown. And she said, it’s ok! It’s all right. And I was… phew! She was very nice.