"You know, its kind of funny because every part of your life you have some kind of emotion. But I had no emotion. It was like I had no feeling"
DIANE CHANEY COFFMAN
Why were you and your brother at the Children’s Home?
My dad was in the National Guard and he got sent to Texas and for some reason they didn’t’ take us. And then my mom had TB and so we were there for that too. And I’m not sure which stay was first.
Can you describe your experience going back to the home?
It was pretty eerie, you know I didn’t know if I wanted to go but I was real curious about it. And I was amazed that I could remember so much about it. The first building was where the boys lived and I think there were schoolrooms in that building. But Bev and John said that it was too dangerous to go in there. The steps were all cattywampus and so we didn’t go in there. But we went into the Henkelman’s house. That was fun, all that old furniture and stuff. I don’t know why people don’t go and… they should make it a retreat of some sort.
And we went into the church and there was this organ and I just started pumping it. And I’d never done this before so I must have remembered way back that you do this to get it going, the keys. And I just started doing this, I mean I didn’t play anything fabulous. But I knew how to operate it, so that was kind of freaky.
Do you think the orphanage will ever be restored?
I want it to be. I want it to be a nice retreat. Just because it’s a lot of people’s history. And it’s just a shame just to see it go into rack and ruin. It would be a place where youth groups or something could go and have camp for a week or two you know different groups all through the summer and maybe even in the winter. Just learning, maybe have cultural things there. Even though that’s not why it was there, but that’s culture.
If you could narrow your experience at the home down to one word or phrase, what would it be?
You know, its kind of funny because every part of your life you have some kind of emotion. But I had no emotion. It was like I had no feeling. I remember a sad moment, it was when my brother had that…(injury) and it was almost like there was a border where the boys couldn’t come and the girls couldn’t and we didn’t interact. But I really don’t have any emotion. It’s like a dead space. That is weird isn’t it? I’ll keep thinking about it. So Maybe, I don’t know. I don’t remember being happy, sad. Nothing.
You know when we went there, when Bev and John took me there I kind of had emotion. But I think the emotion I had there was my brother and then he’s gone you know. So I saw that building and I wanted to go in there and see if there was part of him in there or something.
Is there anything else you want to share?
Well don’t forget to put in there that Gabe Fox Sr. brought cracker jacks. Yeah. It was a case or two of cracker jacks. I don’t remember what the occasion was. I remember being in the kitchen, the dining area. And they were passing out the cracker jacks.