"I think my dad wanted me to go to school there for the winter but he didn’t bring me up early, and he picked me up before school was out. And I really wanted to go back. But he didn’t let me go."

MAGGIE NICHOLAI

How old were you when you lived at the home?

 

 

 

 

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    I don’t really remember maybe I was about fourteen or fifteen. Something around there, because I don’t really remember. But I know everything, like what’s going on and things like that. They used to let us go to bed in a big room, big room with a whole bunch of beds. And turn our lights off, all of them, really dark. And we always have to go out and go bathroom. They didn’t have those, you know, flush toilets or anything like that. So we always have to go out and go bathroom before we go to bed. And a whole bunch of us girls used to go out and stand in line and take turns. But sometimes we used to get kind of scared you know, in the night, before we’d go to bed. And I know we used to go to bed early.

     

    You know how some girls used to never really listen. After the lights are out when they start playing around and making noise. All suddenly, before we hear anything the lights will just turn on and the door opens. They always caught them. I had a best friend her name was, what was her name? Susan, Susan McCarr. And we always used to be together. And our beds were close by. She and I never had any scolding or punishment like that because we used to be scared how they punish them. One time this girl never listened, and then one time they took her bedding off, like even mattress and let her sleep on there. But she still didn’t behave, so they put her out in the hallway all by herself with mattress and it was just dark, dark! And I think she didn’t go to breakfast or lunch or supper for one day. That’s what I remember.

     

Why were you at the orphanage?

 

 

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    I think my dad wanted me to go to school there for the winter but he didn’t bring me up early, and he picked me up before school was out. And I really wanted to go back. But he didn’t let me go.

What did you like about living at the orphanage?

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    A lot of things. They treat us good, they feed us good. Even though we can’t go no place, we have a line outdoors. When we go out we just have to be inside that line. But we never used to mind, me I never used to mind. Me and that Susan were always together. She finished her school there. She was lucky.

     

What else do you remember?

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    And then we had program and I was in the program that’s playing. And I didn’t even know that my Dad had come up to watch us. And they didn’t let him see me I think. He was there! Afterwards I found out that he was there and when it was over he went home, by dog team. I didn’t even know he was there.

     

    Maybe they think I might want to go with him or get homesick.

Anything else you want to add?

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    Like I said I don’t really know most of, I mean you know. Because I wasn’t there long. But I can’t say it was bad, I liked it. Yeah, even though they were very strict, you know. They were.