"Well I still go back there to try and get the feelings back to me. I kind of rejuvenate myself...The vandalism there, I can’t stop that. Nobody can stop that. It’s just the fact that we have some children, maybe even adults that ran through there and kind of overstepped their goodness or something."
What is a favorite memory you have of the Children’s Home?
The love that came from the people that kind of seen, just uh, administered the place. The superintendent and the matrons and people generally who came from the lower 48 to help run the children’s home up there.
How did they show Love?
Number one was a good discipline. I feel right there at the beginning when my eyes partially came open was, in my mind, as we journeyed from here to the Children’s Home we stopped over there at Kwethluk and Mr. Trodahl, Harry Trodahl was going to check the mail in Kwethluk and as he got off “The Moravian” the boat, I had in my mind how he started the engine so I wanted to try that myself. I looked at him and he looked at me and I touched the button and the engine started. And next thing I knew I was getting disciplined! I was getting a good spank in the boat. It was something that kind of opened my eyes there. And that’s part of the disciplinary actions that I witnessed there. And there were many other disciplinary actions that I had gone through as I had my life up there at the Children’s Home. But not one as dramatic as that.
What state is the orphanage in now?
There is not a pane of glass that is in the windows. There is not a door that hasn’t been broken off its hinges. And the places look like this for I’d even say 5-6 years. The sidewalks are mis-skewed. And when I say that, they are placed in a situation where the floodwaters come in and move the sidewalks and it just looks as if nobody’s ever been up there. But the place has been ransacked and just vandalized period. Even to the point where a refrigerator you figure would be standing up there in the middle of the kitchen or part of the kitchen is laying on its side. And I don’t see why these things happen. There’s paint on the floors, and like I said every shred of window that you see up there is broken. Just broken. We were up there, I’d even say about a month ago. -- And the one place that I stopped by was the chapel. And from the outside the steps leading to the chapel are so weather beaten, it’s very dangerous to try to get into, inside there and you look from the outside and you could see that every window has been broken out. Every pane. But I hold some spirits that have been there. That when I walked into the place, the floor that I seen in there was free of glass and glass that had been broken from the windows were piled up in three different locations. So I know that the spirit of God is still there and administered to someone to clean the place up. It was such a sight to see that.
When you left the home you were roughly 8-years-old, when you came back to Bethel what was that like?
Loneliness right off the bat. I couldn’t administer my feelings towards other children, a new environment. You know, going from a place to where you were part of the big family. And coming down to Bethel to start a new life really. To acquire some new friends and to get to know our relations and to see Mom and Grandma and my uncles and try to get the family back. That was my biggest thing. But other than that it was kind of loneliness at the beginning. Missing the fellowship that we had with the Children’s Home, the people up there.
Can you describe your time at the Children’s Home in one word
Love. That’s the word I have. Love. I’ll never, never in my dying day… to my dying day. Ever replace or even try to figure but that is Love. Oh so much Love that was there. So much concern. And that’s just the way I feel. Just Love. Yep.