History of the Rose Orphans Home....
The United States has a history of inadequate and sometimes shameful care of orphaned, neglected or abandoned children. Continuing today, there is a struggle to find a better way to care for children who have been short-changed when it comes to families who are willing or able to care for them. With the continually growing drug use by adults who should be responsible parents, many children are coming into this world with little hope of a stable family life. One might think that in a country with such abundance and so much wealth, no child should be in want, but sadly that is not the case. It is so easy for most to ignore the problems. The Chauncey Rose Home in Terre Haute, Indiana, was an example of a successful endeavor to provide care for many children in need. The Home first opened in 1884 and provided a "safe haven" for several hundred children until 1949.
In the early days of our country, no provisions were made for orphaned or abandoned and neglected children. The older ones had to fend for themselves, many becoming the victims of unscrupulous adults who enslaved and abused them. Sometimes groups of children would be rounded up and put on the auction block for inspection, just as in a slave market. Their worth as workers would be appraised and they were sold to the highest bidder. Other children were often housed in asylums with the mentally ill.
During the mid l850's "The Orphan Train Movement" was begun. This movement began the system of "Placing Out", placing children in homes which in theory was considered a better alternative to institutional care. Charles Loring Brace founded the Children's Aid Society which was responsible for the transfer of thousands of children and even poor adults to the Western states. Families were often separated, placements were not well scrutinized and the whole movement gained a bad reputation. While the Orphan Train Movement was in full swing in the East, the Midwestern states had their own growing population of children in need of care.
In 1873, a group of Terre Haute business men, with financial backing by Chauncey Rose, formed the Vigo County Orphan Home Board. After the death of Chauncey Rose, the name of the Corporation was changed to Chauncey Rose Orphan Home and later to Chauncey Rose School. For this history, Home has been determined to be a more appropriate term, since those former residents who were interviewed voiced time and again, "It was my Home."; or "It was the only Home I knew."
CORPORATION ORGANIZED, BOARD MEMBERS NAMED AND BYLAWS ADOPTED
The Vigo County Orphan Home Corporation was formed on October 27, 1874 under the laws of the State of Indiana and acknowledged before Charles J. Brackebush, Notary Public of Vigo County Indiana and recorded November 5, 1874. (Vigo Circuit Court Complete Record Volume 11, Page 1, Case No. 2951.) The board members were R. W. Thompson William R. McKeen, Alexander McGregor, E. F. Howe, Robert Cox, James H. O'Boyle, A. C. Mattox, A. B. Pegg, of Honey Creek Township and John G. Williams, C. M. Warren, Richard A. Morris, George E. Farrington, and Mortin C. Rankin, of Harrison Township. All were Vigo County Residents.
These men were reportedly hand picked by Chauncey Rose and the board became self perpetuating. Although he was not a board member, Mr. Rose was regularly consulted about the acquisition of land and other issues of concern until his death on August 13, 1877. (Letters on file in Folder 2 at VCPL archives) His initial bequest to the Corporation was for $150,000 in the form of bonds, notes and property. His will provided for another $150,000 worth of investments upon his death. His will stated:
I give and bequeath to the Vigo County Orphan Home, a corporation ... the sum of $150,000 exclusive of any sum or property I have before given or devised to said corporation. Purpose of said corporation is to provide, in one asylum or home as prescribed in said articles, for the care, education, and support of orphan children, meaning thereby any person within the age of sixteen years who are deprived of father, mother or both, together with the support of aged females and that of decrepit persons. When it shall be authorized by law the care and support of aged males may also be provided for at said home. The sum herin bequeathed with any sum or property before given may be employed for said charitable uses.
By-Laws of the corporation were adopted on November 5, 1874 stipulating how and when the officers were to be elected, their terms of service and their duties. The by-laws also provided for annual meetings. Additional by-laws were adopted on April 9, 1875. On January 5, 1930, the board amended the by-laws to further define the duties of secretary.
In reviewing records, including secretary notes of the board meetings, many seemed to be written on note pads and not well organized. Other, more formal records may have been kept, but only those found in the Archives of the Vigo County Public Library were located.
It was decided by Mr. Rose and the Board to let the interest accrue on the investments until sufficient funds was accumulated to begin and maintain the operation of the Home without using any of the principle endowment.
On January 12, 1876, a warranty deed was prepared for property belonging to Harriet R. Early commonly known as the Hill property at the time. This property was to be purchased for the sum of $12,000 by the Vigo County Orphan Home Corporation. The deed was recorded on February 5, 1876, (record 49, page, 240). The property was located north of Terre Haute which is presently the northernmost property on the east side of North Seventh Street in Terre Haute. The house which was located on this property was modified. It is presently occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Jones who have refurbished it maintaining most of the original features. They furnished a copy of the deed for both the purchase and sale of the property by the Vigo County Board for this history.
The minutes of the meeting of July 18, 1876 indicate that it was decided to employ an architect to prepare plans for modifications to the property as the board indicated. Mr. & Mrs. Jones believe that an addition to the back of the house was added at this time. The property was rented for the sum of $400 for one year from 1876 to 1877. This arrangement may have continued until the property was sold in 1882.
It would seem from a letter found in the Archives that Mr. Rose preferred this property believing that it could be purchased for considerably less than the Deming tract which was later purchased. Nothing could be found in the records to determine why the decision was made to sell the Early tract. However, a warranty deed dated April 29, 1882 shows the property was sold to John Jacob Smith for the sum of $5000. Those officers listed on the deed were R. W. Thompson, President and George E. Farrington, Secretary. The Deming tract at the Northeast corner of Twenty-Fifth and Wabash was purchased and the cornerstone for the first building was laid on May 19, 1883.
The Children of Rose Orphan's Home
The Home served as a refuge for parentless children from 1884 until 1949. The cornerstone of the main building was laid in 1883 and the first children were enrolled on September 4, 1884. The main building was flanked on the west by a chapel with an imposing entrance and on the east by handsome cottages and dormitories of various sizes. As many as 150 children could be housed on the grounds.
After a survey in 1910, the Rose Home was selected as one of the top 10 Children's institutions in the United States. An identical study completed in 1929 concluded that it was the "nations finest".
Upon admission, a form listing vital information for each child was completed. During the early years of the Home, the information upon admission was limited. However, later records provide more information concerning the family background and history of the child. The full name of the child, date of admission, age upon entry, date and place of birth, sex, and height and weight of each child was recorded. The physical and mental condition, as well as the condition of clothing and body, were assessed. Contagious diseases and or operations were reported. The question, "Is the child legitimate?" was asked. Limited information of both parents, if known, was given. The name and address of the nearest living relative were recorded. If one or both parents were deceased, the place of burial was included. Religious preferences were recorded. The property owned and the occupation and wages of either or both parents was included. The person surrendering the child, by what authority and the terms of surrender were spelled out. Usually the terms of surrender were: "Hold for 6 months". After a six month period, a child could become a "Ward of the Court." Additional information usually specified how much money was to be paid by the surrendering party for room and board.
In the early years, the expressed goal was to prepare the children for placements. Because so many of the children came from what would now be called dysfunctional families, there were many behavior problems to be overcome before they could be considered for placement. With strict and consistent discipline, proper training, and with adequate food, clothing and shelter it was believed that the majority of the children could join families and have a good home life. This did prove to be true for many children, but there were no compiled records found to indicate the percentage of successful placements.
Due to rising maintenance costs and reductions of incoming funds, child care at the Rose Home ceased on July 1, 1949 and all children were sent to reside at Glenn Home on the east side of town..
Life in the Home wasn't easy; discipline was firm and strict; however many former residents have very fond memories of the Home, especially from during the years of the Depression.
Chauncey Rose Orphans Home Highland Lawn Cemetery Plot - Section 4, Lot 8
The Chauncey Rose Orphans Home, which was built with funds left by Chauncey Rose, opened on September 4, 1884. As a major contributor to the development and betterment of a city that Rose strongly believed in, the home was built to house children left without parents to raise and guide them. The home purchased a tract of land here to bury those children that died early in life. In the span of the sixty plus years that the Home was in operation, only 12 deaths occurred at the home; some to illness, but more to accidents. Seven of these children are buried at Historic Highland Lawn Cemetery on the east side of town
On December 13, 1967, an agreement was made between the Board of the Chauncey Rose Orphans Home and the Board of Cemetery Regents to transfer the title of all unused Cemetery lots to the City of Terre Haute. The Board of Cemetery Regents agreed to pay $60.00 per grave to the Chauncey Rose Orphans Home. Highland Lawn then resold the lots to the public.
Some Stories from Former Residents
Phone Interview—Female Resident 1930s—2/18/03
*Dorothy was about l0 years in early 1930's when she entered the home. Her younger sister, *Fern was adopted out when she was 6. Her brother, *Jim ran away and was sent to a farm up north. Mr. Alden discovered he was not going to school where he was living, so brought him back to the home. These are some of her memories:
"We were taught how to be a lady or a gentleman. I have no complaints. I worked in the main building. I owe a lot to the orphanage. They taught me how to work. We had it good. We were taught table manners. I was lucky. I didn't go hungry. I left in 1937 or 1938. I worked in the Reception Offices—cleaned and mopped the floors. In the evening we would wash windows on the inside. I was taught nothing was for free. All children had chores.
I was responsible for taking care of younger girls at bath time. I had to see that protégés were clean and ready for bed.
After leaving the home I never had trouble getting a job. I had to be responsible for myself. Ms. Eva, Mr. Alden's sister played the piano—a big black piano. She had taught school. So glad I was there. I walked to Wiley High School. I took a sandwich of peanut butter or applesauce. Had to drink water. I was the only girl at Wiley who had to wear cotton lisle hose. Money was scarce. On Saturday, I would buy make up. We had to hide everything. Once I bought a pair of rayon hose. I put them in my pocket book and on the way to school I would stop at the station and put my rayon hose on. On the way back, I would change back into my cotton stockings. Four of us older girls were allowed to move into the sewing room. Mrs. Wheaton would take us to the kitchen and let us cook and make candy. I was sickly and so thin. Mrs. Wheaton would go down and get a glass of milk. I got spoiled. We didn't have much, but we did have food.
Having no parents was hard on us. I have never been able to find my brother, *Sam. He worked in Las Vegas. I sent letters to him, but they were returned. He married a Japanese woman. I lost track of him. My sister, Irma got to know him better.
Living at the Home gave me an inferiority complex.
Very thankful—Taught us how to work. Nothing free. Best training I could have. Nothing but the kindest word.
Took course at Indiana Normal School (College). Typing—Prepared me for the world.
Kids not at the Home, but who lived near were sometimes jealous of us because they often did not have food.
At 5:30 a.m. we had to be ready for work. Dust and clean offices, mop stairways. Mrs. McKinney was house keeper. Lots to do—worked all the time. When came back at noon even worked. We even washed 11 or l2 windows inside and outside.
Dad had lost his job—couldn't get work—worked at auto repair shop. Worked at Roots Glass Company one day / week. Mother canned a lot Both parents were alive. We didn't see mother for a long time. The boys resented it more than the girls. Sister adopted when she was 5 or 6.
Mother would come out on street car, but then moved to East and never came to see the children. The Depression was devastating. Can imagine how difficult to leave children. Father remarried, but children didn't like step mother. Didn't forgive father. He treated her girls better. Would not let his own children hold his hand.
Boys who worked at the barn got occasional egg and bacon. When I was younger, I resented some of the work. I took care of the younger children.
One farmer was killed by a bull—was before l936
The supply matron relieved cottage managers one day per week."
*Name changed to protect privacy
Interview done by Margaret Miles and used by Mrs. Miles permission
IN HER OWN WORDS
Our mother died in March 1932. My father was a truck farmer and was away a lot taking produce and fruit to various city markets such a Vincennes, Evansville and Indianapolis. He had trouble finding reliable sitters/housekeepers for my sister, 6, my brother, 9 and me. He explained the problem to us and told us about and showed us the Rose Home. He told us he would be paying for our support. He left the decision to us three children. I had been a very carefree and immature eleven year old who had to grow up overnight, so I could understand the hell my daddy was going through. I had to convince the brother and sister that we had no choice, but to make things better for daddy.
Daddy wept and when we arrived and Chauncey Rose School at the end of August, l933, we were terrified and lonely and heartbroken. Our lives were never to be the same.
Prior to Christmas l936, some friends at the Home I were chosen to be in a play to be presented at our Christmas party at the Kerman Grotto. Our rehearsals took place at the YWCA, then located on North 7th Street. I do not recall the name of the play, the director or producer, but I do recall that we were to "Old busy-body, nosy neighbors" and we received a standing ovation. It was funny and fun. Afterward, Miss Eva Alden played carols on the piano as I lead the audience in song. My father was there and as I sang to him, I could see tears on his cheek and he smiled at me. What a memory! A few days later, Mr. Alden called us together to tell us our beloved Daddy had died.
Children were seldom permitted to enjoy any activities at school. Perhaps I should say "the girls weren't". I don't really know about the boys. They did have Boy Scouts. Later, however, *Barbara P and I were allowed to join the Glee Club and we were to perform at the Shrine Temple. We sang "Trees" and were gorgeous in our long gowns (courtesy of Miss Barbara Alden). We were highly congratulated by our schoolmates.
When we arrived back at the Home after the program, the front door of our cottage had been left unlocked for us. Only a light over the stairway was left on. When we arrived home, we locked the door behind us and changed into our PJs (in the dark living room) and proceeded up the stairs and into our beds. (Our BEAUTIFUL BEDS! How wish I owned at least one.) I must have slept instantly, only to be awakened some time later by a lot of loud, nearly hysterical girls' voices. I was the only one still asleep in my bed unaware of a disaster. My bed was on a center row on the north side of the dormitory, near the last row. *Barbara's bed was on the south side of the dorm, the first bed inside the Door. She had been asleep also, but rudely awakened by a man sitting on her bed. All hell broke loose and police came to haul away drunken man!. I think I was the only person to turn over and go back to sleep. I never knew what, if anything happened to the man.
When I first went to the Home, many there were nearly eighteen and ready to leave. To them, I was a "little girl" and they were the "big girls". That soon changed. The big girls took care of the little ones, but I always had the care of my sister. I also had the care of the sweetest little girl, Mary, for a short time. Someone else inherited her care when I was permanently sent to work in the laundry. Many of the girls wanted this job. I worked at the mangle and made up a lot of stories to tell the others. This made the work go faster. *Brenda, one of the other girls, and I would dream of going to Hawaii. By the time I could have gone, The Hawaii I wanted to see no longer existed. I was very proud when Mr. Alden decided it was my honor to be the only one to iron his white shirts.
When I was sixteen, Mr. Alden told me I'd have to leave Wiley High School to become an employee in the laundry as assistant manager. My income would pay the way for me and my brother and sister. I earned extra money for handling the laundry problems of several of the lady managers' personal clothing. I learned mending and once replaced pockets in a pair of jeans of Murlin. I also had sewing in school and made a lot of clothes for *Brenda and myself and for *Fern, a sweet child who had lost her speech and hearing to measles. (She, her husband son were visitors in my home years later until we lost contact about 1953)
Miss Eva was appreciative of my voice and coached me in my singing and spoke often of a fine career I could enjoy someday. I was much too shy and that never happened.
Mrs. Katherine Alden wasn't too involved with us as she was teaching, but at least once a year, she would come to our lovely chapel and deliver a story to us—an object lesson and we would always wonder eagerly "What will it be this year? Will it be different?" It never was. It was always about "the Fallen Sparrow". I do recall one lovely summer; she took volunteers on a jaunt outside and taught us about the Big Dipper and Little Dipper, The Milky Way, Orion, Etc. I loved that.
We were allowed various holiday parties and I recall one Valentine's Party, we had a dance contest. *Ben won for the boys and I won for the girls. I don't know his dance, but I think I did the "Cakewalk". I do not remember what the prize was, but I certainly remember the honor.
One time someone gave an upright piano to us at the girls' cottage. No one played, but before my mother died, she had taught me some chords. I worked and worked at it and the first song I mastered was "The Turkey in the Straw". There came many others, but that is the one stuck in my memory. Needless to say, it was fun, but nothing every came of it.
Girls went to Wiley High School and boys went to Gerstmeyer (except for Earl White). We got to know many of the clerks at Roots Department Store, policemen, firemen, gas station attendants and workers at Miller-Parrott Baking Company who would give us bags of broken cookies for l0 cents because we walked to school every day and they all got to know us. We always had autograph books and we would have them sign them. One fireman wrote, "Dear Jail Bait! Hurry and grow up". I was too dumb to know what he meant. I recall *Judy and I skipping 9th hour study and went to The Terre Haute House because I HAD to meet my hero, Hoagy Carmichael, who was the "man of the hour" for his wonderful "Stardust" which even today remains a favorite classic. I wish I still had his autograph and my autograph books.
Saturdays were full days at our tasks. Mrs. Wheaton, bless her heart, always had us a mid morning snack of either a peanut butter or sandwich spread sandwiched and milk (our wonderful milk) I am still never without peanut butter.
Every Saturday, all of our many chairs, desks, tables—everything was moved in the long living room area because our beautiful floors were scrubbed, rinsed, waxed and buffed with those heavy, long handled buffers until they were like mirrors. On Friday nights, we were permitted to dance, skate, and tumble or perform our acrobatics to our hearts' content. Also, on rainy days, especially our active recreation was enjoyed in our "attic" on the third floor. Here, we were allowed space for any hobby materials we might have, such as dolls, games, skates, etc. My hobbies were collecting match book covers, movie magazines and sewing. There were tumbling mats, gymnastic equipment, including long heavy ropes attached to the high ceiling. We would climb and try to perform as we had seen done at the circus.
I certainly remember that we were always invited to every circus and carnival that came to town. They were always located in the wide open acreage on the south side of Wabash Avenue. We got to see them set up and what a thrill to watch the "BIG TOP" rise. We also got to watch every parade with all the magnificent animals, their smells and the glorious music from the wondrous calliope. I know some of the boys had "hands-on' adventures there. AH! Those were the days.
Our first Christmas at the Home was a terrible time for us, as it was always. Not being with family was the worst part. The Kerman Grotto Members always made sure we had gifts and treats. Every year, Terre Haute would have a parade to welcome Santa Claus. Many of us were in that parade, riding on lavishly decorated floats. The first year I was dressed in a fairy-like costume and was the very first creature leading the entire shebang. I nearly froze to death and have never forgotten how frigid the weather was. My father was there to wrap me for warmth before we started and followed right along to the end and had a friend there to give us hot cider. I wonder how many have retained the memory of that miserable, exciting, wonderful night.
For quite a long time, it was my task to assemble all the girls each evening and lead them in the learning of many special Bible verses. Then someone else would teach a lesson.
Every summer we girls would all try to get a tan. Being blonde and light complected, I always got a bad sun burn. It peeled and itched and drove me crazy, but my friends doctored me and it was the job of whoever stood behind me during Sunday morning choir to discreetly scratch my back. AHHH! What a relief!
All lights were to be out at 9:00 p.m. with us all nestled in our beds and for the most part, we obeyed. However, there were times when one of us had a particularly exciting mystery and we would huddle under a blanket with a flashlight and read.
Often there would be a certain movie or a certain favorite movie star appearing at the Lyceum Theater which was located at Thirteenth and Wabash Avenue. Several of us—always the same group—decided our young lives would come to a sudden end if we could not attend. As soon as we possibly could make our shoeless, quiet descent down the fire escape, one by one, we would keep to the shadows and side streets and run all the way to the theater. We would arrive breathless, exhausted, but happy to plop down our precious hoarded dime and enjoy our "forbidden fruit". No one ever seemed to notice that we had our gowns or PJ's on over under our clothes. Only once did we nearly run into the headlights of Mrs. Alden's car. It was worth the fear.
The many rules were strict and enforced. For every misdemeanor, we were issued various numbers to be marked against us. Only 32 marks and we were "off the roll". It was very easy to acquire those measly 32 marks. Often, depending on the crime, one would be sent to the office to stand in judgment before Mr. Alden. That never happened to me, but I was told his severest punishment was to grasp a hand of the young sinner and slap the palm with a ruler one or two times or more. In our cottage, we liked Wednesdays because it was the day off for our regular cottage manager. We liked her substitutes because we never got marks.
I could never sing the praises enough of Mr. Alden, our friend, our benefactor, nor of his sister, Miss Eva, my voice coach, my friend. I'm afraid I didn't really get to know Mrs. Alden.
Although the rules were more relaxed later, at one time boys and girls were not allowed to speak to each other—hardly to look at each other unless to and fro during school session. How often in passing was it whispered, "Summer House, 9:30?" And lo and behold at 9:30 several of us would get up, dress, walk down stairs and out the back door where we would then gather in our latticed gazebo to talk about everything under the son. We would laugh to our heart's content, while trying to be quiet, then after 30 to 45 minutes later, we would go back to our respective cottages to bed. It was always tacitly agreed that there was more present than one couple—in my time, that is.
A lot of us were good athletes and especially good soft ball players. What a lot of fun it was when we were allowed to play base ball against the boys over in front of cottage # 3!
I tell you, I can still hear the crack of the ball as it hit my bat and feel the thrill as I watched that ball sail away over our foes heads and I flew for "Home". This was, of course, after the rules were more relaxed.
To many who have never cared enough to attend our many reunions, must not have the good memories that I have, nor have they realized how lucky we were to be at Chauncey Rose School. Some of you still call it "Rose Home" or "Rose Orphans' Home".
We were all shy in school, mostly because of what we thought was a stigma of being "In the Home". I know that was true in my case. Imagine my surprise when my homeroom and sewing teacher at Wiley chose me to be our room's Red Cross Representative and the honor I felt only to have it all ruined when Mr. Alden decided I could not serve because it would interfere with my studies and my work schedule. I was always under the impression that all of our classmates knew where I lived. That was disproved when I was 16 when a group of five or six classmates, daughters of doctors, lawyers, and bankers told me they were planning a summer junket to Europe and invited me to join them. This was in 1937. I was yanked from school and to my recollection; I never saw any of those girls again. I wonder if they got to take their trip to Europe. I know never did. But to our sorrow, after December 7, l941, several of our boys saw Europe, Asia, Africa, The South Seas and other parts of the world. Many never returned. What a tragedy! What a loss!
One summer, a terrible storm blew in and developed into a tornado. One of my friends and I were looking out the window of our locker room (facing East) and saw that wind
literally move the top of the silo near the barn to one side. When the storm was over and we were allowed outside to inspect whatever damage there might be, we were amazed. Trees were down and tops of other trees covered the lawn all the way from our front porch out to 25th Street. We soon made a game "Tarzan and Jane" in our playhouse jungle, but those damned saws came along and destroyed it all.
Every once in a while, we girls were permitted to collect whatever talent any of us thought we might possess and present our production to those "On the Roll" and wanted to attend. The chapel, where our efforts were presented, always had a good attendance. After all, it was free and now that I think of it, maybe it wasn't a voluntary attendance.
Anyway, we practiced hard with our singers, dancers, jokesters and comics. We had one good comic who is still with us today. One of her acts was that of a toothless old lady who had lost her dentures. She finally found them when she sat on them in her rocking chair. It was her little brother who died from tetanus following a cut on his heel from a dirty lawn mower blade. We all cried a lot for Johnny**.
I had always wanted to be a nurse and took home nursing at school. I often cared for children who became ill at school. Mr. Alden often let me be the one to take them by cab to the doctor at the Rose Dispensary Building and care for them at the Home. I often took children for tonsillectomies and I can still smell that ether. Even the taxi reeked with it. I never lost a patient.
My sister would often waken me in the night to take her to the bathroom. One night, as I got up, I fainted. Our cottage manager put me to bed with a sore throat, but we had a cruel substitute manager that day and she made me get up and go to school. Two weeks later, I fainted again and again the substitute was on duty. "The witch", as we had dubbed her thought I was pretending. She forced my mouth open and then said, "Oh my god! Go see Mr. Alden right now." I had my first case of "strep" throat and spent the next two weeks in isolation. It wasn't a total loss. I never saw "the witch" again. She had been replaced. We all benefited from my "strep" throat.
High up somewhere in the main building, there was a room called the "lock-up" where often children had been placed in isolation with various contagious diseases such as diphtheria, scarlet fever, chicken pox, measles, etc. In later years the "lock-up" was used for really bad offenses, such as running away. Most of us never saw the place. Before our father died, my brother was a delightful, obedient child, but his behavior changed in later years. The manager in # 2 cottage made his life (and the life of all others under her care) hell. It was well known that to punish the children in # 3 cottage, or at least to keep them under her thumb, the manager had only to say, "If you don't behave yourself, I'll send you to # 2 and see how you like that."
The boys in # 2 cottage, including my brother, rebelled against the world and especially their cottage manager. He was in that lock-up a lot for funning away and coming back. I spent a lot of time talking "up" to him, as did a lot of the other girls because many had
crushes on him. At least when he was in the lock-up, I knew where he was. When he was gone, all I did was worry about him and his welfare. Thankfully, he was often returned before I even knew he had "flown the coop". In l939, he was 16 years old and he left once more and that time, they didn't bring him back. That same year, I turned l8 and the rules said "at l8, you leave". We were not ready for that strange outside world. We are living proof that we "made it", but I have to admit that that outside world has grown even stranger.
*Names changed for privacy reasons
**See the Highland Lawn Rose Home Memorial page
Interview done by Margaret Miles and used by Mrs. Miles permission.
Interview with *Ben
January 13, 2004
The circus grounds were at the SE corner of 25th and Wabash, just across from the Home.
There was a fruit stand, a watermelon stand and an old street car which had been converted into a diner. The skating rink was a little further E. Every Saturday afternoon, the skating rink was open for the kids from the Home.
Two times a month, Mr. Nickles, from the Orpehum Barber shop came to the home to cut hair. A stool would be put on a chair for the younger boys. The hair cuts were 25 cents each.
Sometimes at night, the manager would play Bunco with several of the older ones. The kids all had to go to bed early, the younger ones at 7:00 and the older ones at 9:00. If the manager heard the kids talking she would others in to spy on them and tell on the others.
The carnival came at least 3 times a year using the circus grounds. There was usually something going on about every night. With the windows open in the summer time, it was hard to ignore all the excitement and go to sleep. Often we would sneak out and go across the street to join in the fun.
*Names changed for privacy reasons
Interview done by Margaret Miles and used by Mrs. Miles permission.
Interview — February 4, 2003
He said that his cottage matron was so mean. "She used to grab me by the collar, like this," as he shows how she would grab him. He then demonstrated how he would hang onto the edge of the table. "She would shake us as hard as she could."
Most of the kids thought the Home was a wonderful place, but a few did not. Those who learned to follow the rules thought it was a good place, but those who did not did not think is was good. "We had rules that were laid down. We were taught to respect the managers."
You could eat off the floors. They had to be cleaned up for meals.
There was no modern plumbing at home. We had an outhouse and ice box.
We did not have the run of the ground. Each cottage had own play ground.
*Names changed for privacy reasons
Interview done by Margaret Miles and used by Mrs. Miles permission.