Maylands Salvation Army, Girls' Home
I am in the entrance foyer of a large house.
The wood floor is highly polished.
There is a large stairway with a turned, wood bannister.
Dad is telling my three year old sister and me
that we must stay here because
he has to work and can't take care of us.
Mum has gone away somewhere.
THE MATRON takes our suitcases and *smiles* at us
instructs us to, "come with her".
Dad says, "he will come and visit us every Sunday".
I am taken to a dormitory and told which bed will be mine.
The bed on the other side of the fire place
belongs to Rosemary.
Our beds skirt, either side of a fireplace
that is midway along the wall, with rows
of beds on each side of it,
as well as opposite,
twenty beds in all.
At the end of the room is an alcove with a curved bay window.
There is a bed there, all by itself.
I can remember being so scared in this room.
The older girls told me, "there is a man with an elastic arm"
who lives on the roof
and, "he can reach down the chimney and grab you".
Although I didn't really believe it, a few nights later,
we were all woken by a piercing scream.
THE MATRON came down to investigate.
The girl who slept in the bay window bed, said,
" a man with a monkey's face" jumped on my bed.
THE MATRON searched everywhere inside and out -
we saw her flash light beam- out there in the darkness-
her report was, " it was nothing." -
probably one of the cats that lived in the wood pile.
I always had trouble sleeping after that
and after lights out -
although it was strictly forbidden -
I would creep across and climb
into Rosemary's bed.
Although her bed was an equal distance
from the fireplace as mine
the human warmth and contact made me feel safe
against unknown forces of the night.
I slept on the edge of nightmares until, finally
I left that place.
From- Rememberances of an 8 year Old.
For Frank H..... I recall.....Contest
Copyright © Suzanne Delaney