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Lost In A Desert World

Creator: Roland Johnson (author)
Date: 1994
Source: Available at selected libraries

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I went around with groups. We had to go outside or we went down across the subway. The subway was underground; we would walk through there when it snowed, rained. We would walk through underground, the subway, to the dining room. It was a big, big subway; it was hard for me to figure it out; all the buildings was connected.


They had a dairy. The truck used to come early in the morning to pick up the milk and have it homogenized. I saw it around six o'clock when I was going over to the dining room. It would stop at the kitchen and they would pick up something from there. Trucks would bring coal; they would wave -weigh -- K.W.- it before they take it down there to the powerhouse, the generator with all the steam.


I was afraid of these grown men -- these was not workers; these was actually patients on the ward. We would be sitting on the long benches after we come in from the dining room hall or come home after school; we would come back and we would be watching TV. We had a black and white; we didn't have a colored one. I used to watch the American Bandstand after school. And I seen these people doing things to these other children and I say, "I hope this don't happen to me." And I just was scared; I was frightened.


I believe that the workers had their hands tied. It was only three attendants on the ward at that time; there was be about a hundred and twenty-two patients. The attendants had their hands full. They was overloaded with work, taking care of the residents and making sure the residents get the places where they're supposed to go.


It was just a terrible thing to see. The doctors would make the rounds on the ward and the nurses too. And the supervisor would make the rounds, but this didn't take place until when the other shifts was changing over.


I didn't like it at all. Boys used to call me names and laugh at me. It was some of my age, but not much. People would be following you around and axing you for things and stuff like that.


I got scared at around the nighttime. All this stuff happened late at night. Lot of people was sleeping. And they'd be boys with these grown people and they would be waking up other people, their friends, getting them out of bed. I thought that they was going to do that to me. And they did and I couldn't do nothing about it.


At that time I was sexual abused.


It was very bad. Grown people laid me down on the floor and nowhere to break away from them and tell them, "No, you can't do this."


It was grown patients, higher functioning patients. They had sexual with little kids. And no one would help. This would all happen when the attendants wasn't looking. Some of the attendants was sleeping, wasn't aware of what's going on. And they would have sex with me. And they did all kinds of things to me. They did awful things to me. It was very scary. It was very, very painful.


My family didn't visit, not right away. I was ashamed of people using me when I was a little boy. I don't know. . .It was just very hard to talk about. I tried to talk to my father about it, but he was very busy; I just couldn't talk to him. I did try tell my mother, but I don't think she could do much about it. She would tell me, "If they bother you again, you just tell somebody. Go and tell somebody." And every time I tell somebody, they do the same thing over after the attendants leave. She talked to the supervisor when she came to visit me: "I heard there's some problems with my son. . ." and "Could you help him? He tells me that boys is picking on him and doing things with him." The supervisor didn't do anything. They talked to my mother that it didn't happen. It did happen.


But I wasn't disappointed; I can pick up things when not even looking; I can feel something. I pick up scents -- like someone is coming towards me or something, getting ready to hit me or something -- I can pick up a scent. My mother wasn't a person that would know anybody that she could go to; she had no control over that.


My first teacher treated us nice. That's how I remember. There was lots of kids, lots of boys and girls. We used to work on how to learn to write our letters, ABC's, and how to spell, how to print, write your name and stuff like that; sing songs -- "The wipers on the bus goes 'swish, swish, swish'. . .Tic, tac, toe. . .When the leaves turn colors in the autumn, red, orange, gold, and brown. . ."


I went to homemaking, and sewing, and cooking. They teached us how to bake a cake and pies. I learned about wood shop: I made tables, coffee tables, bird houses, a wagon, a child's desk table, stuff like that. We'd sew pants; I made a dress, a shirt.


Some would go in at ten o'clock; some would go at one o'clock. I was protected from school, because people was around. They would not go to hit me and stuff like that.


I had a friend. He used to get me scared. He used to say, "If you don't watch yourself here, they will write a little note and send you to a bad ward, and they will keep you on the ward and put you in the sweat box, put you in shackles and restraint jackets. . ." and all this kind of stuff.

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