U A .- JA.QQ S
Children's Home, I had the benefits of all modern medicine as young doctors interned there
and children came from all over the state to receive treatment.
As decreed by the court, the time came for all of us to go the Arkansas Children's
Home and Hospital, as it was called then. The caseworker from there came and brought clothes
for us. We went to Hoxie, Ark. and caught the train to Little Rock. We were placed in
quarantine for a week (like immigrants) and then were separated into the Boys' Home and the
My life and the lives of my siblings took dramatic turns after we arrived at the
Arkansas Children's Home and Hospital. My lifelong friend, Miss Ruth Beall was not the
administrator when we children arrived. The homes were two big stately southern mansions.
The dining hall was in the boys' home, but we still were separated as we ate.
All work relating to caring for all the children was on premises and the laundry,
cooking, and cleaning was done by people whose skin color I had never seen before. I
remember asking another boy, "What kind of people are those with the dark skin?" I had never
seen a black person before. But as I stayed at the home until I entered the army in 1942, I grew
close to many of the long-time staff and loved to talk to Geneva who ruled the kitchen and
fixed special things for me when I came home during my stay in the army. There was Bessie
who ruled the laundry room and many times I would help Bessie on the mangle to do all the
sheets that came to be washed and ironed. These women worked there for many, many years
and were really our friends. When one of the old-timers passed away, there was always
sadness tinged with a fond remembrance of how these friends had help us get out of scrapes,
cooked something special or given us kind words of encouragement.
In the home at the time I arrived, there were about 100 boys and equally that number
of girls. My baby sister was adopted out of the hospital almost immediately, and the other
sisters were adopted shortly. My brother was also adopted. Whenever anyone came to adopt a
child, the prospective parents were asked, "What age child do you want?" Miss Hornberg, the
office lady, would line us up and the people would make their selection. I kept up with my
sisters but one day when she went to eat, I saw that they were gone. Another day there was a
woman with my brother. She was Ethel Adams, the lady who was arranging to adopt him.
Bobby was telling her he wanted his brother, but she did not know he had a brother. She took
us both back to the office and really told Miss Hornberg off. She did not want to break up a
family, but she wanted my brother. Mrs. Adams told Miss Hornberg that I was welcome to
visit all I wanted and could come at any time. She became my Aunt Ethel, and I visited often. I
was always invited at Christmas. Her husband became my Uncle Bruce -- he drove a meat
packing route truck. This whole family meant a lot to me and through the years I visited often
with them. In 1937, the family who adopted my sister Nadine (Wanda) came to see me at the
home. She had been adopted into a very nice family by the name of Martindill from Searcy,
In 1939, a similar visit took place with the people who had adopted my baby sister.
Lorene (Betty). I had been in the home of her adopted grandmother quite often, because
Betty's adopted uncle was a friend of mine as he was our coach at the Boys' Club. However,
this was not known to me until the day that Mrs. Hughes came to the home with the adopted
baby (Betty) and made all this known to me. I couldn't get over the fact that I was a friend
with Mrs. Hughes' two brothers and that their baby sister was now Betty's mother.
I now knew where all my family was except for Opal Maydella. It took me 47 years to
find her. I always yearned to find her and would wish that I could just find her standing
somewhere so that I could see her. My dream was finally realized. In 1980, I made one of my
trips back to Arkansas to see my relatives and the extended family from the home who meant
so much to me. John Dierks and his wife Eloise, friends from the home, were always a stop
Texas State Genealogical Society. Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994. San Antonio, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39868/. Accessed January 30, 2015.