The stability of four years came to sudden end in May, 1960, when I was abruptly removed from the Monshor's home. I was placed in the Wayne County, Michigan Youth Detention Center. My crime: at age ten I was guilty of not having a family to claim me as their son nor a place to call home.
The Detention Center was to be my home until a new foster home was found. Here I was placed amongst youth offenders who were charged with a wide assortment of crimes. My bed, to start due to overcrowding, would be a thin mattress in the open area of the block.
I am the youngest boy on the block, as well as the smallest. Though I attempted to fight as best I could I was unable to overcome the attacks of older boys. I was repeatedly sexually assaulted.
One day after being assaulted and left naked in a cell, I felt my life was no longer worth living and attempted to hang myself with a belt. I was discovered before the act could be completed and placed in an isolation cell, where I would remain for two months.
Those responsible for the repeated rapes are never charged or held accountable in any manner.
In late July, another foster home was found...the eleventh in ten years. This is the only foster home experience I have any memory of, other than the three times with the Monshors.
The two homes were as different as night and day. How this home was ever approved as a foster home, I will never know. With the Monshors I was made to feel a part of the family, whereas at this home I feel I was considered a monthly stipend.
My bedroom was a cot out on the enclosed back porch. Because this was also the laundry room it was important that I put everything away first thing each morning. I was actually allowed to sleep in the house one night, when I got sunburned. I slept on the kitchen floor with a fan running to keep me cool. I was given an extra blanket during the winters months. However, it was still cold and most nights I also slept also in my clothes to keep somewhat warm.
I was given one meal a day. This was dinner and it was expected to last me until the following night. I was not allowed to eat this one meal with the family. A plate was prepared for me to take out to the back porch to eat alone.
I was also expected to do my homework out on the porch after dinner then go to bed. The only time I was really allowed in the house was to use the bathroon facilities. I made sure I used them and would be out of the house before others began rising.
When school began in the fall I was expected to walk about a mile to and from school each day...and not through the best of neighborhoods. This was also despite the fact that both their son and daughter had cars and could have driven me to school.
I arrived at school most days quite hungry. This was in the days before school lunch programs. Here, I learned how to steal to take care of my hunger. I was going to a Catholic school and each school day started with mass. I began to arrive at mass a little later than the other students. Most left their lunches in the outer lobby. Because I didn't want anyone else to go hungry, I would sneak around to different lunches and steal different items so I too would have something to eat during the day. I never got caught. After all these years I still feel bad about having done this.
There was a Catholic church also close to this foster home. I went to mass one Saturday morning. An elderly priest offered the mass. I was the only boy in attendance. The priest stopped me that Saturday and asked me if I lived in the neighborhood and if I would like to be an altar boy for Saturday mass. I answered yes to both questions. Father took me out for breakfast after that mass and each and every Saturday thereafter. I now had a second meal on Saturday and didn't have to steal it.
I soon developed a habit on Saturdays where I would leave Father and find a way to run off to the Monshors to spend the rest of the day. They welcomed me with open arms. I would leave in time to get back to this home before dark. After a few weeks it was arranged with the Monshors to pick me up after breakfast with Father and then drop me back off at this home, parking a couple blocks away so no one would know. This foster family never asked where I spent my Saturday, though I would be gone all day. They didn't seem to care.
I remember Christmas 1960 with this family. A few weeks prior to Christmas, I was taken to St. Vincent de Paul Center to get my semiannual allotment of clothes. Those clothes were what I found under the tree for me that Christmas morning; there was nothing from the family.
I do not remember ever having a tender or loving moment with this family. I was not a part of it. I was just the foster care system's kid for whom they were providing a bed and a meal a day...that was the extent of it. I was to spend 8-1/2 months in this hellhole.
On the night of April 15, 1961, I was told to pack my paper bag, and that I would be leaving in the morning. All I could think of was, "Here we go again."
The final insult of this foster home came on my final night there. Their son, seventeen at the time, came back on the porch late during the night. He nudged me roughly. When I opened my eyes, light was coming through the porch windows so I could see him. He was standing over me, exposing himself, close to my mouth saying, "Take care of this for me." I remember kicking out at him and then wailing away at him. I hit him everywhere I possibly could creating noises as he crashed into things. All the time I was yelling to arouse the rest of the house.
Finally his Mother came out to see what was going on. I yelled out, with tears rolling down my face, "He tried to force himself on me sexually." He called me a liar and said he was just checking on me.
His Mother believed him and not me. She said, "You are a rotten no good for nothing boy, a dirty little boy, a liar. No wonder no one wanted me as I wasn't fit to have anyone to want me. Good thing you will soon be out of our house, you ungrateful little bastard." At least she got the bastard part correct.
I sat there in stunned silence with what I heard, while crying now uncontrolably. Then I had my chance. I stood up and decked her son. I got a good hit in as I knocked out one of his front teeth...not bad for a scrawny eleven year old.
Dawn was soon approaching. It couldn't come fast enough for me, I couldn't wait to get out of there. I remember being slapped hard across the face and told to go get my bag and get out of their house...to sit on the front porch until the case worker came for me. That suited me just fine! When the case worker arrived I ran for the car.