Stella Batson

me. She switched me every now and then on the legs all the way home. We didn’t live but about three miles from school. All the children walked back in those days. One little boy had stayed in after school, and was walking behind grandmother and me. Everyday for several days after that, he would tell everyone about grandmother switching me that day. It was embarrassing. I always give God the credit for whispering in my ear ways to handle a situation. One day God reminded me that every child received their share of punishment from their parents. I knew nothing about that boy’s life. I knew he lived in the mill village. I didn’t know if he had a father at home or not, but I pulled a bluff. I waited the next day for him to talk about grandmother switching me. I spoke up and said, “That is nothing, because I passed by your house the other day and I thought your “Pa” was going to kill you.” He never spoke of my switching again. When I was eleven, Annie was ten, and Marie was seven, mother became deathly ill. She passed out on the street coming home from work. She had to go to the hospital. She had to find a place for us. My grandmother wasn’t equipped to take care of us all by herself. She, with the help of “Preacher Alligood”, and Miss Mary Johnson, our godmother, helpedher get us admitted the Thompson Episcopal Orphanage in Charlotte, NC. This was a wonderful home, and I am still friends with many, many of them. I kept in touch after I graduated and went out on my own. I would send Christmas cards every year to the ones on the alumni list.

Through the years, member of the alumni got to knowme. I would call different ones and ask if they would tell me about their life for a book I hope to write. Now their lives are history in my book. It is really their book because without their stories, there wouldn’t be MEMORIES OF THOMPSON ORPHANAGE. The purpose of this book is to help do away with the stigma of orphanages. I am a strong advocate.

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