One of the things I do to relax is to survey the news a few times a day on my phone. Maybe the right word isn’t relax, but I like to read and keep informed. It was Friday night and getting late. I was in bed surveying the news. My boyfriend had just fallen asleep. He’s one of those people that can all asleep instantly.
A few minutes after he fell asleep I spotted a headline – We Saw Nuns Kill Children: The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage – A shocking headline. Whenever I see the word “orphanage,” I think of my boyfriend. Although he was only 50 years old, I was shocked to learn he spent a part of his early life in a Vermont orphanage. I thought orphanages had gone the way of the dinosaur. He seemed too young to had been in one.
The orphanage he lived in was in Burlington Vermont and as was the one from the story. It had to be the same place. How many orphanages could there be in Burlington? I had been there; it was a small town.
I looked over at him sleeping. I didn’t want to wake him up, but I had to know. I woke him up. I asked him if St. Joseph was the orphanage he was at. I expected him to say no. I relaxed as I asked him. I was being stupid. I couldn’t be that one.
“Yea,” he said nonchalantly. That’s the one. Horrified I shoved the phone in his face.
“They killed kids there,” I said.
He was awake now. “I never saw any of that,” he said. “They were only a few of us there, four or five.”
“They threw this kid out of a fourth story window.” I snapped back at him.
“Maybe he fell.” He mumbled and went to sleep. He did that thing men do so well where they can slip pesky information into a compartment, ignore it and move on. The incident with the boy going out of the window happened years before his time. The boy went out the window in 1944 he was there in the early seventies.
I saved the story for him to look at later. A few days later it did what none of my previously saved stories had done. It reappeared in my feed. I clicked on it again and realized it was a long article with lots of pictures. I showed him all the pictures, and he recognized every one. He used a picture of houses taken out of a window to show me where a gas station was that was out of the frame. He used to hang out there.
Long before I saw the article, I had cautiously asked him about abuse. He shrugged. He was a wild kid that grew very tall and strong quickly. Nothing happened to him at the orphanage. As is usual for him he moved on and acted like he never heard of the article, but I was haunted.