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Robert L. Baxter

This is my story.

I lived with my grandfather until 1947. My mother was a drunk and chose men of the same caliber. In 1947 my grandfather, for what ever reason let my mother take me to live with her in Bradenton Florida. I wasn’t used to being around drinking and constant fighting; as a result I stayed away from home as much as possible. I started skipping school and staying out all hours of the night. This got the juvenile authorities involved in my life. In 1948 we moved to St. Petersburg Florida; the same thing happened there. That was in 1948 or 49 In 1948 my grandfather died, that left my mother to do whatever she wanted to in regard to me. When my mother and her man decided to turn me over to the juvenile dept. in St. Pete they would do nothing. At this time they got in contact with the juvenile dept in Bradenton. I believe the lady there was the one who sent me to the Boys School at Marianna Fl. It was in late 49 that my commitment to Marianna took place.

I ran away and got caught 3 days later. I got back to the school about 1 or 2 am. They took me to the White House or Ice Cream factory as it was known then. Hatton was the one who administered the beating. He used a wooden board at that time. When Hatton finished beating me my ass was bleeding and blood was running down my legs into my shoes. They told me to get to my cottage which was # six. I was scared and confused. Instead of going to my cottage I ran again. This time they caught me in two days. I was still wearing the same cloths I had on at first beating. I hadn’t eaten hardly anything at this point in four or five days. They took me back to the White House and administered another very vicious beating again telling me they would make sure I didn’t run again. After this beating, I don’t remember how but I wound up in the hospital. I was there a few days then went back to my cottage. I didn’t run away again but I did make one more trip to the White House for fighting. I spent 10 months six days and one hour in the most child abusive place I’ve ever heard or thought about. The staff there was far worse than the beasts you read about in the Nazi concentration camps. I can only thank God an aunt of mine found out where I was and came and got me. I went to live with her in Madison, Florida from there I enlisted in the U.S.M.C. and served my time with an Honorable Discharge. Living with this story buried within me has caused a lot of anger and affected my relationships with others. This is the very first time I’ve ever told the complete story.