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R. David Fehringer
1962-63, 14 years old.
I was picked up from school by a Polk County employee named Earl Branch during early 1962 and was taken to the Juvenal Center which was located behind Bartow Ford Dealership at that time. About a month later I was sent to FSB and assigned to #5, Polk Cottage where approximately 4 days later Guidance Center director Mr. Curry and his disciplinarian Mr. Sealander took me and another boy down to the boy scout club (White House) and then to #12 Pierce Hall's Detention Center because another boy had informed on us for making plans to run away. We were both keep in this Detention Center for about 2 weeks and when we were returned to Polk Cottage we found out this fink had been moved to #11, Cleveland Cottage so we couldn't retaliate against him. Several months later I was signed to #11 by then this informer had already gone home.
I can still clearly remember one of the most abusive experiences I had at FSB because it was totally uncalled for and should had been considered a minor infraction. At that time my cottage Father was Mr. Sutton who took us to the swimming pool on weekends during that summer. One day I ran about half way around the swimming pool when this cottage Father blew his whistle and I hollered at him that 68 people had already done that and dove in. By the time I'd swam across and started to get out of the pool, he was already there yelling at me and telling me that I'd pay for calling him a queer. All of us boys there at FSB used this type of slang words in a humorous way and always saying that 68 people had already done something which jokingly meant the next one who did it was a queer.
My cottage Father sent a boy to the office for disciplinarian help and Mr. Hatton of the Directors Office who lived on campus and Mr. Sealander of the Guidance Center came down to the pool and Mr. Sutton convinced them to take me down to the White House for calling him a queer. I was taken directly from there down to the Boys Scout Club in my swimming trunks and when Mr. Sealander quit whipping me I could hardly get off the cot on my own and couldn't even sit down properly for several weeks. By the time all this had taken place my cottage had already changed clothes and went to the dinning hall so Mr. Sealander took me to my cottage to take a shower and change clothes. I'll never forget that Saturday evening when I was both severely beaten and sent to bed hungry.
I was there approximately 16 months before I was put on the MUST GO HOME list, if you White House boys remember what that means.
I could fully describe this White House along with several other whippings and another Peirce Hall Detention but that swimming pool incident is the only one that still haunts me. There was also some good experience for a 14 year old boy, such as the entire cottage playing capture the flag, pom-pom pull away, and numerous other group games. We also got plenty of exercise playing on the horizontal and parallel bars along with weight lifting and track and field events.
At this time I would like to write a word of remembrance about Mr. Floyd, who is probably deceased now and one of my most respected cottage Fathers. This was the only adult there that I can remember who was really concerned about us kids health, safety, and welfare. He always refereed all our games fairly, participated in several of our group sports, and especially loved playing one on one basket ball with us. He was definitely a good man and in no way contributed to the physical abuse that's taken place over the years at FSB.
My deceased brother-in-law Robert (Rocky) E, Newsome was also subjected to the White House on several occasions in 1960-61 at FSB.