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Gene Luker

Yes it was bad at Florida School for Boys or whatever it is called now, but I was there in 1956-1957 and returned in 1958-1959, I know I have a lot of suppressed memories that is the only way as a child I could deal with what was happing in my life. So I blanked things out. You see I had problem as far back as I can remember. I had a very bad home life as a child, with my Mother and my Stepfather fighting all the time hitting and cursing each other, I remember the shame and pain it would bring me when I heard some the worst words a child could hear coming out of his Mother's mouth.

It disturbed me very bad and I started to react to it in school that is where I begin to have problems, always I lived in fear. My family was very poor and I would sometimes have holes in my shoes with cardboard to cover the holes, my clothes were always clean but raggedy with patches to cover up the holes in the knees. I think that is one reason I kept to myself and shy away from other kids so much. I was a shame and didn't want the other kids asking me questions about my family and why the cops were always at our house of a shack.

If that wasn't enough I also as they say today had a learning disability, I could speak plain nor I see well enough when I sit in the back of the class what the teacher would write on the board for us to read, of course I didn't know I couldn't see, don't what I thought. The 3rd grade they did send me to someone that could help me with my speech and that helped but no one ever thought my and I didn't know about my eyes sight. So I had hard time learning and would not go to school because I hated feeling so dumb. So they begin to send me to the county juvenile home, I must say the judge was very patience with me because I went there like 14 or 15 times before he sent me to Marianna and I just turned 12, that is another reason I think, because then you had to be at least 12 to go the state reformatory.

Of course I was afraid of all the boys there, because they were all bigger than me or I just didn't like them. I was in Washington Cottage #1.

I cannot remember the cottage father that was there when I got to the school, I know a Mr. Glass took over and he was decent person as far as I can remember. The one person I didn't like was Dr. Curry, he would come to the cottage at night and just stand there and watch when we boys were taking a shower and I felt very uncomfortable when he did that, because I was also sexual molested at the age of 8, and the crazy thing is that after he had pulled me into his car and molested me, I went back for more, not because I wanted more sex, but because I had no male in my life that gave me any attention and he did. But I hated myself for it, but he would buy me things and take me to places and I enjoyed that. That was another of my big secrets that I never told anyone until my second time I went to Marianne. I told Dr. Curry, but he never mentions doing anything about it. You see I lived my life feeling that it was my entire fault for some reason. Now back to the school, I was not really mistreated at FSB in the sense that they beat me.

Believe me I had been more mistreated in the juvenile homes and county jails then at FSB. I was beaten at the juvenile homes everyday almost; they were very sick people that ran those places. The county jail, they put me in what they called the silver bullet, like a 4 x 4 cylinder, with no clothes and would turn the high pressure water hose on me and I would lay the in the cold with the only way to keep warm was from my body heat, cured up in a ball like, because it was winter and all the windows were open down in the basement of the jail, they knew I could not get out of the cage. So that was bad. Marianne was just another place for me. I stayed there about 14 months my first time and about the same the second time I went and that was the only time I went to the white house was when I was there my second time.

My second time at FSB, I was placed in I want to say cottage 11, Mr. Sealander, I didn't really like him even those he was not mean to us, just the way he acted. He would look at you like you had always done something wrong and/or about to, maybe he was right, lol.

I tried hard to stay out of trouble and worked on the construction crew, Mr. Goodson was my instructor, he was good man I can't say anything bad about him, I respected him because he was one of the few people that worked there, that I consider to be a man. He was tough, but was all talk. The only time I had a problem was when he made me foreman of the crew and not sure how this guy spelled his name, Sowalker, he and I got into a augment and he hit me in the chest with a sling blade and I reacted in a very violent way, striking back at him with my sling blade hitting him in the wrist and almost cutting it off, because I was swinging at his throat and he throw up his arm to protect himself and that is how he got his wrist cut so bad. I thank God to this day that I didn't kill him.

Mr. Goodson was so upset all he could do was to send me back up hill to my cottage, you see, I like one (A) from becoming an Ace and you know what that meant. Lots of things I would be able to do like go to the movies every time anyone went up town to the movies and a early release to go home. Well I screwed that up, the next thing I knew I was in the new place on the hill, called some kind Hall name. They had solitaire rooms up there, they put me in one. Didn't take me down to beat me, don't know why. I can tell you I did things that I should have been beaten for, but Dr. Walters, I believe that was his name, seemed to like me, because I got in a fight in the dining hall with a guy at my table and wrecked the place and we neither of us went down, which you know was unheard of at that time. There was another I was direct disrespected to a sub cottage father on duty, I had done some work for a instructor that stayed at our cottage, don't remember what he did at the school, I think he was a teacher, anyway he got me to clean his room and for it he gave me a half gallon of ice cream. This Sub cottage father had a couple of the guys to wash his car and told them they could have half of my ice cream and I said they could not, direct disrespect to him because I got in a big augment with him; forcibly in a way. We augured all the way down to the ball field that night because there was a football game and our team was playing. So the next I knew Dr. Walters showed up in his car on the field and I knew I was in trouble. He ask me what the problem was and I told him, it wasn't the fact I didn't want to share the ice cream with the other guys, because we were close friends, but that he didn't have the right to give my ice cream away , it was mine to give to whoever I wanted to give it. He told me to calm down and let it go. I did because I knew he could have taken me down if he wanted to for being disrespected to an instructor. You know that as well as I do, you didn't talk back to a instructor at all, no matter what. But I was standing on my principle of it. Big deal, get my ass beat. (lol).

Anyway, when I was in solitaire some guys that were in the cottage there, overcome an instructor, forced him into a cell and got me out, we took his new Plymouth Fury and escaped in it. I had nothing on but my thin pajamas they gave me to wear in solitaire. Long story won’t go into all of it but we wound up having a wreck with another car we had stolen in Alabama somewhere.

During a 125 miles an hour and came to a cross road that ended when the cops was chasing us. We all got out alive, only by the grace of God I was the only one that wasn't really hurt, So the next day in the Hospital, I got dressed in some clothes that belonged to one of the other guys and tried to escape again, but I got caught, they had guards at our door and no way out, we were famous in that little town, lots of the own girls came to the hospital to see us, The hall was full of young girls wanting to see the bad boys for Marianne.

They took me back to the school that day, put me back in solitaire and left me there for a few days, then come and got me and took me to the white house, I remember some guys walking from the dining hall waving at me and smiling as I was being taken down. Of course I had heard so many things about how they beat you, but I had been beaten before in Juvenile home, with a wooden paddle with holes in it to draw blood when they hit you, so I wasn't to afraid, like so many have said, they told me to get on the bed, bite the pillow and don't move. I never really saw the strap but I felt it (lol), so many times they hit me I lost count and feeling also in my ass, They could have beaten me all day after about 35 hits that there was no more pain, I was dead, couldn't feel anything, yes there was blood all over my pajamas that I know for a fact that was beaten into my ass, because like Roger, they did not take me to the hospital to remove them, I had to do it myself when I was back up in solitaire and they kept me there for 6 weeks before they let me go back to my cottage.

The guys there could not believe that after 6 weeks that my ass still looked the way it did, like a burned hot dog when turned black, you can just peeled the skin off, that is the best way I can describe the way it looked. Anyway that is my story, lots more but don't want to bore you with all of it, took me another 6 or 7 moths staying there before I was sent home. I won't go into the rest of my life, some of it was the best I ever had like marrying the most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes on, having two wonderful daughters and now 5 grandkids, but I became a alcoholic for years I drink so bad, trying forget all my pain and destroying my marriage and going on skid row drinking so bad I lived in the woods the weeds and under some of the best build bridges there was, with God's help and a group of people that took me in I got sober in AA, now it has been 30 years for me without a drink and that is a miracle, by the grace of God, whom I love very much today. I got so sick that the blood banks stop taking me because I was so weak from drinking I would pass out when they took my blood, so I went to a halfway house that friend told me about and to get something to eat and rest, a clean bed to sleep in and they gave it to me. That is where I learned about AA and begin to go to meeting, so it has worked for me now over 30 years, thank god, and from AA, I learned that I had to stop being a victim, to clean off my side of the street, so you see, that is why I don't want to keep on bring up all these things I went thru, I enjoy my sobriety and my life, Good luck to all of you, don't if this will help, maybe it will, I live in Tampa now and you can reach me here, you have my email address and phone number, God Bless all of the Whitehouse boys, we did have it rough growing up.

Gene Luker g.luker@verizon.net