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Thomas W. Halstead
On February 22, 1957 6 a.m. we arrived at F.I.S. (FLORIDA INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL) aka--Florida school for boys and/or Arthur G. Dozier ----registration building to "sign in." There were four of us from the Palm Beach County jail being transferred to "Marianna "in the back of a station wagon being driven by Alton Murray the juvenile probation officer for the county. After a few months in the county jail, the long ride to the school wasnít so bad. It was "LilĒ Johnny Mann, James Kenny and some other kid that I didnít know. We were all assigned different cottages, I went to #10-Burkhart was the "cottage father" -my crime was incorrigibility, what ever that is; I always seem to get that word mixed up with "self determination " and the will to succeed-smile!!!! ---
Things went along pretty well for a few months , I got into the band and was doing well in school, then -something happened and Iím not sure , and donít remember what my offense was to earn me a trip to the white house but I think I was written up in a confession and puked on (told on by someone)-----Sat morning (summertime)---the office boy rounded up 4 of us and delivered us to the office to await our appointment with the strap.
INSTRUCTION: Keep your mouth shut and your legs together and hold on to the bars of the bed and donít move a damn muscle.
THE FAN: I heard the ceiling fan clearly and--some other scraping sound which soon wasnít a mystery, it was the strap Hatton used hitting the ceiling giving me 26 licks. Then Burkhart my very own cottage father said ďHave you had enough?Ē I said, ďcan I think about it a lil while?Ē
Well I got 12 more for that little remark-smile--some of that incorrigibility stuff again--and my buttocks was bloody, black and lasted for a couple weeks--after my 38 licks I decided to work hard and get out, as pilot in nine months and six days----Iím glad I was on the receiving end of that strap, its gonna be really hard on the instructors who did the abuse. I wonder if they know that.
As a born again Christian and a cancer survivor; I realize we are all brothers, --the good --the bad --and the ignorant.
To my White House brothers-----put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ-----Iíve had a wonderful life, more than I deserved.
Thomas W. Halstead