I am so angry at my mom I don’t know what to do. She doesn’t believe me. She never believes me when I tell her that my cousin is feeling me up. He puts his fingers inside me and sometimes it hurts. Why does she think I would lie to her? Doesn’t she care what happens to me? She doesn’t love me. She couldn’t love me. If she did she would believe me. I just couldn’t let Chip do it to me anymore. Ever, never, never again.

These are the thoughts that kept going through my mind as I walked around DeKalb, IL. That is where I lived with my mom, my sister and brother. My dad lives across town with his new girlfriend.

I can’t go over there to talk to Dad because his new girlfriend always says he is asleep. I could go to one of my Aunt’s but they won’t believe me either.

If I could only get to southern Illinois I could go to my Aunt Joyce. She would believe me. I know she would.

I went home and waited for my mom to go to sleep. I went into her purse and took all the money but a few dollars. I didn’t want mom to be completely broke. I just wanted enough money to get to southern Illinois.

I was so scared. I thought that mom would wake up at any minute and catch me with my hands in her purse. She rolled over while I was in her room and I just froze and held my breath. After a few minutes that seemed like an hour I creeped out of her bedroom. Now, to get out of the house without waking my sister and brother, we shared a room.

I grabbed my bag that I had put a change of clothes in earlier and went quietly out the door.

I ran all the way to the Greyhound Bus station. I went up to the counter and ask for a ticket to Mt. Vernon.

The clerk said “which Mr. Vernon?”

I didn’t know there was more than one Mt Vernon. Now what do I say? I don’t want the clerk to figure out I am only 11 years old. I am 5’7” tall and everyone always says how I look old for my age.

I cleared my throat and said “ is there more than one Mr. Vernon in Illinois?
The clerk laughed and said that there is a Mt Vernon in almost every state and she just wasn’t sure which state I wanted to go to.

The ticket cost $6.00 one way and I had to change buses in downtown Chicago. It would be about 10 minutes before the bus left for Chicago so I waited in the bathroom. I didn’t want any of my relatives to see me inside the bus station at this time of night. It was about 11:00pm.

I looked through the window of the station to make sure there was no one I knew around, then I went to board the bus. The driver looked bored and just punched my ticket and said
I would change to another bus in Chicago. I got on the bus and sat at a window seat.

Finally the bus left Dekalb, I wondered what my mom would think when she found out I was gone. Would she miss me? She won’t have a baby sitter now that I am gone but I won’t have to worry about Chip every night either. I hope this will let her know that I am telling her the truth about everything and that pretty boy Chip is mean and hurts me.

It only took about an hour for the bus to get to Chicago. I have been to this station before when mom takes us to Mt. Vernon on her vacations so I kind of know my way around but not really. As I got off the bus I asked the driver how to get to my next bus. He pointed me in the right direction and warned me to stay in that area because the bus would be leaving in 15 minutes and there wasn’t another bus for 6 hours if I missed that one. I thanked him and went to the next gate.

As I waited for my bus I looked around. Man is this place filthy. There were people asleep in the chairs, on the floor with their suitcases used as pillows. It was underground and really cold. I hadn’t thought to bring a jacket. I hope it will be warm on the bus.

Over the loud speaker someone said that the bus for Champaign, Effingham, Mt Vernon, Carbondale and Memphis was loading.

I got in line behind this young women who had a small chalk board that she wrote on when she gave the driver her ticker. He wrote back on the chalk board when she gave it to him. When I gave him my ticket he told me to watch out for the lady in front of me because she was deaf and that if any thing should happen to make sure that she was able to get off the bus.
I said I would and boarded the bus. I walked down the aisle and sat next to the young women.

She smiled at me and told me her name and ask mine. We ended up talking or should I say writing back and forth throughout the whole bus ride. I had never met a deaf person before.
She was really nice and smart too. I don’t think I could have taken a trip on a bus and I couldn’t hear. I would have liked to have gotten to know her better but before to long we were in Mt Vernon and I got off the bus.

As soon as my foot hit the ground someone grabbed my arm and yanked me to the side so hard I fell to the ground. I started screaming I didn’t know what was happening. It turned out to be the Jefferson County Sherriff. He picked me up and threw me into the police car and told me to stop screaming.

Of course I couldn’t stop screaming what are you doing to me, let me go, let me go. I haven’t done anything. What is wrong with you? I cried and cried.

Barbara, shush. Quite down. I mean it. He kept saying.

I kept crying.

When I realized we were just sitting there in the car I finally calmed down a little.

The Sherriff looked at me and said that my mom had reported me missing and they found out I bought a ticket to Mt Vernon. That he was suppose to arrest me to be taken back up north. He said even though I was big for my age he knew that I was only 11 years old. He still had to put me in a cell because they didn’t have anywhere else they could put me. He said that I would be in a cell by myself.

He took me to the county jail and took my picture. They put this black ink on all of my finger tips and made me roll my fingers on this paper. They were taking my finger prints.
A lady policeman searched me and made me pull down my panties and bend over and touch
My ankles while she looked at my private area. I could have died of shame right then and there. It was bad enough when Chip would look down there and put his fingers there and rub and stick them inside me but now the police are looking up there too. I ran away from Chip who I knew to a women that I didn’t know. What else are they going to do to me?

The police lady told me to follow her and she lead me down a hallway that looked like it was made of metal. There were bars on one side of the hall and windows on the other. We came almost to the end of the hall and she opened a door that was all bars and told me to go inside,
There were metal bunk beds on oneside of the room and a sink and a toilet on the other side of the room. There was a thin mattress with no sheet but a thin wool blanket and a flat pillow on it. The door banged shut. I started to cry. I don’t remember how long I cried but I must have fallen asleep crying because the next morning my eyes were swollen shut from my crying.

I woke up to clanging on the bars and someone yelling hey little girl what you doing in a place like this? What you do kill somebody?

I couldn’t see anything because my eyes were so swollen. I was so scared I started to cry again.

Answer me girl. You hear me talking to you. Hey you still alive in there? Oh yeah I can hear you crying in there like that gonna do some good. Don’t nobody care that you crying girl. Get yourself together in there little girl. You cant show them no fear girl. You hear me girl. DO YOU HEAR ME I SAY.

After awhile they left me alone.

Then they brought me a tray with cereal and milk and hard cold toast with no butter and a spoon. The lady told me to eat up cuz I was gonna leave pretty soon. I think she saw my face at that point and said what happened to you? Can you see? I will be right back I am going to get you some ice for those eyes. People will think we beat on children if they see you.

What did she say that for because it set the lady off again.

Did they beat you child? Little girl you hear me come on talk to me maybe I can help?
You hear me? I guess you deaf huh. Yeah that’s what is wrong with you you deaf.

Pretty soon they came to get me and took me to put ice on my face and eyes. It didn’t take long for the swelling to go down but man were my eyes red. I decided that if they let me go home I wouldn’t complain about Chip anymore just let me go home.

The lady policeman took me into a big room where there were wooden benches then a gate, we went through the gate to a table that sat before a big desk that sat higher than the tables. A man with a black choir robe sat behind the big desk.

There was a man sitting at the table where the lady policeman told me to sit down. I looked around the room and my mom and aunt were sitting there. Pretty soon a man cam in and started talking to my mom. I couldn’t hear what they were saying I was to far away.

Finally the man that was talking to my mom came to talk to the man sitting at the table with me. They whispered for a few minutes then the man got up and went to talk to the man sitting at the big desk. They whispered for a few minutes then the man came back to the table and told me to stand up. I did as I was told.

The man behind the desk said that since I couldn’t stay at home and wanted to run away that I would be going to the Illinois State Training School for Girls at Geneva, Illinois for no less than 30 days. Then I would be returned to my mother and have to see a parole officer once a month for 6 months. Then he banged a hammer on the desk and walked out of the room.

I turned to look at my mom and she just looked at her feet.

I was right she really didn’t want me. Did she tell them she didn’t want me at home? What just happened.

She didn’t even look in my direction as they took me out of the courtroom and put me in a van with bars behind the drivers seat and the front passengers seat.

There were two drivers for the van. They seemed nice enough but I was locked in a van.
Where were they taking me? To a prison for children. Just because I didn’t want to be felt up by my 19 year old cousin Chip anymore. Man did he ruin my life. God what did I ever do to deserve this.? Now, I AM ON MY WAY TO GENEVA FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME.