Children don’t forget.

Right before my parents split up and my mother dumped all 5 us in Sacred Heart Home. My younger brother Patrick was too young and was put out for adoption right away and the youngest brother, Bobby who had Down's Syndrome was disposed of a few years before in a special home for broken babies.

Right before my parents split up and my mother dumped all 5 us in Sacred Heart Home. My younger brother Patrick was too young and was put out for adoption right away and the youngest brother, Bobby who had Down’s Syndrome was disposed of a few years before in a special home for broken babies.

Children don’t forget

“I was born and bred in the Lehigh Valley. Born at Easton Hospital and raised on the South-side of Easton on Wilkes-Barre Street for most of my childhood years. That was my permanent residence with my grandmother and my father who was going through a bunch of a mess relationally with his marriages and relationships. Most of my actual residence living however, was at the Sacred Heart Home and School for Children in Coopersburg, PA., and a couple of foster homes along the way too. My brother and I spent approximately 8 years in the children’s home until we finally went home for good in 1973 when I was 12 years old.” Richie “Rich” Merritt

“Indeed, I remember that linen closet and the plastic jump rope that was used to administer punishment. I remember a boy by the name of Curtis B., a tough fighter who I remember having a singing voice best described like the sound of a buzz saw when singing in the choir. One day, Curtis did something wrong that warranted him to become a victim of the linen closet. When Curtis emerged from the linen closet, he had welts down the side of his leg that amazingly spelled the word “ball”. As children, we were so amazed by this gruesome anomaly and we all marched Curtis over to the nun who administered the punishment on poor Curtis. The nun (whose name I cannot remember), upon seeing Curtis’s leg and the word ball written in black and blue welts, sternly told Curtis that it meant for him to get on the ball. I think I never really cared for playing jump rope ever since. I also remember acquiring a fond taste for black pepper, as it was also used as a means to punish those of us who had a propensity to offend nuns with unwanted questions and/or statements. I also remember having my arm nearly twisted off in the laundry room by a nun, while my sister Charlene, who was working in the laundry room at the time, stood watching in helpless horror. I received this punishment for throwing a snowball.” Dean Rooks

“I was there from 1947 to 1959. I remember Eugene Scrivanek and his sister, John and Joan Miller, the Dutkos. I remember Stanley ( was my best buddy) & Mickey Herman. I remember the place fondly, though Sr Bonita used to take me to the linen closet so often I had calluses on my rear end. I vaguely remember when their were no brick buildings, just the barns and houses and we built the school and church and dormitories. I remember Sacred Heart fondly but haven’t been back there in quite a while. I remember, “Donation Day”? in the summer every year and the Christmas pagent in Rockne Hall in Allentown every Christmas, using divining rods to find water before digging the pool, the pool was half paved and half mud bottomed. Neat place that Sacred Heart. I do remember the room you are talking about where the kids would go with their parents to pick out candy and maybe a soda from the display on the table. I remember Mother Alfreda used to slip me a candy bar.
That room, was actually in a converted barn that was part of the original residence. That barn also was the original chapel. Of course, it was all torn down to make room for the new dining hall and dormitory.” Nick Langston

“One morning in August 1960, my mother said, “Hey, let’s go for a walk”. After some distance, she stopped and said to me, “Open the door and take your sister Theresa in with you. Tell the nice lady your names. I’ll be back in a little while.” Jaye was five months old then, and came some months later. I did what I was told. The building I walked into was the Catholic Welfare Services. And that night was the first night of the 1,l00 days that I resided at that orphanage. Each day seemed like a week, each week seemed like a month, each month seemed like a year, and each year seemed like a lifetime.” Christine Miller

“My aunt put my cousins in there in the early 70’s and I remember going to visit them there amd they hated it.It looks run down but every time i pass I remember how sad I felt to leave my cousins who were innocent victims of my aunt.” Carol K

“I also took many a trip to the linen closet for knocking off the habits of many of the nuns, by accident of course.” Lyn Hertzog

“I hated that home and was devastated when my dad would come from phila every two weeks for visiting days. sister bonita, sister,petra,sixth grade, sister ernelda. i know that thehome was clean but it was not a home. my family has never healed from the beatings.” Eileen Slaughter

“When I went to the home in 1939, it was only a few years in existence. I was at the Sacred Heart Home from 1939 to 1947,and remember it well, altho I don’t have pictures. The brick building, the ‘Boys’ house was built during that time. We cleaned up the barns and other buildings for the school and church, and I remember serving Mass almost every day. Some names I remember are Flately, Jones, Schadel and the caretaker Mr. Coudriet, His son became an actor in Hollywood. I remember Sister Itwara, Sister Boromeo and a Sister Leonciona, I think was her name. she was in charge of the kitchen. I also remember the boys building being built. Originally the basement had a large play room with a stage on one side and a storage room on the other side. The main floor had the dining room, the skullery and the kitchen and the second floor had two rooms for boys, younger on one side and older on the other. We farmed the fields behind the school all the way to the car tracks.” Rudy

“I remember taking accordin lessons and Larence Welk and his whole tv show came to the home and put on a show in the gym and we played our accordins for them. We all got to meet Larence Welk and the Lennon sisters and there whole show members.what an experience that was. I,ll never forget that.” Rosemarie Makuski

“I also remember there was an individual that used to sleep on his hands and knees and violently rock himself to sleep at night. So much so, that his bed would move 10 to 15 feet from where it started, and one could never be quite sure where you would find him and his bed in the morning. ” Dean Rooks

“Myself and my brother were only there temporarily in 1947, while my parents tried to find a place for us to live after my Dad’s return from WWII. ” Rita

“I was around 6yrs old. I remember mother Alfreda (not sure I spelled that correctly. I remember being sized for socks (does anyone remember how that was done?), the shoe room near the gym, the swimming and fishing pond, playing baseball without bats (using our fists) and a few other things. Does anyone remember the Halloween parades we marched and participated in? Does anyone remember the big meteor that flew past one summer?
I remember some of my occasional charges involved polishing hundreds of shoes, dishwasher duty, cleaning scoff marks off the gym floor (they would line us up in a row and give us a tooth brush & paste balls made of Ajax). I remember drinking black tea and cornbread, and that one had to act quick when the bowls of food arrived and were placed in the middle of the table.
Here is a funny story that I will share…..
As I had mentioned the shoe room earlier, there may be some that don’t remember that it was a room where hundreds of assorted shoes were deposited into a big pile, and one had to go through them to find a matching pair that fit; consequentially, I seldom had shoes that fit. Anyway, next to the home, on the other side of the street was a golf course, and we use to occasionally go over and find golf balls to bring back to the big courtyard and play wall ball (using the big brick walls of the gym)…
On one occasion, a few others and myself had gone over to acquire some golf balls, and in the process of our covert actions we were discovered and chased by big men in a golf cart. We all ran in the direction of the home, and because my shoes never fit, both of them immediately flew off of my feet and high into the air… Never to be seen again. It must have been a hilarious sight (for those who were chasing us), that is, to watching me leap out of my shoes in fright!!! ” Dean Rooks

“I remember the gym, creek, dorms with long rows of beds and a little set of drawers next to each. I remember movie night and those stainless steel pitchers full of drink. I remember being dropped off at the the school in the office, which was just inside the front doors and crying my eyes out. I also remember alot of crying at night in he dorm rooms after lights out, even though one of the Nuns would sit there in a chair for quite awhile until, I guess, we were asleep.” Greg Casamassa

“me and my brother were the only african americans at the home during our stay which was in the late 60’s early 70’s. I remember my introduction to Mother Alfreda and to Sister Ernelda who was in charge of the girls dorm. I know the answer to the person who was asking how we were measured for socks…we had to ball up our fist and the heel of the sock and the top met and that was your fit. does anyone remember the carnival like fair we put on the second sunday of august when the tents went up on the property of the home….i even remember the mans name mr. dematrovoich he had a daughter named marilyn to me she looked like a shirley temple and i mean that in a good way i can still see her.” Audrey Allen


3 thoughts on “Children don’t forget.

  1. I was four when my brother and I were placed in the Home. We were there for only one summer, but it felt like a lifetime. Imagine how long it must have seemed to the kids who stayed there for 10 yrs. One thing that stands out in my memory is the smell of porridge or cream of wheat in the cafeteria. Another memory was the beautiful water fountain where we would sit with our parents, when they visited on Sundays.

  2. Hey Rita, I remember the porridge/corn meal for breakfast (early on Sunday morns, we would have donated glazed donuts which was a really special treat no matter how stale they were) and for dinner we had ONE BOWL of Spanish Rice to a table of a dozen kids; our plates were metal. I remember when I was 7 and tried to carry the ‘priests’ dishes from the kitchen (which were heavy china) and I dropped them (I was very petite) and went to the linen closet/room. I remember a little boy who had a congenital heart problem that left him bald and they used to coat his head with duck dung and wrap it to make his hair grow; I remember Connie Francis visiting us; and when we had colds, we were forced to swallow a tablespoon of VICKS VAPORUB with a butterscotch/rum lifesaver to kill the taste. There was a family there with the last name of MATTIALO (not sure of spelling-two sisters, Carol and Jewel, whom I STILL think of on a regular basis).
    THIS MAY NEVER B PRINTED because I posted a memory in July of 2013 and it was censored as ‘unacceptable’, so what’s the use of posting if the TRUTH is refused to b printed? What a shame, that some things never change. The best thing they ever did is CLOSE Sacred Heart; it was an UNFIT environment for innocent children who became scarred for LIFE, no matter how short our stay.
    GWEN SMITH and sisters, Sandy and Tina

  3. Moriah, I will never censor what goes here on my website about the Sacred Heart home. I want everyone to tell their stories just the way they remember it. I’ve gotten some criticism for telling the truth but this is my website and a place for all to tell their truth. We have all struggled to come to terms with our childhoods and if we can help each other in anyway, I’ll feel that something good was done here.

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