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v v CHAPTER 8 Growing Up W hen Karl was twelve, one day he got very sick, and his temperature went up to 104. He was rushed from Boys Ranch to a hospital in Amarillo. While in the hospital, Honey asked him if there was anything he wanted. Karl said he wanted to see his brothers. That was all it took for Honey to head to Boys Ranch to pick us up and take us to see Karl. When she got to the ranch, we were all in the dining hall at supper. She was told that it was against the rules for her to visit and certainly for her to take us off the ranch to see Karl. That didn’t slow her down. She headed for the dining hall. Someone from the kitchen came to our table and directed Bobby and me to follow him to the office in the back of the dining hall. We knew nothing about what was going on while we were in the office. We were finally told to go to the Boys Center, and as we were walking there, several of the boys told us about the scene our mother had made. She went into the dining room announcing that she was taking her boys to Amarillo to see Karl. We knew Honey had a temper, but she got so mad, she slapped our football coach’s glasses off his face in front of all the boys and staff! When we got to the Boys Center, Mr. Peggram met us and took us into an office. He told us we were going with our mother to Amarillo to see Karl. Honey showed up shortly after with the car to take us to the hospital. Honey was admired by many of the boys at the ranch because of the way she stood up for us. At the same time, she was a significant problem for many of the staff and for me and my brothers. When I was a junior, I got into serious trouble. We had been on a town trip to Amarillo to visit Honey. At the end of every visit, Honey would drive us back to the 54 • The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch ranch’s town office in Amarillo, where we would board the bus to head back to Boys Ranch. Honey was driving us while she was drunk, and several of the Boys Ranch staff witnessed this. After this incident, one of the staff members, who didn’t like me, went from dorm to dorm at muster and told the boys that they were not allowed to be seen with Honey because she was an unfit mother and a bad example. Another boy, Roy Dormire, ran to my dorm and told me what was going on. When I saw that staff member walking out of the dorm, I ran up to him and coldcocked him. Several other staff grabbed me and tried to stop me. Another boy, Mike Gower, jumped in to help me. We both got into a fight with the staff. I just lost my temper, and that didn’t turn out well for us. Two staff members took me and Mike Gower to the back of the school and tied our wrists and hands, side by side, to the chin-­ up bars. They removed their belts and took turns beating us. It was the worst beating I ever had at Boys Ranch. And then I was placed on restriction again. Mr. Peggram was off duty that day. When he found out what happened , he was furious. I was told that at the next day’s staff meeting, Peggram made it clear that no one would harm his boys like that. Even though I was still on restriction, Mr. Peggram was very light on me. v Yet we still could not wait for our weekend town trips to Amarillo. Honey usually took us to lunch at our favorite restaurant, where they served crispy fried chicken. Then we would visit her at her small apartment. On one trip, we walked into her apartment to find an entire car transmission disassembled on the living room floor. Engine parts were scattered all over the kitchen and living room. She had enrolled in a course at Amarillo College to learn how to rebuild automatic transmissions . We never quite knew what to expect with Honey—­ except, of course, her drinking. On another town trip, Honey was drinking vodka from a bottle...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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