She had been sent to the school in Los Angeles because there were no foster homes available. At least that was what she was told. She was made a ward of the court when she was twelve years old. She had not been in the court room when this took place. She had never been in a court room. She went willingly to the school as it had been described to her by the woman assigned to her case.
The woman drove her to Los Angeles. The girl had one old suitcase of clothes and nothing else. During the two hour drive, the girl tried to calm the butterflies and concentrate on the sights along the freeway.
The first view of the outside of the school was impressive. The three story structure was massive and seemed to occupy an entire city block. In her nervousness, the girl didn't pay much attention to the bars on all the windows. She had moved many times in her young life, more times than she was old, and she was used to adjusting to new situations. The woman walked her up to the front door and rang the door bell. The woman gestured for the girl to walk in front of her so the girl carried her suitcase and walked in. It was a good feeling to know they were expecting her. The nun who had answered the door showed them into a small office. After signing some papers, the woman said good bye to the girl and the girl was left with the nun, who proceeded to open the suitcase and take out all the contents. She put things back in one item at a time, setting aside things she explained were not allowed in the school. Razors were not allowed. The nun explained that a razor would be given to her just before she walked into the shower and returned to them as she walked out of the shower. What a strange rule!
The first six months in the school were spent in some sort of disciplinary action. Most of the time it was standing for hours in a corner with her nose touching the wall. The infractions were many. Talking back to one of the nuns. Not doing school homework. It took those six months to teach the girl how to survive in that school. She didn't speak unless she had to. That way she wouldn't be punished. If a girl tried to get into bed with her during the night, instead of hitting her, she got out of bed and went into the bathroom. After six months she had learned. She sat docilely with the other girls in the main room and watched television. It was safer to be in a large group. She didn't get into any more fights or disturbances.
One day a girl who was in the senior class approached the girl and instructed her to come with her. At first the girl thought she had slipped up and was in trouble for something. She thought and thought and couldn't think what it could be. But she followed the girl and when they proceeded up the stairs toward the dormitory, the girl suddenly couldn't breathe and she couldn't walk and she kept trying to get up the stairs but she would crawl up one stair or two and fall back one and then try to get up. The senior girl kept her distance and didn't say anything, just watched the younger girl trying to find the strength to make her way to the dormitory. The younger girl had been there long enough to know that the only time a senior girl went with a younger girl to the dormitories at this time of morning was to get the girl's belongings. She was going to finally leave this school!!!