With the events in Pennsylvania involving the Catholic Church I wanted to post my experience from attending St Anthony’s Catholic Church School for Boys in Okmulgee Oklahoma in 1974 when I was 7 years old. I am posting the account as it is written from my personal life memories and the account from my published novel “David’s mark”.
Prior to this I had never attended the Catholic Church and did not understand the religion and did not know the difference between the priest and his underlings, I did notice they all wore gowns. From my 7 year old mind all the male leaders of the church wore gown’s so I did not know who was the priest and who were the underlings. What I have posted here is all I will post about it. I will NOT post the details of what happened and I do remember, it is just not needed to go into graphic detail. If you are a person that must know details you may want to seek personal help. The fact that the news has been saturated with news of the Catholic Church has been depressing and has caused nightmares to resurface. I have also started to have flash memories return of my time at St. Anthony's. I mentioned that I contacted a lawyer and I can't get ANY justice, ANY form of anything. To be blunt I feel the priest there got a freebie from a 7 year old boy.
From My Novel "David's mark"
I asked my mom before she died where she got the idea and
she refused to tell me details about any part of that August through early October nineteen seventy four. I told her the things I did remember and she told me that it’s best that I didn’t try to remember the rest. The only detail my mom willingly filled in was that it was dad who forced her to remove me from the school, and he never explained why. Since my mom was seeing Mike at the time I’m going to conjecture that Mike was the catalyst behind the entire idea. My mom and Mike’s brilliant idea was to enroll me in a Catholic school for boys. It turned out to be a very very bad idea. I was taken to St. Anthony's Catholic School for Boys, which
was only a few blocks away from our house, and enrolled. I had not been in a church in over a year and the last one I was in was tiny, this church was massive. The school sat at the bottom of a hill and I had to walk up a set of steps to get to the church. To enter the sanctuary I had to walk down a long arched outside hallway. The door to the sanctuary was wooden, huge, heavy and dark. There was a sidewalk that went to the left of the sanctuary doors that led to the parish door, which was also made of wood, huge, heavy and dark. It was not until my early forties that the nightmares of St. Anthony's finely stopped. In the nightmares I was always floating just above the ground
in the arched hallway, when I reached the massive doors they opened up to allow me in and I was sucked away into darkness. I always woke up at this point, soaked with sweat and sometimes I think I had wet myself as well. I would get up, clean myself up, put on clean underwear and lay a towel on the bed under me, always trying not to wake up my wife. Sometimes she did wake up because she felt the wetness.
School there was harsh; nuns in a boy’s Catholic school really
were mean. I did get the ruler smacked across my palm and knuckles many times. The corner was a main stay for me and the other boys had no mercy on me. I don’t remember asking for any of what they did to me, nevertheless I was the object of their bullying. I also had to go to the sanctuary every day for choir practice. All the boys had to sing in the choir, there was no getting out of it. Inside the church I remember it being dark, and mostly wood, and the feeling I got inside that church was cold and distant. But I loved to sing choir music. I remember being taken to the parish a lot, but once I went through the door all goes to darkness. At times I’ve had dreams about going through the door and being met by the priest and taken away, and I wake up cold, shivering and covered with sweat. No matter what I asked my mom about St. Anthony's she told
me that some things are better never spoken of. I used to beg her to tell me and she always refused. In the end she never told me what happened to me while I attended the Catholic school for boys. I called St. Anthony's when I turned forty and asked about the
school records from the nineteen seventies, the nun asked me my name and then put me on hold. When she came back on the phone
her explanation was difficult to believe. “Mr. Smith?” She started off. “I’m still here.” “All the records from nineteen seventy four were destroyed
while they were being transported to the Diocese in Walnut.” “Excuse me?” “The records from the year you were here were destroyed in
transport to Walnut years ago.” She explained again. “I understood what you just said, but I never gave you the
year I attended, I only gave you my name. So just from me giving you my name you were able to know what year I was there and that those records were destroyed? If those records were destroyed, how did you know what year I was there from just me giving you my name?” I reasoned out for her. Click, she hung up the phone on me.
From My Personal Memory Book
My Memories & Interviews with Mom & Secretary of St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Okmulgee:
Mike was a Catholic and attended church at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, it was a few blocks away. St. Anthony’s was a huge church and complex, it included a boy’s school. Mike attended school there and convinced mom to enroll me. Mom did not seek Doc’s approval. For decades I suffered the most terrible nightmares from my time at St. Anthony’s, unbearable dreams. The nuns were very abusive, and there are some photos of me from this time with broken fingers, I know some were broken after 1974, but during 1974 the Catholic boy’s school is the only place I could have gotten them broken. The nuns would often crack my knuckles with a ruler and the other boy’s would beat me bloody. Everyday all us boy’s lined up in the outdoors hallway and were marched up the steep hill to the church. The outside had huge archways and we marched in a line under them to the huge wooden door. Inside the sanctuary we were marched to the choir area where we were lined up and then had to sing.
After practice I was escorted through several sets of doors and down some stairs, to a room with a small bed where I was sexually abused. By the priest or an assistant I can’t say. He did wear a robe, but I can’t see his face in my memories. I believe some of the other boys were likewise abused.
In 2005 I called the church and was told all the records from the 1970’s were intentionally destroyed. The person I spoke with was able to find my name and the year I attended school, but stated the detailed records were destroyed.
I did attempt to sue the church but Oklahoma has a 2 year limitation after age 18. I could go into a more detailed account of the abuse while I attended the boy’s school, but I deeply fear those memories.
Interview with Mom:
Mom told me she told Doc that I was attending the Catholic school for boys and he exploded in anger and ordered her to pull me out. She told me that Doc went there to pick me up and took off with me. I asked her where he took me and she said she did not know.
If her memory is correct Doc simply picked me up after school and took me to Grandma Watts’ house. He had come up to visit for my 7th birthday and while here I spent my entire time at Grandma’s. So to better understand I think he picked me up at the end of a school day, took me to Grandma’s and told mom not to allow me to return next year.
DeWayne Watts: I started out writing short stories and poetry. Some of which was published in the 1980's. I have parts of 5 novels written and have completed 2 novels. I have been married over 25 years and raised 2 wonderful sons who have been a great addition to the human family.
Follow me on GOODREADS
The 3 Novels/Books Written By DeWayne Watts
Click Title to Buy the Book.
"The Boy in The Wood"
Click Title To Buy The Book.