Whilst most children growing up played House or What’s the time Mr Wolf?; my regular was Orphanage. Still disturbed to this day, I have to share the events that occurred. When my cousin Lorna, would come over to stay, a highlight was always the memories, and scars left as a result of this game.
Each player, except one, was sent to the orphanage after their parents had passed, typically due to a tragic accident. The aim of the game was to escape from the other player ‘The orphan master’. They would lock all the doors and windows of the house, then would hide the keys, to then proceed to mock, bully and beat each ‘orphan’. Gender was not taken into account. The first game ended after running into the street, barely clothed, in torrential rain.
My brother, Harry and I, rang the doorbell to be greeted by Lorna, the master. We were escorted to our room, sent to bed with no dinner. Harry failed to get up fast enough the next ‘morning’and was met with several lashings. I thought ‘Here is my opportunity’. One foot out of the door, my wrist was grabbed tight and before I knew it I was trapped on the bed. My face was then covered with red lipstick. Thrown in the wardrobe, I caught my breath. The screaming from downstairs became louder. Realising Harry had found the key, I dashed down the stairs. The others were fist fighting, giving me the chance to snatch the keys and unlock the door. The rain had never felt so good.
Another favourite was ‘Narnia’. Where the white witch’s staff that could turn a creature into stone, was replaced with a kitchen knife. To this day and forever Harry, I am sorry.
Where were the parents? Who knows.