Saturday, June 11, 2011

Father Flanagan's Boys Town

When I was a child, a there was a place called Father Flanagan's Boys Town. I remember seeing mail coming from there, with the logo in the corner of a big boy carrying a smaller boy on his back. It read, "He ain't heavy, he's my brother." The mail was seeking donations, I suppose.  I knew very little about the place, but had it in my young head that it was a Catholic orphanage for boys.

Far across the country, in the state of Washington, my husband was growing up at the same time I was.  He saw those mailings in their pile of envelopes too.  In his mind, Boys Town was a place of correction for wayward boys...."a reform school."  I don't wonder that he thought that. He tells me that whenever he'd do something mischievous his mother would tell him that she was going to send him to Boys Town!  She was, of course, joking....but to a youngster who knew he'd done something that wasn't perfect behavior, can you imagine his fear?

After years of hearing his Mom saying that, Mike came to the realization that he probably wasn't getting shipped off to Nebraska. Still, to be sure, whenever the mail came and he saw that Boys Town logo in the return address, he'd hide or throw away that piece of mail!  He continued to be mischievous, even to this day.  He was never in real trouble, but you know how boys will be boys, doing things that are not always what adults might wish for them to do.  Sometimes he tells me he's lucky he wasn't sent away!

Mike grew up, spent two plus years serving with the US Marines in Viet Nam. Afterward, he attended Jr.College in his home state, and shortly after that, he moved from the west coast to the 'best coast', to New York state.  He lived there for over thirty years, until we moved to SC.  Boys Town has grown and changed a bit. They have a dozen locations today, and they minister to entire families to help children to be reared in ways that are socially acceptable.

One day, not long after his mother passed away in 2007, Mike went to our mailbox, and there he found, addressed to him, an envelope with "Boys Town" embossed in the corner.
He brought it to me with a grin, saying, "Look, Mom's not done with me yet! She even gave them a forwarding address for me!" 

I laugh each time I think of that...and whenever he 'acts up', I remind him that Boys Town is still in business!

(on another note, please visit my friend's blog, where she's got a lovely giveaway! Here's the link:


  1. That's so funny--forwarding address!
    There really were some orphans in the beginning with Father Flanagan, so I can see why you might think orphans and Catholics. Do you remember the movie with Spencer Tracy? I was curious and googled to see what it is like now and they have boys and girls--tada! Nice! Sounds like they have more troubled kids from families. Didn't say anything about orphans, but did mention foster care. I wasn't sure it was still around. This was both funny (no offense to your hubby) and informative. ;)

  2. Loved this post....