When I witness favouritism I’m instantaneously drawn back to my childhood incarceration days at Goldenbridge. Those who were favoured by staff were called La La’s. They were thoroughly despised by child inmates, who stuck their tongues out at them; gave them hard digs; pulled at fancy aeroplanes in their hair, or sent them to Coventry. So on one hand it was wonderful to be favoured where the staff was concerned, but the staff members weren’t all the time going to be around to watch out for them when all hell let loose. Which was very often indeed. The physical fights that ensued with some inmates towards the La La’s – whom the former didn’t have any emotional skills to tackle the situation in any other fashion, were an awful sight to behold. It was utterly pathetic. The culprits were hauled before the head honcho and beaten to a pulp. The La La’s were a cut above the rest of child inmates and staff refused to see the blind spots that other children saw. The La La’s forever tittle-tattled, they were the biggest bullies ever behind their sanctimonious veneer. They sat on high perches licking lollipops and aniseed balls, dressed in clothing belonging to child inmates – who would have been given them by the host families – but were stolen from them by the minders and staff who doted on them, over everyone else. The La La’s laughed and thrived on being the centre of attention. They not only licked and sucked on sweets given to them when nobody else was given any, they also licked and sucked up to the staff.
There are advantages to being chosen. In species of birds and animals, life can depend on being selected as mothers offer their milk to some infants, who survive, and not to others, who die.
Some children who wanted so much to be accepted would do anything to be given attention. They would offer minders sweets that were given them by children who had visitors, alas, it never worked. I know that I harboured a lot of resentment towards one particular prominent staff member for years and years because of the way she treated, not only her own special pets, but, because of the extreme power she had to shape the aesthetic / emotional mental lives of others whom she disliked intensely. This woman did a lot of psychological damage to countless children. She was so horrible that there were inmates who went to ‘outside’ school, and she made sure that those of whom she didn’t like, would not even be attempted to befriend the ones she did like. Never the Twain did meet. I remember her referring to some inmates as coming from common stock, what ever that was supposed to imply to children who were clueless about their own genealogical makeup. She even went as far as driving a wedge between a father who came up to see his children, whom it also happened that one of them was the La La that she doted on, whilst despising the sister.
The untold damage that this ghastly devious family-breaker caused to innocent children was replayed at the Ryan Commission. She had impacted on too many inmates’ psyches for them to ever forget. There were some survivors who couldn’t communicate with the LaLa’s when they initially encountered each other at survivors’ meetings. They finally came around to thinking that the LaLa’s never asked to be favoured and only acted out according to the way favoured child institutional inmates would, as they knew no different. The staff who petted them to the detriment of others were the real wrong-doers, as they set the favoured ones up to be disliked and set upon. Besides, they were probably only using the children to satisfy their own needs and not that of the LaLa’s.
The memories of being rejected by this staff member – who wielded so much power, left many scars on survivors of industrial *schools.* A woman of that objectionable nature should not have been in any way near children. People who genuinely care for the righteousness of children should not differentiate between them. I don’t care what drive they have for one against the other. Children in need should have all been treated equally. If people have preferences, they’re probably only fulfilling a need within themselves, and not that of the greater good of children, as was the case with the abominable staff member at Goldenbridge. Maybe somebody should have given her a dose of love medicine that would have induced her to naturally spread her love all around. No oxytocin needed for social bonding existed in the staff member for the likes of us.
It was the children who had families who were petted, rather than those who had no visitors. I suppose those with parents were more easily likable, more malleable than those who rigidly oozed of intense neediness, with no-one to care about them. Those who were petted obviously possessed more charm, and that probably drew them to the bosoms of the staff to be more nurtured. Nobody likes to see helpless human beings. They want them to be all nice and perky and bouncy and sweet and loving and most importantly, compliant. That way they get to make life nice for them. Smile and the whole world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone.
In all the years I spent at Goldenbridge, I don’t ever remember a time when one single human being gave me a hug. I don’t ever remember a time being told that I was a nice child. I don’t ever remember anyone ever bowing down to look at me affectionately and tell me that they cared. Not one single day, ever… so it shouldn’t really be any wonder that now, I still feel the same coldness coming from society. Nothing has really changed. The same thing about wanting to be accepted is relived over and over. I obviously projected traits that caused me to be kept at a distance from people. Even if I was to greet some people in their sorrow, they would shun and block me.
It was all so easy for the nasty staff members to favour certain children, whilst totally rejecting the others, as they were not under scrutiny from one single soul. Ironically, the LaLa’s had a lot to live up to fulfill the expectations of those who doted on them, and a lot of them suffered very badly as adults. The attention given to them was kind of warped, which looked normal in a warped setting. They faced grave difficulties adapting to the outside world.