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Chilocco School Short Stories
Chilocco Bonding


Over the years the bond between the students is sometimes questioned by folks who did not attend the school. There is a curiosity about the how and why of it. All sorts of comments are made about how the students were in contact with each other. Even the more rude observation, especially in this time period when so much goes to the lascivious, as to there being maybe a darker side. All the emotions tied up with living must be recognized. There was the loneliness of students who are almost children, away from the love of their home. All the fears tied up with life and living, fear of failure, peer pressure and yes even death, were ever present. There was anger too for numbers of valid reasons. Sorrow could be visited upon the children for one or another reason. There too, were the positive emotions such as, puppy love, joy in social activities, games, and certainly the feeling of protected security. Of course, the opposite of this might be considered by some to be a confinement and loss of freedom. For whatever emotion the dormitory rooms always gave a person an opportunity to have someone with them. The shared understanding between the students gave them a close, protective, bond toward each other. This can be seen as we look into a chance conversation between two of the girls.

"Tip!" "What are you doing sitting in the dark?" The lounge was created for the girls. It was set in one of the basements and wasn't anything of pleasant surroundings. The girls were not encouraged to be wasteful of their time, therefore;

No extras of any sort were given to this space. The high windows did let a little light through, but mostly the room was dark. There was no answer forthcoming from the girl. Typical of her stoic ways she simply looked straight ahead without making a reply.

Margie was not one to be daunted by the attitude. She knew of these ways and the girl sat down on the couch beside this obviously disturbed girl. "Is something wrong?" She pressed for an answer.

"Have you seen the paper?" She gestured toward the paper in front of her which had been folded to a particular article.

Margie reached over for the paper. There in large letters were the words, "Chilocco Student found dead on Railroad Tracks." The story went on to tell of how the unhappy student had run away from the school. Whether it was an accident or whether he walked into the train was not known.

After the girl read the paper, she turned to Tip. "Do you think he walked into the train?"

Tip was a deep person. She wouldn't get into a shallow discussion as a rule. It was with surprise Margie heard her say. "I wouldn't doubt it."

"Did you know him?" Margie asked.

"I didn't. "But how is he different from any of us?" Margie knew the girl was intelligent beyond her years in her observation and in some childlike way she admired her for that.

The girls made no more conversation about the incident. Instead, they spent a very long time just chatting about everything and everything else. When the girls parted Margie walked to her room with the early comments Tip made still on her mind. As she stood at the large windows of her room overlooking the pleasant outdoor surroundings, she was still quiet with thinking. When her room mate came through the door it was there she found her.

"Hm-m." "Are you okay?" "You aren't homesick, are you?"

"No, oh no, not that!" Margie was honest. "I'm just thinking about that boy who was killed." "Did you know him?"

Margie's roommate was even more true to her culture than Tip in her stoicism. She made no comment at all. If there was a brief sadness to cross over her face she quickly was in control.

Shrugging her shoulders she said, "Are you going to chow?" "Or, are you going to stand here starring out that window?"

This was only one incident. However, I think it goes a long way to demonstrate how a close bond was established between the students as time after time they shared many different life situations. Certainly not all were to this gravity but; nonetheless, it was the being there for each other to cause these bonds to be formed. The culture of the American Indian contributed to actually what I would call a creation of a totally new tribe, and that one would be called "Chiloccoans."


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