Thursday, February 23, 2012

The 1940s at Linton Hall Military School

In my previous post, I wrote about John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas, who attended Linton Hall from 1942 to 1946. As interesting as it is to know that a celebrity attended the school, I find even more interesting what he has to say about Linton Hall Military School in his autobiography. This is the earliest published account of LHMS by an alumnus that I am aware of.

He doesn't say too much about Linton Hall; it is mentioned mostly only on three pages,
pages 41 -43 of his autobiography, but what little he says makes it sound as bad as the Linton Hall I attended a quarter century after he did. The book also has a couple of photos of John and other cadets in their dress uniform, which looks just like our uniform did. I guess not much changed over so many years.

John entered Linton Hall in the Fall of 1942, shortly after his seventh birthday, and stayed there for four years, through Spring of 1946, just before turning eleven. Sent there because his father had alcohol problems and his mother was at work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (including commuting) he was entrusted to the nuns at Linton Hall.

"I hated the place," he says, even though he earned good grades, made many friends, and played sports.

The current building had not yet been built, and the cadets slept in bunk beds. Shortly after he arrived, his bunkmate told him that when the nuns take cadets to the office to beat them, "they do it to you naked." John misunderstood, thinking it was the nuns who were naked. As funny as that is, it is still awful that a defenseless seven year old would be beaten by adults.

Nuns watched the boys shower back then, too. "Nuns watched us take showers to screen us for [homosexuals.] Of course, that just flushed them out to the gym, the bedrooms, and the woods," he says. If I understand this correctly, it is extremely disturbing that there would have been sexual activity between cadets, especially in an environment with such an age disparity and with officers with so much power. I must say that I never heard any rumors of such activities while I was at Linton Hall Military School.

The brightest aspect of his time there was his mother's weekly visits on Sunday afternoons, when she would take the train from D.C. and then a bus provided by the school. She always brought a picnic lunch, and John "lived for those picnics" and the few hours when he could "forget the inspections and the beatings."

A couple of years after John Phillips left Linton Hall Military School, and was attending a Junior High parochial school, a nun asked him why his parents didn't come to parent-teacher conferences, and John replied that it was because they worked very hard. "No, John, it's because they don't really love you," answered the nun. He slapped her across the cheek.

Had John stayed at Linton Hall, he would have graduated around 1949. I am in contact with three alumni who attended Linton Hall Military School during the 1940s, and I will ask them to comment on conditions there.


Source: Phillips, John Papa John - An Autobiography Doubleday & Co. 1986 (hardcover) pages 41-43. Also published in paperback by Dell in 1987
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2 comments:

  1. On 23 Feb 12 Linton Hall Cadet wrote

    "Nuns watched the boys shower back then, too. "Nuns watched us take showers to screen us for [homosexuals.] Of course, that just flushed them out to the gym, the bedrooms, and the woods," he says. If I understand this correctly, it is extremely disturbing that there would have been sexual activity between cadets, especially in an environment with such an age disparity and with officers with so much power. I must say that I never heard any rumors of such activities while I was at Linton Hall Military School."

    "Nuns watched us take showers to screen us for [homosexuals.] Yes, but who screened the nuns? [See my Comment of 1 March for some details on this scenario.]

    I'm quite surprised that LHC has written "it is extremely disturbing that there would have been sexual activity between cadets, especially in an environment with such an age disparity and with officers with so much power." That disparity is, perhaps, the most fertile environment in which sexual activities of any kinds can flourish between and among communities of males of any ages anywhere.

    I recall distinctly some circle jerking in the outer fields, during which the only one of us boys who could "shoot" had to have been an upper classman well into puberty. In the dormitories, much of the nocturnal mutual touching and feeling about, more out of curiosity than an intensely drive erotic lunge, between closely packed bed mates was common. I don't recall hearing about any forms of sodomy, which, I'm quite sure, would have been a precocious boldness of a type unknown to most of us.

    “When one is reminded of true beauty by the sight of a beautiful boy, he is called a lover. While all have seen reality, as they must have to be human, not all are so easily reminded of it. Those that can remember are startled when they see a reminder, and are overcome with the memory of beauty. Plato, “Phaedrus” 250a

    Read here how sexual challenges (opportunities, if you prefer) have been addressed — one might almost suggest nurtured! — in English public (what in America are called private) schools.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2005/oct/12/publicschools.schools

    In English preparatory and public schools romance is necessarily homosexual. The opposite sex is despised and treated as something obscene. Many boys never recover from this perversion. For every one born homosexual, at least ten permanent pseudo-homosexuals are made by the public school system: nine of these ten as honourably chaste and sentimental as I was. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/EDcharterhouse.htm

    For anyone trying to develop an informed perspective on this interesting subject there is a vast field of writing on its developmental details.

    Tempest in a teapot!

    ______________________

    André M. Smith
    Brass.work@verizon.net
    Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

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  2. Today, sister mary david, max the commandant, bill, sisters jean marie (the nurse),the big fat nun and the dwarf would be in jail...

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