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
Copyright 2012 by "Linton Hall Cadet."
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Monday, February 20, 2012

John Phillips, famous Linton Hall Military School Alumni

John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas at Linton Hall

Perhaps the most famous of Linton Hall Military School alumni is John Phillips, singer, songwriter and guitarist of The Mamas and the Papas, a band which reached its peak success during the 1960s with hits such as 'California Dreaming,' 'Monday Monday,' and 'San Francisco (Be sure to wear a flower in your Hair.)'

John Phillips, son of a USMC officer, was born August 30, 1935 on Parris Island, S.C., but grew up in Alexandria, Va.. He entered Linton Hall Military School in the Fall of 1942, at age seven, and became part of the Drum and Bugle Corps. He attended Linton Hall for four years.

John passed away in 2001, at age 65.


The Telegraph, March 30, 2001

Papa John, An Autobiography of John Phillips (with Jim Jerome) Doubleday & Co., 1986

Copyright 2012 by "Linton Hall Cadet."
Please respect copyright by linking to this post instead of copying and pasting.
This blog is not affiliated with Linton Hall Military School and all opinions are those of the author.