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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. I - Page 228« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Mrs. Marguerite Oswald Resumed)

Mrs. Oswald.
And I hope some day to rectify this, because I think conditions of this kind in our United States of America are deplorable. And I want that to go down in the record.
Mr. Rankin.
Did they tell you why he was taken to this home, your son?
Mrs. Oswald.
For truancy, yes, sir.
So I had to stand single file approximately a block and a half, sir, with Puerto Ricans and Negroes and everything, and people of my class, single file, until we got to the main part of this building, which had a wire, a very heavy wire, partition wire, a man sitting back of the desk, but a man in the front of the gate that let me in. I had packages of gum and some candy for my son. And I sat down there. And the gum wrappers were taken off the gum, and the candy wrappers were taken off.
And my pocketbook was emptied. Yes, sir, and I asked why. It was because the children in this home were such criminals, dope fiends, and had been in criminal offenses, that anybody entering this home had to be searched in case the parents were bringing cigarettes or narcotics or anything.
So that is why I was searched.
So I was escorted into a large room, where there were parents talking with their children.
And Lee came out. He started to cry. He said, "Mother, I want to get out of here. There are children in here who have killed people, and smoke. I want to get out."
So then I realized--I had not realized until I went there what kind of place we had my child in.
We don't have these kinds of places in Texas or New Orleans, sir.
Then I realized what a serious thing this was. And this is when I decided I needed an attorney.
But Lee, I think, was approximately in that home---I am not sure 5 or 6 weeks, which accounts for his truancy that the papers say that Lee was a truant, that he was out of school so long.
It is because he was in this home, sir. That accounts for a lot of the truancy.
Mr. Rankin.
Did you talk to him about his truancy, say anything to him about it, or ask him about it, how he happened to stay out of school?
Mrs. Oswald.
Yes, sir, I asked Lee. Well, this comes in another part.
Mr. Rankin.
All right.
Mrs. Oswald.
So I left my son that day, and I think I visited him a couple of times after that. I am not quite sure.
But in the meantime, I engaged an attorney. I do not know the name of the attorney, and I wish I did.
When I told the attorney about Lee--and I have stated this at a press conference he raised the roof, so as to say. He was indignant. I cannot quote his exact words. But what he said was that New York State picked up these boys and put them on a farm, and they pay these boys to work on this farm for the State of New York.
Now, I may not be saying this exactly. You may have the picture of the home.
But these boys work on the farm and are paid for it, I understand. That is all I can remember, sir, about this unpleasant thing, because I did not think it would ever come in my life, and after the time it happened I tried to put it out of my mind.
But now I am refreshed a little on that.
So Lee was in this home 5 or 6 weeks, I believe. You probably have the record.
So then we were asked to appear to court. I went into court with this attorney. And there, again, real fast we were in the courtroom and Lee was brought in, and Lee sat down by me. And I remember this distinctly, because Lee had ear trouble quite often. And I saw his ear running, and I said, "Lee, you are having an earache." And the judge heard me saying something to Lee.
He said, "What did you tell your boy, Mrs. Oswald?"
I said, "Judge, I asked him if he had an earache."
I didn't know they were going to give me the child then.
So the judge talked to Lee and asked Lee if he was going to be good, and
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