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It is sad and disturbing to see a man without legs. It would be shocking to see legs without a man. It is likewise pathetic to see a child without parents when a child is also delinquent. The tragedy is compounded the two interviews that followed were held at the juvenile court detention facilities in Pittsburgh. The first little girl is 8 years old. Her mother is in a state mental institution. Her father serving a sentence of five to 10 years in a state penitentiary for a variety of charges including that of passing bad checks. This child stole government checks in the hope of buying freedom foreign. Strangely she does not like her father very much. Her significant early memories include seeing her parents intoxicated hearing them fighting with witnessing wild parties. On one occasion her mother while intoxicated set the house on fire and was taken away in a police car. She has not returned since then. The child's life is a zero. She has no friends no fun no dolls no love. Would you expect her to do well in school. How would she grow up. The
second interview presents Brenda 12 year old child who has worked out her own modus operandi. She goes to a department store and sort of attentions herself to a lady looking at dresses. The child also some like several goes to the dressing room removes her dress puts a new one on and then puts her old dress over the new and eventually she walks out of the store with a new dress. Another escapade involved entering the girl's dome authority here at the university. The child carried two little puppies for sale. A student answered her knock she would ask her to buy a puppy. If there were no reply the child went in remove the screen and dropped her loot out the window. She took furs transistor's jewelry and perfume. Here is Father Duffy to preview the features of these problem children father Duffy. Suzanne's life is like a Chinese maze. No wonder this 8 year old child is upset nervous and confused. Her father when sober steals and writes bad checks so that he can find escape from work and worry and responsibility. He seeks oblivion however temporary in
alcohol. When he gets drunk he gets arrested for things that he did when he was sober. When Suzanne's mother is sober she gives all appearances of being insane. The father finds her unbearable when she's sober when intoxicated. The mother puts into operation all her aggressive and destructive ideas that develop when she's sober and emotionally disturbed. Suzanne wants her mother and father back together again but she would accept life with them only if they became peaceful sober and emotionally mature. At 8 years of age Suzanne has taken some rather desperate steps to get her father released from jail. She doesn't really like him however except when he's giving her things. Here then is the strange story of Suzanne. You may find it stranger than fiction and I hope more interesting. I want your name seen I will use as an 8
years old and how many brothers and sisters do you have two brothers and sisters. They're not in here are they. Yeah. And why do why do they have you in here this time. What do you do. And I start to make checks to did you really do it. Yes. How did you steal your checks. How did that happen. I took the model mailboxes. How many do you think you took eight. How did they find out that you did this. Yes ma'am. How did you catch it. Secretly taken Larry. He took me. Did you or did you say before that they ask if you you took them you said no he didn't take a little I don't like her. We are purple.
And then he took it to you could have you ever been here before. Yes. Because you're eight years old. Yes. And how about you live with your mother Nancy. You know. Just your mother just your father. Father. Where's your mother. And she he wants that. Can't do that. How long has she been there. Three years. And is there anybody else takes care of you. Thank Rand. And how old is your grandmother. I don't know but would you say she's 50 or 60. Did you get along well with your mother and dad before. Yes. What was the trouble. Right now they have big parties. Yes. And before your mother went to the country home what happened.
Take it or they're out of your house. Party. Yeah. Yes she said. In fact she won tonight. She screamed. Tucker when you play score I must embrace shopping for us. Yes. How about you. You have brothers and sisters. Yes but your brothers and sisters where they were in trouble. Yes they've been here too. Yes. Is any of them grown up unmarried white. That's a boy. Yes. Could you go to live with him. Yeah. Why not. Because he didn't want my father doesn't like you either looks like you know. How about tell me something when you were a little girl you're still a little girl but when you were even little or before you went to school.
Before I went to school much more there you mother East. Why did that. Get you worried and nervous. Yes. Have you ever done anything before like this. Like these checks. Yes. What are you doing for. Act. Why did you with the money. So I can get you know that's what I ran into you know where your file is and you. Know how long has he been in it and how many more years is he have to be in. It's very. And what were you collecting the money from to get him out. How you can help by saying that I need dollars to get. One in your other brother or your older brother one day come due to his help. I don't know. When you steal a thousand. Little girl that killed her.
I guess you're right. And what would you do if you got a hundred who would you give it to you in the ward you think you'd let your daddy out and. Didn't do I could agree. Yeah. And when do you like him. When he dies but when he's not buying yours your stuff going to night. Does he drink a lot too. Yes. And. Is it a pleasant place to live at home. You know. What's the biggest thing you think that bothers you. Well I tried very well but he has been there for two years. Is it is your grandmother give you trouble now. Yes. What does she do. She doesn't like me and when out she hits me. Do you do well in school. Yeah. Do you have nuns teaching you or lay people or what. Women like
me. What do you do those are worse than you think what your worst will subject to recollect what is it and what you like a better school. And. What do you do in a summer time in vacation time will you do then. And. Do you go swimming. No. And you have a toys to play with her gowns. Yeah. Did you ever hear. That was anybody ever nice to anybody ever love you. Yeah. You just saying that her is a TRUE. Story. And what would you like. Look our home enjoy to have. A nice. One of us. Girl What if I were you and I want to be drunk. I had. And do you ever get scared. Yes.
What was the scariest thing ever happened to you. When you dream about it scares you. People are things and I'm still an early and she asked me why they change and change over a cliff and you fall down. Yes. And the Does anybody ever get you and tie you up when you dreams. Yes. Well you want to be when you grow up. Right. Would you. And why would you want to be a waitress to think. What kind of a girl or girl you think you are. Less. Than anybody really like you. And you strangers ever show any interest in you want to take you anywhere or give you things you would never. How about the people at your school they don't like
either. Just take chairs. They like you. Why wouldn't people like you. You just don't know. You think they should. Yes. What else is bar you know anything. That we have them back together again. Yes. And the same as they were before. What would you like to see them change. Nice chat. I think it's about time for you good but it isn't ok. You have heard the story of Suzanne a small thin pathetic little girl of eight. Let's turn now to another child Brenda. She's a 12 year old sixth grader who combines three characteristics that few teachers like to find in a child. She doesn't like school. She doesn't do well in school and she's a behavior problem
while there. Although all law violations perpetrated by children are technically and legally classified as delinquency. Brenda could be charged if you were an adult with trespass breaking and entry. Petty larceny fraudulent conversion and shoplifting. Her father like the father of the previous child is an alcoholic. He is hostile angry aggressive and destructive. Brenda's mother was married previously and had five children. All of these have been juvenile court wards at one time or another. The mother divorced the first husband and married this man Brenda's father. Since she has left him she has established a common law type of relationship with another man to whom she has two small children. Brenda began to thrust back at the world at the age of nine when she got tired of being beaten and left alone in the home or left with neighbors. The child says that her father and mother do not like her and that they didn't want any children.
The child has no friends in the area of wishes her three wishes were first. She had to have a real home and second to have parents who would treat children better than hers did. And third she would like to be adopted preferably in California. And also she wishes to turn over a new leaf as to her self-image she feels that she is whatever other people say that she is. Her worries Center about the future rather than the present. And career wise she would like to be a waitress but she doesn't know why. Here then is Brenda a 12 year old white child awaiting hearing at the juvenile court in Pittsburgh. What's your name. Brenda. How do you bring the 12 years old and what Grady and school fixed you like it there. Now. I do pretty well in school but you don't ever sense your
father can down. Yes. And what happens when you get home after one of those sessions. I get it. And when. You're with your mother and father live together. What happened there. They divorced. And how old were you then. Seven I see you have brothers and sisters. Yes. I have my. One that's my sister one oh sister why has this and how come you're here this time what the debt what what did you do the come here was it because of school now. Would you prefer not to talk about. Well tell you right. I was one of the department stores I went to gamble with my little sister and we tried on dresses and we walked out of the store with them on top of our other closed. And then we me and
he can match at the store after us and he caught us. He brought us to the main office and I will cry. He said that he was going to call the place and he would let us call our parents. The policeman came and we went to juvenile court. We never hear before he asked. Was it the same thing. What did you do last night. I stole checks. Did you. And did you get them out of the mailboxes or what. I still had my father's pocket. And when he missed them what did he think you are one. And able to cash them. Yes. How much were the. $60 checks. What does a little girl like you do with my wallet money. Lots of things. Isn't there any woman in the house with you that take care of you. Just your father and your little sister. Yes. And your
noses to get in on any of the stealing. Yes what did she take. She was with me. What did she get. She took tresses right. That's nice watching things. When your mother left and you go to an orphanage or something. Yes. How long did you stay there for about a year. And in your day to get out again. Yes. Would they let you go with him since he works all day. Who took care of you when he was away. We stayed by our staffs to give him a key to the house. Yes. When you're home with your little sister does he often go out at night. Yes. Does he drink too. Yes. How about tell me why he does when he's drinking what does he do to you. He comes beer bottles. He's. So you really never never had a real home.
What do you think's going to happen now. Are you afraid about that. Yes your worker came up to talk to you. Yes. She was nice to you. Yes. And how do you do in school. So where. Are you a kind of problem as well as of doing well. Yes. You know I scored. What would you like to do when you when you get big. Well. You would want to go to go on to high school college junior. And how would you think you were when you started this stealing. Well the disk carrier didn't excite you or want to do you like that. Do you have a. Funny dreams. Yes. Scary ones
yes. I don't tell me about some of those. Well sometimes I train my father he's drunk. My father god my cat doesn't. Did your mother like you didn't like either. They still don't want you either. And where would you like to go if you had your choice what you'd like to do or where we'd like to be. And I can't. What I what do you think parents should be like. How should they treat their children. I think they should treat them better. And what are you going to do to change what you're doing now or are you going to keep it up stealing and doing bad in school. I'm going to turn over a new life. I mean. You think you realize that what you did is nice and that you're not getting anywhere. I know I'm not getting it. How about telling me something that happened when your little girl
tiny girl. We went to school. Oh I always remember I was left. The neighbors had us. I was never dressed nice little kids are always dressed. Did you resent that. Yes. And Was anybody ever nice to you. But how about your playmates. What were they like. Yes. But then I guess you don't have the things they have. Was there something you did you want to talk about. Yes well sister. Duquesne University is dormitory Yeah. We went in there. We were selling flowers. We went to one door to the other and the college students hands and we knocked on the door and if no one was there would still laugh and throw it at the when transistors or
money or anything. Why would you throw it out the window after we were through would go down with a shopping bag and pick it up. And when you get a couple radios yes what do you do with them. Sell them to me and what how much would he give me for you know a lot of money. And. What else. Money. For some time. Yes and what happened then. And did they send you away to an institution. Yes. When I was at the orphanage. And how did you make it out there and how long did you stay. And what happened. And went out around the house is there anything else happening around the house. Yes.
What was. Your Jewish people. Yeah and they were always fighting with me. One day I was kind of how long ago was it. But two weeks ago OK. And I had this little girl. She said to me. She was saying I was a Catholic and she was saying I worship my dosage and I told her I was Catholic and she kept on fighting with me. She she was. Making fun of you because you were kept in are you. Now. Are you not Catholic at all. And what happened then didn't go any further than that. Yeah. That was the end of the fight. Let me ask you just did you ever run away. Weren't you missing for a couple days. Yes. With a missing person who was after you. Did you forget about that and you can tell me OK. Would you
prefer not to talk about it. All right. I was missing for three days where you can guess. Where I was. They didn't know you were in the house. I stayed. And had this ever happened before. Is it going to happen again. Well your father must have been pretty upset with him. And when you got home did he beat you up or anything. Yes. Is that why you have trouble. I said Well. Would you like to live with those people that you were staying with before you'd invite him either. Did you ever think of going away somewhere. Yes. Where would you like to go if you had a choice. California I. Suppose people would take you out there
would you be willing to do it get adopted and forget about your mother and then. You wouldn't care for them anymore. Let me ask you this do you have any boyfriends you're 12 years old don't you. Did you ever. Have. The boys like you. Girls. Well how do you expect to get along if nobody likes you if they're all agreed that they don't like you what who's what you think that is my thought isn't what's the matter with you you think I have a bad reputation. Reputation is what other people say about you isn't it. And what are you like. You know not what they say about you but what kind of a girl are you. Jack's radio. And what do you think. I think I
do you know you had a chance to think it over why do you think you really did it was the good stuff or what because I didn't have nothing. But then when you did have something it didn't work out too good either. If you had to do it over again what would you like to cancel out of your life. What we liked it didn't occur. To Jackson. But you had a good reason to run that in. Did you ever run away briefly before. Yes. Where would you go then. And your father would call you. Yes and you did hear him. Yes band every day. You'd stay up there for a couple hours by yourself. What would you be doing. Well I used to bring carrying books there. Did you ever have trouble with your hearing. Yes. Did you what was wrong there.
Don't you. And we operated on. And you have to wear a hearing aid now. Yes. You seem to be able to hear me all right can you. Yes. Why Dan. What's your biggest worry now. About my future. How does it look. Good. Well we'll see what we can do. I think it's time for you to go to bed isn't it. Yes me time. I think you will agree that these two little girls live and function in a problem centered world. When one is faced with a problem the first and most important step is to define the nature of the problem. Once a person knows what his problem is he may take any of several methods of handling it. He might ignore it and hope it will go away. He might rationalize it in a variety of ways. He might deny it. He might anesthetize
himself so that it doesn't bother him. He may face the problem squarely and work it out so that he obtains a solution or he may try to resolve the problem without solving it. He may try to alleviate it or he might try to accommodate himself to it in a way that is acceptable to society and at the same time in a way that is satisfying to his own needs. One good step in working with children is to find out how to motivate the child so that he knows what he can do to change the direction or the current of his life situation. He can be shown how to take advantage of the facilities resources possibilities and escapes that society has to offer as an antidote to problems. All of us have to reconcile ourselves to a somewhat hard discouraging and frustrating existence at least part of the time. I wonder how an adult would behave or react to problems that face these two little girls.
They have worked out their own solutions. Unhappily their way is not acceptable to society. Consequently these children need help this help will have to come from the surplus of other people. I wonder whether in their present condition and with their present outlook they can accept help or even recognise it. This very thing constitutes one of the major functions of our juvenile court system at this time I would like to thank the honorable Bennett Rogers president judge of juvenile court of Allegheny County Mrs Ruth Greenwald the chief probation officer and members of the court staff who have shared in the production of the series of interviews you have been listening to exploring the child's world. A program in which the child speaks Father Francis Duff a professor of sociology at Duquesne University has conducted the interview with the child and to find the outlines of this world in the summary that followed.
The. I am the this is been a production of the radio service of Duquesne University in cooperation with U.K. and sociology department technical director Fred McWilliams program director announcer Carol demand this and again next week for another in the series exploring the child's work. The. The the the the the preceding program was made available to the station by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is B N A B Radio Network.
Exploring the child's world III
Two sad little girls
Producing Organization
Duquesne University
WDUQ (Radio station : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Suzanne is eight; she steals checks to buy her father out of jail, but he hopes enough is left over to buy him a drink. Brenda is 12; she took a trip to college and few valuables remained on campus after
Series Description
Interviews with delinquent and disturbed young people who are encouraged to discuss their experiences and express feelings. To protect individuals, each program is a re-creation of an actual interview using different names and places.
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Producing Organization: Duquesne University
Producing Organization: WDUQ (Radio station : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Speaker: Duffy, Francis
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-5-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:33
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Chicago: “Exploring the child's world III; Two sad little girls,” 1964-01-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “Exploring the child's world III; Two sad little girls.” 1964-01-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Exploring the child's world III; Two sad little girls. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from