SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION…
I’VE NEVER REALLY been one to believe in fate OR even the whole 6 degrees of separation theory. Something odd happens it’s just a coincidence, nothing more…PERIOD! And then I received a message, turning that PERIOD into a SEMICOLON!
THE MESSAGE WAS from my little bro’s bestfriend, who I’ve known for many years & it basically stated that his mom was close to one of the original Whitehouse Boys…Specifically Mr. Robert Straley, whom I had been speaking with earlier in the year. A couple of days later we connected via phone (Well once he gave me the right number…Thanks Dom! Lol) & he told me that Robert Straley had lost his battle with cancer a couple of weeks before. I was heartbroken. We had made plans to connect over the summer once he had completed treatment but sadly, I would never get that chance. As the call ended said that his mom wanted to talk to me. I took down the number & waited several days to call her as I was processing what I had just found out. I had absolutely NO idea how making that one call would shift my entire world.
WHEN I FINALLY made the call, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It rang several times & when it connected I heard a friendly, upbeat woman on the other end. It was Dede, the mother of my brother’s best friend; Someone I remembered from childhood but hadn’t seen for many years. She graciously explained her relationship with Bob & invited me to help with planning his memorial service. We made plans to meet at Bob’s home a few days later. On Friday, August 11th I found myself standing in the house of one of the Whitehouse Boys…And that’s when everything changed…
MR. ROBERT STRALEY
EARLIER THIS YEAR I shared excerpts of my email exchanges with Bob but kept his name private out of respect. I knew he had spent years working on getting justice for all who had suffered abuse while at Dozier but until I walked into his home, I had absolutely no clue the amount of work he had put in. When I left that evening I was armed with a box full of his notes, books, CDs, memory cards, thumb drives, articles DVDS, pictures & even an unopened case file on one particular boy’s death…ALL related to Dozier. I was also tasked with taking over Bob’s website as prior to his passing he had requested that the website continue to be maintained.
TO SAY THAT I am overwhelmed is the understatement of the century! I have some HUGE shoes to fill & at times I doubt that I will actually be able to do it. I’m ju4st a person who became obsessed with a school & started a blog about it. I’m NOT an investigator & I certainly don’t feel like I deserve to carry out the legacy of such a great man. It’s terrifying to know that Bob’s battle for justice is now somewhat resting on my shoulders & my biggest fear is that I will let him down.
WHAT I CAN say is that I will move forward from where he left off & though the battle is going to be enormous, I will do my best to help get the justice that Bob & all of the others are entitled to.
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FOR COMPLETE INFO ON THE ARTHUR G DOZIER SCHOOL FOR BOYS VISIT: http://www.whitehouseboys2007.com & http://thewhitehouseboysonline.com/index.html#.W5hiq6gpBxC
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