This was posted to the comment section of one of my Then and Now articles. It’s from someone who grew up in the Child and Family Services cottages on east Fifth Street. I’m bringing it out to the front page because it’s too good to leave buried.
I lived in one of those cottages, that was called “Cottage Two”, and my cottage parents were Mr. and Mrs. Rex, whom we called “Mom” and “Dad”. I went there in July of 1968, being transferred up from Child Haven in Las Vegas, after a failed stay at St. Jude’s Ranch. Mr. and Mrs. Rex were older at the time I came, and had spent their entire lives there, dating back to the original orphanage buildings. They were unable to have children, and had come there as a young couple from Texas, signing up for what must have been one of the biggest, and longest term, parenting job in history. Their job as parents never ended – and they always took us little ones with them on their vacations too.
It’s ironic that the Sunny Acres sign lasted such a long, long, time. We had no idea what it meant – we thought it might have something to do with the driving range next door (on the other side of the bowling alley and motor pool garage), or perhaps the cattle grazing in the fields between us and Snake Hill, where sat the prison.
The front door of Cottage Two lined up directly across the street from J.C. Fremont elementary school, which is now (or was last I visited) a postal annex. We had fabulous flower beds all the way around our home, with a big sunny porch that faced the ball field. Mom (Mrs. Rex) was an osbsesive gardner, and we would drive their little truck out to a sheep ranch every fall, and load up on manure to spread on the garden beds for the following spring. She had one several prizes for these flowers – and we all shared in the glory.
The side door was off our laundry room, and my bedroom was two windows in. I imagine some state worker sits in that room now and wonders what it was like. It may be hard to believe, but it was home, and I have very fond and warm memories of the wonderful times, including our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, that we would share.
I remember the gymnasium well. It had some older, and mostly dangerous, metal playsets, including a giant slide, and a spinning merry-go-round type of equipment that had hanging chains with rings on it. Next door to it was our favorite pastime – the bowling alley!
The Nevada State Childrens Home, and the organization within the State of Nevada, that rescued me as a child is a testament to the good, decent, and loving people of Nevada.
God bless you all – and thank you.