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There's a castle in Texas?
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Author Amanda M. Thrasher,'Mischief in the Mushroom Patch' and 'A Fairy Match in the Mushroom Patch.'
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There’s a castle in Texas?  Pythian Home - Weatherford, Texas

Looks can be deceiving, castles still need funding.

 

Texas not known for large castles but there’s one, the Pythian Home in Weatherford. I recently had the opportunity to visit and spend time with the children that live there. I was amazed by everything I saw, experienced, and was very impressed with the children and staff members.

 

Justice Henry Rathbone was a musician, writer, and actor that performed in many plays such as the story of Damon and Pythias. Damon and Pythias, in the story, were members of a brotherhood established by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, supposedly had strict morals, were always truthful, honorable and possessed impeccable integrity. These were the traits that formed the historic basis of the Order Knights of Pythias. The foundation based on friendship, charity, good deeds and happiness of others, was demonstrated through the mission and building of the ‘Castle on the Hill.’ (These days the children are not required to have any connection to the Pythian organization for placement, they help who they can).

 

The castle was built in 1897 and opened in 1909, and was originally designed to house 250 people. The staff had offices and quarters on the first floor. The second floor was for orphaned children, matrons, teachers, classrooms, and an auditorium. The basement was sectioned into apartments for widows and their children. It was designed with the intent to add more quarters if necessary, but by 1914 there were so many orphaned boys that they had to build a wing just for them, and in 1925 a girl’s dormitory was built. The last remaining widow died in 1970 and there wasn’t a need for widows to live there anymore, BUT, there was still a need for the children, as there is today.

 

The home at one time was self sustaining, complete with its own hospital, though small, raising their own beef, they even had their own dairy, garden and canned their own goods.  By 1972 the FDA changed the regulations and most of those facilities including the hospital and dairy were shut down. They were no longer allowed to participate in the canning of their own produce and fruit, and by 1976 they were not as self sufficient anymore.

 

The Home has suffered over the years, but children remain on site and are supported daily. The facility isn’t State funded, operated mostly via donations and volunteers. The Pythian organization supports and organizes fundraises etc. for the children and home. Renovations are usually via volunteers, funds donated through fundraising events, and of course through the generosity of the community and others. The children always come first, and are very happy and well taken care of. They seemed so loved and I felt as if I loved them immediately, you just couldn’t help it. They were full of smiles and energy, even questions.

 

I had the privilege of spending time with the children that live in the Home; they are beautiful in their individual ways. When I arrived they were getting ready to eat their dinner and I was invited to join them. After dinner we visited and talked about creating and writing, the love of characters, drawing and illustrating. They listened, no kidding to every word I said, even the littlest guy there. We made fairy wings, ‘magical’ of course, and donated books.  They loved them. I wish you could see what I see when the children hold ‘magical’ fairy wings in their hands, it’s such a beautiful sight. The children attend public school and come home to a beautiful castle each day. But I couldn’t help wondering what runs through their minds when they step off the bus each day; surely they still want to go home. Do they even understand why they are there? I don’t know. But I do know this, because of the castle on the hill the children have a place to call home and that counts!

by Amanda M. Thrasher

 

Texas Pythian Home in Weatherford, Texas, protects and takes care of the children whose families can’t, regardless of the reason. You may tour the facility and see Texas history and good works for yourself. Contact Public Relations Director, Cinde Watson (817) 594-4465 and make an appointment.

 

If you would like, you may also donate the following items and I can assure you they will not go to waste.

 

Need:

Mattress protectors, waterproof-twin size, washable

Vacuum cleaners with attachments-they go through a lot

Laundry detergent, cleaning supplies & soap

Paper towels, toilet paper

Flour, Sugar

Brooms, windex, pledge, dust mops

Bathroom stalls for dorms

2x4 lay in lights T8 3 bulb fixtures

Clear shower curtain liners

Yard gloves

Latex and Cloth gloves

 

Wants:

Gift cards for the children to Walmart, Target, Fast food chains,

Movie gift cards

Renovations funding –pool on site, that must be brought to code. It was built years ago.

Blinds

Gasoline powered concrete saw

Professional led paint removal

DVD players-the children go through a lot of these

Collage type picture frames

 

Comments
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Hi Amanda

And thanks for your post.

I grew up in a Texas children's home in Fort Worth, and I'm writing a novel based on those times. It addresses the issue you mentined: Do they even understand why they are there? (The answer is no. In most cases it will take a lifetime to uderstand, if ever, to understand why a child gets left behind by his or her parents and extended family.)

My stories and poems have been published in literary magazines and some are here on RedRoom, along with period photos. I'd be grateful and curious to know how someone like yourself, who has visited a children's facility, responds to my work.

I'll be in the Fort Worth area later this spring. Perhaps we can meet. I'd like to visit the castle, since it's so close.

Thanks,

+Monty