posted by Caroline Picard, transcribed by Nicholas Sarno and written by Henry Darger

this was originally published in Paper&Carriage no. 3, available here.

Traction, Amy Cutler

How can I be a saint when I won’t stand for trials?

St Vincent’s Church I can I suppose, but dare not stand at standing times or kneel also and it at times is mighty tire some sitting all that time.
I go to three morning masses and communion, at the Seven thirty Mass every day, and one extra Mass on Sunday after noon at five o’clock, besides the Seven fifteen a.m. and the eight thirty.
And on Mondays I go to the Miraculous Medal Novena Devotions. It too is followed by a Mass.
What did you say? I am being a saint? Ha, Ha. I am one, and a very sorry Saint I am. Ha Ha. How can I be a saint when I won’t stand for trials, bad luck, pains in my knees or otherwise.
I am afraid I was a sort of devil if I may call myself one, during the bad pain of my knee at night. I had forgot to mention that in the early part of September 1917 I was drafted into the army, when the United States entered the latest part of World War One.
I found army life far from pleasant, but I was soon transferred from Camp Grant Ill. to camp Logan, near Houston Texas.
Through real bad eye trouble, which though I greatly exaggerated, I received my dismissal from the army, and got my old job at St Joseph’s hospital.
I was working then afterwards these too under Sister Rufena in the dishwashing room and when the Second World War was on I had to register then again for the army conscription, but I believe because of my age I was not called, fortunately. This time I don’t say why, I could not have passed the physical examination.
I sure felt good about it, as I hated Army life. But you know if I would have been a draft evader I would served a three or four year term in prison.
And I do not under any conditions like the idea of being a jail bird, as at least that is what all persons will call you.
To go back to my cross of suffering I would not bear, I firmly believe there is no one not even you my reader who would I’m sure, who would put up with such pains, my past severe toothaches, face pains, and side pains and other things I don’t find time to mention here.
The knee pain at night I must confess and am not ashamed to tell of it, I actually shook my first towards heaven.
I did not mean it for God though, though I felt like it.
What sin it was if it was one I do not know for sure but when I told it in confession the priest was disturbed, admonished me, and gave me a severe or long prayer penance to recite.  Yet the severe knee pain drove me to it.
Yet while working on the first floor at St Joseph’s Hospital, in the main ward, or rooms I never found any patients who put up with any severe pains either.
Then why should I. And people who do suffer are usually crabby or hard to get along with.
Yet despite that pain even bothering me severely in the morning I went to and stayed through three Holy Masses a week on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
And also to work on the working days. Yet I stood it.
Would you have done it?
But I will say again of that one morning up at or in the bandage room with Joe my right leg began again while I was rolling hot packs, and it became so terribly severe, that I could not stand on it, and to add to my misery my right side acted up severely at the same time.
I had to quit and the doctor who I went to and examined my leg advised me to retire.
I did so depending on my Social Security. I retired November 19, 1963. Have been retired since and I’ll say it is a lazy life and I don’t like it.
I suppose a real lazy person would enjoy it.
I do wish I could be back working there again. To make matters worse now I’m an artist, been one for years, and cannot hardly stand on my feet because of my knee to paint on the top of the long picture.
Yet off and on on I try and sit down when ache or pain starts. I remember when I and a tall man were walking down Webster Ave. homeward bound at dark in late fall we saw an auto driver without head lights on strike a dog nearly killing the animal right there and then nearly being hit by a car coming from the west.
I wished we had been motorcycle cops then. We would have arrested him,
There is one strange thing I have got to write.  Even when a young little boy, “I felt insulted being called kid” I have had peculiar willful ways, and very independent nature.
At that time I never even heard the word ‘brat’ and had I and would have known what it meant and any one would have called me that, that party boy, girl, or grownup would have got a rock or brick on the head.
I don’t care what would be the result I would have done it.
But fortunately I never heard any one call a little boy or girl that.  I was told that any one calling a child that commits a very grave sin.  Yet too I’ll say again also I won’t under any conditions or costs, stand for anything going wrong, or bear any kind of trials or disappointments whatever.
I would not even stand for a snowless winter. I cried once when snow stopped falling.  And my poor father looked at me so queer. It must have been unusual for him, or to him.
Though were they small ones, I have committed sins because of these trials disappointments and things going wrong or not running smoothly and especially all sorts of childhood pains and miseries. I was very dangerous if teased.