This article was submitted by a man who was a permanent clothes room boy at the Reception Center in 1966.
One of many duties that were assigned to me was to assist what I would loosely call a person who had a fetish to play a vampire role, the Dentist. The nurse would take me to the designated room and I would assist her in preparing for the Dentist. I would then be instructed to go out to the fields and get the designated boys, aka victims, bringing the first into the room, and line the remaining boys along the wall in the hall outside the room.
It would be naive not to classify this Dentist as someone who had been accepted due to being a low bid, local influence, and a kickback to the individual approving the contract to provide service. After all, this is Gatesville Texas we’re talking about.
The room consisted of all the necessary modern features of the day, however, it was clear to me that pulling teeth had to be more of a monetary gain than doing an actual cleaning, filling or even an x-ray. I never saw him do anything but pull teeth. I quickly learned that either the individuals had good teeth or were extremely bad teeth. Unfortunately most of these boys had never been to a dental office.
I would escort his first victim into the chair at which point the Dentist would turn around with his eyes wildly open making ungodly animalistic sounds having his hands ghoulishly raised in the air while displaying his fake vampire teeth, scaring the shit out of the boy in the chair.
Shortly thereafter, he would start giggling, remove his teeth and the work would begin. This is when the horror actually started. These boys were extremely reluctant to open their mouths, whereby the dentist would either slap them in the face real hard and/or pry their mouth open. When things really got bad is when the teeth were broken during the extraction process and the dentist had to use a flat shovel like instrument to dig and pry the pieces out of the gums.
I’ve seen people with hate in their eyes, I’ve seen people with fear in their eyes, but I have only witnessed people with terror in their eyes during this process. This was a horrible act that some of these boys had to endure. I felt that due to what I would consider malpractice behavior, that his antics would soon be revealed. This example and the amount of screams heard by the caseworkers down the common hall you would think... but this is culturally acceptable practice in Gatesville.
After many months of this activity it finally came to a conclusion. One day when he failed to show up at the Reception Center, I was told he had missed the entrance, barely missing the red brick monument Reception Center sign and was passed out in his car due to what I was told intoxication. Many boys that went through this process may have hang ups about going to a Dentist and that is unfortunate.
The Dentist used Novocain prior to extracting the boy’s teeth. I vividly remember loading the syringes during the process with these tubes of Novocain that had a turquoise rubber blue stopper on one end. One evening, while cleaning the vampire room with a boy from Laredo, who we called Indian because he looked like a Mexican Indian, he got a hold of one of these Novocain cartridges, popped off the rubber top and drank the Novocain. I worried if he was going to be alright, and the next day when I asked if it did anything for him, he said that it didn’t.
The reception center has their share of unfortunate secrets.