An Alumni Remembers How The Children’s Home Helped Her

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson was president and it would be the following year before the first U.S. combat troops would enter Vietnam. Bread was .22 a loaf and gasoline was .30 a gallon. Major happenings in 1964 included:

  • The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan, their first live television performance in the U.S.
  • Muhammad Ali beat Sonny Liston to become the world heavyweight boxing champion.
  • The Ford Mustang was introduced.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law.
  • Television premiers included Gilligan’s Island and Bewitched, as well as the stop-motion animated special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • Movie premiers included Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews, and the film version of My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn.

Also in 1964, another child came to the Children’s Home. Sandra (Sandy) Krenz was only 10 years old when she came to the Children’s Home, but it made life-long impact on her. We recently spoke with Sandy about her time here, and just how impactful it was on her life.

What brought you to the Children’s Home in 1964?
“My parents had divorced, and I lived with my mom and her mother. My grandmother passed away the year before, and it was difficult for my mom to support me and my brother while working as a bank teller. At that time we were members of the Methodist Church in Cocoa, Florida, and Rev. Leonard Vanderwater helped mom get us into the Children’s Home. I was in fifth grade and my little brother was in third.”

What was your first impression of the Children’s Home?
“I thought it was very nice, people were friendly, and I had my own room upstairs in Hardin Hall. I liked the routines and stability of living there. Mom Petty, the house parent, was amazing. She made us feel like one big family. We would pitch in and help with chores as well, just like a family.”

What kind of chores did you do?
“Back then we all ate in the big dining hall. After meals, we would load the trays, dishes and silverware into the dishwasher and wipe down the tables. “

What did you do for fun and recreation?
“We spent a lot of time outside on the beautiful campus. We played on the swings as well as games of tag and kickball. We also had a lot of board games in the activity room of Hardin Hall. On Sundays we would have sandwiches in the activity room and play instead of eating downstairs in the dining hall.”

How long were you at the Children’s Home, and what kind of impact did it have on you?
“My brother and I were only there a year, then we were able to rejoin our mother. While at the Children’s Home, I learned what it meant to be loved and cared for by people who didn’t know me. The staff also showed me how stable home life could be, and that was something I took into adulthood with my own home. The spirit of God was clearly evident in their care, and I learned from them that I could care for others. And that’s another lesson that has stuck with me.”

What would you say to someone who was considering a gift to the Children’s Home, or was already a donor?
“Giving to the Children’s Home is a lifetime blessing to a child. Some children cannot live with their families for a variety of reasons. The staff at the Children’s Home becomes their family, and the other children become their brothers and sisters. Giving to the Children’s Home means giving those children a family.”