Those Walls

Profile photo for Katia de Peña
Not Yet Rated


An excerpt from a reading in support of maintaining public health coverage. The author remembers the inescapable poverty of her childhood, and the death of her sister.

Vocal Characteristics



Voice Age

Senior (55+)


North American (General) North American (US Mid-Atlantic)


Note: Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and may contain errors.
I remember my sister's pain and anguish during her final weeks of life. In October 1926 I played beside her in our parlor, which was a squalid as an animal pen, while she lay on a wicker Lando, tied down by ropes to prevent her from falling to the ground while unattended. When Marion's care became too much for my mother to endure, she was sent to our neighborhood workhouse, which had been imprisoning the indigent since the days of Charles Dickens. The workhouse where Marion died was a large brick building less than a mile from our living quarters, since it had been designed as a prison for the poor. It had few windows, and it had a high wall surrounding it. My sister died behind those thick limestone walls at the age of 10 and perhaps the only compassion the place allowed. My parents was permission to visit their daughter to calm her fears of death. As we didn't have money to give her a proper burial, Marion was thrown into a communal grave for those too poor to matter. Since then, the poppers pit has been replaced by a dual carriageway