Is There Any Love Down Back? The Four Boys


We longed for someone to say, “I love you” or, “Hey, fellas, let’s go fishing or camping” or, “How about a trip to the ball game? Maybe an ice cream soda; come on guys, let’s go to the movies or maybe the zoo”. These are things that normal families do, but for us they were just dreams that would never come true! We were forced to stay outside in the woods down back on a daily basis. No child should ever have to endure the agonies and traumas that we did. We were starved, sexually abused, beaten, and neglected and placed in one foster home after another for sixteen years. We were constantly told that we would never amount to anything, and there came a time that we started to believe that “love” was a word that was never used nor were the words “Mom” or “Dad”. No one ever told us that they loved us, but then again-IS THERE ANY LOVE DOWN BACK?

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Book review by Amazing coincidence to a powerful book

Mr. O’Neil was invited to speak at our Rotary Club in Pittsfield Massachusetts. He described his difficult childhood growing up in Pittsfield in foster care. He described a particular foster home where he was starved and not allowed to enter the house except at dinner and bedtime. He and the other boys had to spend their time “down back”. They would dig through the neighbor’s garbage looking for something to eat. During the speech he mentioned a kind lady who would give them food and how hungry they were and how good it tasted. Mr. O’Neil overcame his early adversity and went on to a successful life as a Marine and Police Officer.

At the conclusion of the meeting, one of our members stood up and said that he grew up on the street where they lived and the lady who gave them food was his mother. She had also called the foster care system and alerted them to the terrible living conditions. It was a powerful affirmation of how a caring person can make a difference in the life of someone else.

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