It was 1965 when the doctor told me that he doubted very much if I would live very long. I had crossed a restricted tape line put up on a house by the health department to visit someone whom I loved very much who was seriously ill. I had been drinking that day well into the evening, and no one could tell me anything when I arrived at my best friend’s house. All who were there warned me several times not to enter, but my alcohol told me that nothing could harm me, that I was invincible. What the hell were these health professionals talking about? I was going in.More
Thirty-five years ago I was approached by a mother who asked me if I would keep her baby son while she supported her husband through alcohol rehabilitation. She said the treatment would take about a month, and that she choose me to ask because her son came to the Peace Neighborhood Center after school program each day. She and her husband would not feel comfortable leaving him with anyone else they knew for that length of time. I took a liking to him almost immediately. His name was Little Harry.More
In 1991, Republican Governor John Engler closed the state physiciatric hospital in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Hundreds of mentally impaired people were put out on the street with no housing resources in place. I was at that time the Executive Director of Ann Arbor’s Peace Neighborhood Center.
The closing of the hospital was the talk of the town, and the Ann Arbor News played this headline to the maximum. One day the headlines read that someone — probably a former patient of the hospital — was lighting fires in trash cans all over downtown, and that the Ann Arbor Police were seriously looking for the culprit. Weeks passed and the search intensified. About a month later, the headlines read that the fire bandit had been caught and would be tried in court later on that week. My phone at the office rang off the hook. Individuals were calling to ask me to look into the situation because it was feared that the person to be tried was a castaway from Engler’s heartless command.More
Twenty years ago I was so lonely and empty. I was a single mom. All of my children were grown, living their own lives that included no time for mom. They had left the nest, some were in college and others had moved out of town to work, etc. I didn’t have grandchildren yet. I found out later in life the reason why I didn’t have grandchildren is because I had did a good job teaching my kids when is the proper time to have children. I worked my normal twelve to fifteen hours a day as a non-traditional social worker, then went home to an empty house. I had very little social life. And no significant other. Sometimes I would share my space with people I was trying to help, but this was not always. So I cried lonely lonely most of the time.More
Last year I was told by my doctor that I needed open heart surgery to repair a heart valve that had been damaged by improperly treated rheumatic fever as a child. Well, I was alarmed because I did not want to have such an invasive surgery by someone whom I did not know from Adam. And being poor with no influence among the medical community, I was really sad. You see being a social worker in-town for over three decades, I knew what usually happened to people who have no influence or insurance who need medical services. I didn’t want that to happen to me.More
I ask myself why are people so inconsiderate of others? Why do they lie so freely? And why do they say “I’m sorry” and think it is all that is necessary to say to redeem themselves, to undo crap they have done that made someone feel uncomfortable or less than important? It has reached epidemic proportions in this state and our neighborhoods. It is awful. Don’t just say “I’m sorry” — kindly do something about it. People need to take a good look at their part in this disunity. Negativity is running rampant in our midst, and no one seems to have the caring or energy to do anything about it.More