Remember when we got the old cherry laurel cut down a few months ago? Well, the very tall stump is still standing and Mr. Moon recently put that wedge piece up on top of it and then a few days ago he added that little angel statue which came with the house but took me quite awhile to find as it was covered in weeds. I sort of like the look but our friend Tom keeps saying, "Y'all gotta figure out a way to grind that stump down."
I suppose he's right although I could just plant some jasmine or something on it and in about fifty years it'll all be gone.
I will be too but that's another story.
We're back to the wet cold today. I'm glad to have clean (albeit generally holey) cashmere. It's been raining on and off since last night and that's made a good day for me to allow myself to be lazy and I have been. No baking, just a little laundry, a little sweeping, a little nap. I sat on the couch and worked on August's blanket and watched Crip Camp on Netflix which I've been "meaning" to watch since it came out and I'm sorry it took me so long. What a film! It was executive-produced by Barack and Michelle Obama and although I didn't think it was possible, I love them even more now. For those of you who don't know, it's the story of a group of disabled kids who attended a camp in the Catskills in the seventies where the counselors were a diverse and loving band of hippies who treated the campers like the "real" (what a stupid description) people and individuals they were. Out of this group of people who had tasted what it was like to live in a world of inclusion and possibilities, came a wave of advocates for the disabled who helped promote and push the Disability Rights Act to make the country more accessible to the individuals that society had been happy to keep at home, out of sight, and definitely out of mind.
Or in horrible warehouse-like hospitals where even basic care like feeding and hygiene was a unrealized dream.
I remember when I first came to Tallahassee and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after quitting college, I volunteered for a little while at a local place like that. It was called the Sunland Center and to my shame, I was only able to go a few times.
It was more than I could bear. There were people there with disabilities so profound, both physical and mental, that I could not believe it. And the staff was overwhelmed, completely, by their ratio to patients. It was a shameful testimony to the brutality of humanity towards those who are different. According to this Wikipedia article, the hospital shut down in 1983. For years, the abandoned building was deemed haunted and I can only imagine that it was. Eventually, it was torn down and is now a luxury apartment complex.
I still wouldn't live there.
Later on, while I was in nursing school, I did a clinical at the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee, Florida, the infamous and still very much in business, facility for the mentally disabled and even in 1983, that was a sobering experience which taught me more about how our society views the disabled of all kinds, the differing of all kinds, than it did about treatment or care.
Believe me when I say that I will never forget the months I visited there. Not the sound of metal-barred doors clanging shut behind me and certainly not "my" patient- a woman named Sue who told me on the first day, "May-wee. I have pwoblems," after she jumped on my back and scared the crap out of me and who came to be someone who has been formative in my life as someone whose spirit I may have never seen the likes of.
So with that small amount of first-hand experience, I watched Crip Camp and I laughed and I was in awe and at the end I cried. Mr. Moon was watching it with me and he didn't hear something that someone had said and it took me a good few minutes to repeat it to him because I was just that close to bursting into sobs.
And I have to add that I don't care what people say or think about hippies these days- it was their philosophy of acceptance, recognition, and respect of all, despite differences of race, creed, gender, and even yes- abilities- that I think fomented the idea in this group of people that they deserved the rights that every other American had. The right to have access to education, society, sidewalks, public transportation, buildings, jobs, and families of their own. And so much more.
Okay, okay. Yes. I was a hippie. I will die a hippie. And proud to be.
I have to say that our chicken potpie was delicious last night and I am looking forward to tonight's leftovers. As I told Lis today when I was talking to her, I can't believe it's taken me over sixty years to become proficient at pie dough but it has. The food processor is my friend. And of course, as I also told her- a shit ton of butter makes all the difference.
Live and learn, and keep on with it.
YES Crip camp one of the best things I have watched this year. Watched it twice and then googled a bunch of shit. Brilliant. Strong. Perspective. Absolutely lovely people. When i was at university I went with a class to the state institution. Still processing that...still weep when I think about it and the individual stories/lives. Some odd reason I have never expressed any of that experience- maybe because I could not help and to talk about them seems a betrayal. I just don't know. I do admire you for staying for longer than an afternoon. Man oh man!ReplyDelete
We have no idea, do we?Delete
Did any hippies ever call themselves hippies? The word seemed to have been coined as a derogatory term for people who were simply trying to be happy, to be good, to be authentic, to care for one another and to question the rat race. When I visited Haight/Astbury in San Francisco is was like coming home but the so-called "hippies" were nowhere to be seen.ReplyDelete
Of course hippies called themselves hippies. And "freaks". Both words were coined as derogatory but folks took them on with pride and turned them around on their faces.Delete
My grandmother was in a mental institution for just a short time, a month or two? It was a ‘waiting’ place until a bed opened up in the nursing home. My dad took her there one day when my mother wasn’t around so she couldn’t stop him. Grandma had Huntington’s and my mother was trying to do the noble thing by taking care of her along with four little girls. My dad was trying to save my mother, and probably us, i imagine. I went with my mother to visit Grandma and remember the metal doors, the very dark hallways and how it was much like a prison. All very depressing even today. The institution is gone and good riddance!ReplyDelete
I’m having a lazy(ish) day, too. Some days are just like that. Our temps are going single digit this week. Even the dog hates it. I keep telling her she should have been born in Florida! Doctored frozen pizza for dinner. No guilt!
The state hospital where I did my clinicals was more like a prison than a hospital. At least the ward I was on.Delete
We're having pizza tonight!
That chicken pot pie was so lovely I added celery to my grocery list, for soup.ReplyDelete
Those two chicken breasts I used to make that potpie sure have ended up being a lot of meals. The gift that keeps on giving! Soup will be delicious!Delete
Dear god, I remember Sunland. My best friend worked there on the mid 70s and I went to work with her one day. I don’t know how she did it, but she’s probably my kindest, most compassionate friend. I remember her saying most families didn’t visit. I wouldn’t live in those luxury apartments either. Surely the grounds must be haunted. I’ll never forget the sights I saw that day.ReplyDelete
I remember an aide I was working with told me that few families came to visit too.Delete
Out of sight...
Your friend must have been amazing.
I worked @ a very large Nursing home in FL that admitted an entire wing of patients from Sunland when it closed. I have never forgotten those very special people.ReplyDelete
Yeah. It wasn't like they could just wave a magic wand and all of the clients disappear. They had to go somewhere. Bless them.Delete
Well said Ms Moon. My neighbour's 11 year old grandson has Down's Syndrome (fairly severely affected from what I can see) and just seeing how much his parents (particularly his mom) have had to fight for the best for him is heart breaking!ReplyDelete
It's so true. Society just doesn't seem to want to deal with people with differing abilities.Delete
I've spent the last two day being a lazy slob but I have made good progress on the book I'm reading.ReplyDelete
Well, that's something!Delete
OK, you've inspired me to add "Crip Camp" to my watchlist. I hadn't even heard of it until now, but it sounds fantastic. When I was growing up, Chattahoochee was the place we all knew and we used to joke about it, like, "So-and-so is so crazy he needs to be sent to Chattahoochee." Which wasn't very thoughtful but, hey, we were kids.ReplyDelete
We're having a lazy day here too -- very cold and intermittent snow! Maybe you could just put a big potted plant on that stump? You'd probably have to level it, though, and if you were going to do that I suppose you might as well just grind it down.
Oh yeah. Chattahoochee's reputation was state-wide for sure. Like "Marianna" meaning the Dozier School for Boys. At least that damn place is gone. The pain and suffering it caused will last for generations though.Delete
We've talked about putting a bird bath on that tree stump. But yes, we'll have to level it.
I too have been meaning to watch Crip Camp. Thank you for reminding me. I am glad you and your handsome man are both back to okay.ReplyDelete
You'll appreciate Crip Camp. I know you will.Delete
I watched Crip Camp last night too! I thought it was amazing and I was just so impressed by the actual footage from years ago showing their experiences. Their determination and organization was outstanding and they have made a better world for all of us. How hard they had to fight to get what they needed and how the government dragged their feet trying not to give it to them! What a world, what a world!ReplyDelete
I've worked multiple times with developmentally disabled residents, in care 'homes'. I can tell you that perhaps the abuse has ended, but what has not ended is the neglect. Our most vulnerable population is cared for by people who see them as 'jobs', not people. It is heartbreaking. I tried to make it different where ever I was. It did not go well. Ever. Eeeeeeever. I think of these people still and it breaks my heart.ReplyDelete