Fortunately, I am a pack rat and have saved letters, written from late December 1968 to May 1969, between Jeff A. Brown and me; therefore, I was able to recreate my youthful voice by referring to them. In addition, these letters helped me to remember, for without them, much of that time would have been a blur. I also obtained copies of my court and hospital records, both of which revealed surprising insights into the commitment process, in the days before the powerful 1972 and 1975 Supreme Court rulings on involuntary commitment. In addition, the records also offered some surprises regarding my grandparents’ actions.
I wrote the first draft of this memoir in 2004-2005, while I was living abroad (in Skopje, Macedonia); thus, the internet was very helpful in clarifying the current events of 1968-1969, though I have since cut from the final version most of those references.
I was caged.
Then, I was driven.
Driven to Cherokee.
A hazy memory of riding caged in the back of a police car.
Two shadows in the front seat, the county sheriff and a female escort.
Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” buzzing from a tinny transistor radio.
Outside, the Iowa landscape bleak.
Cloudy and cold.
Condensation and frost riming the windows.
Piles of dirty snow dotting the countryside.
Destination: Cherokee’s other place, the outline on the hill.
Shifting, crossing my legs…
Please, can we stop?
Hot and steamy inside.
Shivering, my teeth rattling.
Please…I have to go!
Hear something, George?
Naw, nothin’ important.
Cargo has no voice.
Madness has no voice.
Listen, crazy girl…
Two voices: We have come to take you away, ha, ha…
“I’m crazy, crazy…”
Fragments, crazy-quilt impressions, acid flashbacks…
Table of Contents for Memoir Madness
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