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09/13/20 06:13 AM #5033    

 

Paul Simons

Jean I can say a few words about Longview, the state mental hospital that was at Paddock Rd and Seymour Ave, because I worked there. I got a BA in Psychology from UC in 1969 and worked as an “Activities Therapist” there for about 6 months, winter of ‘69 into spring of ‘70. I worked with teenage boys who were considered to be unqualified for the school program. In some cases it was some type of brain damage, in some cases unwillingness to accept school discipline, in some cases it wasn’t clear what the problem was. I never got anything like a case folder on these kids. It was an equal mix of black and white. So anyway I found other things for them to do. 

The place had a music room with drums, other percussion instruments, an early electric piano, and they kept it locked. I finally got permission from my bosses, one miserable bunch about which more later, and got the kids into a simple one-chord funky rhythm jam. There might have even been some rudimentary precursor of rap going on. That was fun for all. There was also a gym with a basketball court and mats for calisthenics which was also kept locked. I managed to get the keys to it and again apart from having to intervene in a bit of a skirmish it was fun, for me as well. Several of those kids were good at basketball, far better than I ever was. The mats could have been used for wrestling but I don’t remember thinking that would be a good idea. 

But mainly the days were spent fixing broken bicycles. There were about 15 kids in my group and in a basement storeroom about 30 broken bicycles. Flat tires, bent wheels, chains off, twisted handlebars, missing seats, etc. I got them into salvaging good parts and putting them where needed to come up with working bikes. But then, where to ride them?

I gave those kids permission to ride around the grounds. There were paved roads connecting the various buildings, almost zero cars ever moving. The kids had a bit of freedom that they’d worked for themselves. But my bosses - here it comes - who were in some cases closeted lesbians, in some cases religious zealots that would have been comfortable with the replacement of Constitutional law with religious dogma that you see in some places today, and in the case of the psychiatrist in charge of the ward those kids lived on, a person who had no empathy and who didn’t care about side effects if the drugs made the ward easier to manage. The head nurse on that ward was a lot more of a human being than the bosses over her.

So, was it “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest?” In some ways, yes. Many adult patients were sitting or standing, all day, likely on Thorazine. I got fired for allowing the kids to ride those bikes wherever those little drives went, although nobody ever got hurt or left the grounds. The place is now an Iams pet food manufacturing and management complex. I never heard about the attack you mentioned, maybe it happened after I was gone.


09/13/20 07:04 AM #5034    

 

Jerry Ochs

Looting as a national pastime.  The British Museum.




09/14/20 02:50 PM #5035    

 

Barbara Kahn (Tepper)

Paul, this is a very sad commentary on Mental Health facilities of the late 60s early 70s.  You did those kids a lot of good in your short employment and they must have been sad to see you go.  In that same time frame I was a probation officer in the Family Court system.  It was disturbing to me that so little real help was available. It was mostly punitive and often kids were sent to institutions.  I eventually burned out. It was before I had my own children and it was stressful and upsetting. Not all parents love their children was a lesson I learned. 


09/14/20 05:13 PM #5036    

 

Paul Simons

Barbara I liked the kids a lot and I felt like they liked me as well. And the rest of the staff were warm, compassionate people like I'm sure you were too. We were lucky to have come from homes where violence, substance abuse, criminality,  racism and neglect were not present. But others are not so lucky. Apparently money, even a lot of money, and "success" don't guarantee a healthy family environment. Obviously.

The problem at Longview, as I saw it, was that those in positions of power - that is, administrators and psychiatrists - were too involved with themselves and with each other. A lot of "palace intrigue". And not enough involved with the day and night, minute by minute experience of the patients over whom they had complete control. 

The saying is, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Longview is closed, torn down, demolished. I wish the same for corrupt abusive people and institutions. I'm sure we all do.


09/14/20 05:23 PM #5037    

 

Paul Simons

Dave - about some previous photos - I bet nobody ever figured the sky would turn, for days on end, the color of Cincinnati Bengals helmets. Or if it did, that it would be in the context of, oh, I don't know, the end of the world?

Too bad about the missed field goal, speaking of the Bengals. Maybe Cincinnati should have stuck with flying pigs. There are pigs that fly you know. On 747's.


09/15/20 12:39 PM #5038    

 

Barbara Kahn (Tepper)

The Family Court system was not corrupt as I knew it but some at the top were political appointments of course. It was the antiquated thinking of the day.  They have changed the categories and practices now. I didn't have my first child until 1972 and by then I was gone. It would not have been possible to do today what I did then with all the home visits.  I have no idea how they are functioning these days but some of the laws have been changed for the better. 

I have no doubt that you were a breath of fresh air inside that institution and the children you worked with missed you very much.  Unfortunately that was not the primary concern of those at the top.  


09/15/20 02:18 PM #5039    

 

Paul Simons

 I bet your clients were glad when you visited. Re: Longview - I’ll give you one egregious example: there was a fellow about 14-15 years old, kinda big for his age, not mean, not hostile, really the term is gentle, just kinda loud when he spoke and what today would be called bipolar. They had him on a drug that caused him to develop breasts. You can imagine the ridicule he got when adults weren’t around. He begged to be off of it. I begged for him to be off of it. The psychiatrist and the managers refused to change his medication. Barbara you mentioned political appointees in positions of power. I don’t think the bosses at Longview were that but then people can “play the  “game” and get themselves to where they have no business being. Either way the saying is “it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.”


09/15/20 08:02 PM #5040    

 

Philip Spiess

This whole Longview discussion sounds like something out of Dickens -- and it is!


09/15/20 11:02 PM #5041    

 

Paul Simons

I don’t know about that Phil except as in “What the DICKENS are they doing in those places?” And the references to “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” are accurate in a general sense. There have been movies about it all - “Thr Snake Pit”, “Frances” about actress Frances Farmer who wound up institutionslized. There are of course actual crazy people, some of whom attain positions of power and influence, and these days the autism spectrum is more widely known and understood than it used to be. But this was just a short-term job for me, just one of a number like for many of us in the 1960’s and ‘70’s so I don’t have much more than this to report.


09/16/20 03:23 AM #5042    

 

Jerry Ochs

I think the most human of traits is to form an organization dedicated to doing good, but then mission creep sets in after a few years and the organization's main purpose becomes protecting the organization at all costs and advancing the careers of the main players. A few examples are organized religion, the United States Congress, many police departments, and the welfare system.  The true do-gooders are quickly put in their place or harassed until they quit.  


09/16/20 09:29 AM #5043    

 

Paul Simons

I agree Jerry. This makes me wonder what’s going on with education these days and makes me grateful for WHHS. Putting politics aside I don’t think anyone who graduated from WHHS then or now would have a problem with basic science. We read our scriblings here on screens which wouldn’t exist if electronics and metallurgy and physics and chemistry didn’t work. And yet apparently some educational systems are unable to impart that to students. It’s a failure of teaching the ability to reason. People today couldn’t read an Internet conspiacy theory that science is wrong without the products of science in their hands which proves that it does work. But they don’t make the connection. Maybe we’re having it too easy. So much of what has taken us from travel by covered wagon and communication by pony express to travel by Toyota Prius and communication by Google Duo has been done that we take it all for granted. Again putting politics aside we’d better get it straight regarding science in general and meteorology and medicine in particular because people are dying.


09/16/20 02:19 PM #5044    

 

Barbara Kahn (Tepper)

Paul, sometimes clients were happy to see me and sometimes not.  There were parents who viewed me as an intrusion and others who looked to me for help.  The kids did mostly like me. at least the girls did.  I thought it was funny that later I had only two sons and no daughters. I do have a good relationship with my sons though.  wink

It is who you know that helped me get my job too.  I needed it desperately because my husband was still in Law School.  I had been working at the NY phone company for small salary and hated it. This didn't pay much more in those days but enough to live on barely.   Even the though the county was Republican controlled my brother in law was budget director so how it works is they have to take one of the top 3 scores on the civil service test and that became me.  You do not ever know your score. 

 

 

 

 


09/17/20 12:07 AM #5045    

 

Gail Weintraub (Stern)

I'm belatedly jumping in about more dance class experiences. A number of us from North Avondale, Paddock Hills, Bond Hill, Roselawn and Amberly took dance classes at the American Legion Hall, by White Castle, on Califonia Avenue in Bond Hill. The instructor was PB Myrick. We learned cha-cha, jitterbug, ballroom and probably more dance steps. It was always a treat to dance with someone who had learned the same steps at "PB's." Rick Steiner and I jitterbuged the night away at the after party on the Opening Night of Jersey Boys in NYC on November 6, 2005. It was so much fun and will always be a wonderful memory. (A side note: I heard that years later, PB had been involved with some illicit activity. Does anyone know about this?)


09/17/20 08:29 AM #5046    

Jon Singer

In the sixth or seventh grade, what had been the third green at Avon Fields (now the 12th) hosted a flag on the top of a steep elevation that was not only visible, but quite enticing.  As I returned from what I thought as tortuous, a once a month dance lesson held at a private residence on Paddock just a few homes up from Tennesee Ave, I'd deviate from my walk back to Glencross Ave and pull that pin out of the hole.  Although I was pissed at my mother for demanding dance class as a means of acquiring manners, that unjustified behavior back then as disruptive and juvenile. 

The instructive woman (who's name a can not recall) who attempted to make my two left feet more civil owned a dog who could talk.  I rejected cha cha instruction, but I did enjoy the periodic proximity to Malman's cousin, Karen Deutsh and a relative new arrival to the neighborhood, Nancy Stillpass.

To this day I regretfully remain a wall flower and in the 10-20 times I've subsequently shot a round at Avon (oldest course in America west of Penna.) I haven't hit that green despite being a short par three.  God has had His revenge.


09/17/20 11:09 AM #5047    

 

Ann Shepard (Rueve)

I jump into the conversation about Longview. During the 70s, when I worked as a child welfare caseworker for Hamilton County, also during the time that deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill was begun (from Longview and Rollman's Hospital), I was charged with locating family members of a fourteen year old boy, whom staff had determined was not in need of psychiatric services, and to reunite him with them.  I went to the, then, children's unit of Longview to meet him.  He was sitting alone at a long cafeteria style table. He was a big boy, not very tall, but round and sturdy.  He smiled at me, and had the gentlest eyes.  I had told him I had located a great aunt, who was eager to take him. He seemed quite happy to learn this.

A little background, this child had been in residence at Longview for TEN years, since he was four.  He had been in preschool when he had a tantrum, picked up a small chair and threw it at his teacher.  His mother was called.  She was persuaded to sign papers to have the boy admitted for a psychiatric evaluation.  Neither she, nor the boy were assigned an advocate, so she agreed.  I will never know why there was a delay in evaluating the boy, but somehow the mother's rights were permanently terminated and the boy became a ward of the county.  Again, I will never know why the boy was never given full psychiatric or psychological evaluations until shortly before I was assigned to him, but it had been determined that he never had any issues that would require continued medical care and he was not a danger to himself or to others. According to his records,  during those ten years, he was never on any type of medication and did not exhibit any serious behaviors.  He was truly one of the patients that literally "fell through the cracks". Having been around other children who had been medicated, however, the boy did have a habit of rocking back and forth when sitting quietly.  

When I located the great aunt, she filled in some of the history.  The boy's mother had been a heroin addict and had lost custody of this child along with others.  According to her, family members were never explored as an option for his care. When she learned about him, she was eager to take him.  She began visits with him and after several months, we went to court, and transferred custody to her. Ongoing Children’s Services monitored the placement, and as far as I know, the placement was a success.  The boy's name was LUCKY LAWSON.  

During the years after, the buildings on the grounds of Longview were demolished.  A new building, ( which itself has now also been demolished) housed the Millcreek Psychiatric Hospital for Children. It was a supposed to be a short term residential facility for acute care of mentally ill children.  Adults were housed at the Pauline Warfield Lewis Center on Seymour Avenue.

Both facilities are long gone.  The area along Paddock Rd. and Seymour is now an industrial park. 
The picture is from Google.
 

 


09/17/20 04:03 PM #5048    

 

Steven Levinson

Ann, your hairraising and infuriating account of Lucky Lawson is a perfect illustration of why the push to deinstitutionalize so-called mentally ill persons who posed no harm to themselves, much less to others, was such a big deal in the 70s.  I find it ironic in the extreme that the pendulum has now fully shifted, the current lament being that foisting the mentally ill on the criminal justice system is unjust and inefficient.  Society is on the horns of a real dilemma; approaches to "mental health" are much more sophistocated now than they were back then, and prisons are a gawdawful mess.  But the libertarian in me still has problems with the matter of forcing instutuionalization on folks who may be a pain in the butt, but pose no harm to others.


09/17/20 07:27 PM #5049    

 

Jerry Ochs

I am sorry to break the thread about our abysmal mental health systems, but I feel the need to post this.

I am certain that we all want the coming election to be fair and transparent.

If you would like to help, the following web sites tell you how to become a poll worker.

https://www.powerthepolls.org/

https://www.eac.gov/voters/become-poll-worker


09/18/20 01:20 PM #5050    

 

Becky Payne (Shockley)

Thanks to Ann for the dreadful story about Lucky Lawson at Longview and for Steve's response. We are certainly long overdue for sensible policies to help the mentally ill (including affordable mental health care). I hope we can somehow begin to move in that direction.

 


09/18/20 05:52 PM #5051    

 

Barbara Kahn (Tepper)

Gail, I also attended the dance classes of PB. I was shy about dancing and I thought my cousin Terri Kahn was the best dancer.  Maybe because I wasn't thrilled with the dance class my mom also sent me to another one. I wonder if it was what Jon Singer was talking about. It was a man and a woman (husband and wife?) who taught dancing in the basement of the building. I think it was an apartment building. Does that sound familiar to anyone? 


09/18/20 08:07 PM #5052    

 

Paul Simons

RIP RBG

A sad day indeed.


09/18/20 11:46 PM #5053    

 

Gail Weintraub (Stern)

Barbara, please revisit my post #5045. It identifies the location of PB's classes.

Also, a classmate mentioned to me that many years after our classes, PB was arrested on pedophilia charges. I Googled the specifics but could find nothing. Any leads on this sad and sordid story from classmates?


09/19/20 12:28 PM #5054    

 

Barbara Kahn (Tepper)

Gail, Yes I read your post about PB and that's what got me thinking. I did attend those same classes but was wondering if I also went to the one that Jon Singer talked about too?  

You could be right about PB but no memory of exactly what was rumored. I thought he was rather unsavory at the time but I was shy and uncomfortable much of the time. 


09/19/20 02:55 PM #5055    

 

Judy Holtzer (Knopf)

Although I'm sure I don't have anywhere close to all the details of the amazing life of the amazing RBG (may her memory be a blessing), I'm still fairly sure that she fought like a tiger not to leave us until the election. I do hope that commonsense prevails, since this stalwart lady ultimately and unfortunately failed.

For the Jewish members of our class, the following wishes for the Jewish New year:

May we all have a healthy and more breathable year. 
May we shep naches from our families and grow even closer to friends who may need support from old friends. 
May we find things to keep us busy so we don't go gaga during the rest of the corona period, wherever we may be.
May we all get our ballots in, in time to be counted. 

I wasn't sure how many wishes I was allowed, so decided arbitrarily to stop at 4.....

Jewish or not, long life to all us! 

 


09/19/20 03:18 PM #5056    

 

Steven Levinson

Isn't it karmic that RBG went out in the waning minutes of the last day of the Jewish year.  She was the true Iron Maiden.  Even one as tough as she couldn't make it to January.  I met her not long after she joined SCOTUS. What a lady!  I'd relied heavily on Frontiero v. Richardson in my 1993 Baehr v. Lewin decision.  Our paths crossed several times after that.  I feel as abandoned as I would if my big sister died.  A world without Ruth . . . .  What an oxymoron. 


09/21/20 08:31 AM #5057    

 

Judy Holtzer (Knopf)

Steve, I feel your pain as you knew RBG personally.

* Great people who pass away on the eve of a major Jewish holiday are sometimes said to be "Tzadikkim", or "Righteous Ones".

* Second point is that I believe that RBG was a modern Deborah, who was the only female judge in the Bible. See where I'm going????


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