Thursday, July 10, 2014

Going back

DAY FORTY-ONE: We are in Boise, ID today, but were in Salem, OR for four days, and had a lovely and very interesting time with our friend Joanne Elizabeth Seibert, who is recovering from a fall she took while hiking a month ago, in which she broke her kneecap. But trouper that she is, she went everywhere with us, and  even went out for the first time without her knee brace! She has to increase both strength and flex in her knee before she can drive, so that is her next goal. Our friends Bonnie and Roger Hull were at the beach when we arrived, but came back Sunday night and we had supper with them then, at J.E.'s home, and then we all had lunch and supper together on Tuesday. Ellen and I had some time with them in their beautiful garden that afternoon. So it was a very satisfying visit.Wednesday was a travel day to Boise. 

Bonnie and Roger Hull
The Hull garden

Going back: I've sort of lost track of what we did on each day, but these are some of the things we did:

+ We went to the farmer's market with J.E. - her first real excursion out into the world after her knee surgery. Salem has a great  farmer's market, and we got some delicious berries and veggies, and some especially nice slaw from the Minto Garden stand. 

Ellen and J.E. selecting veggies at the Salem farmer's market
 + We went out into the country in search of a nursery called Godfrey's, because J.E. wanted some flower pots to decorate her deck since she's going to be home all summer - before her fall, she had plans to hike in Glacier National Park for three weeks, but that's all off now. It took us a while to find Godfrey's - Siri (the usually competent advisor on my iPhone) was on strike - but we eventually did find it, and in the meantime we saw many of the beautiful Christmas tree farms and grass seed farms that this area is famous for. Godfrey's had a great selection and the prices were really good - a large pot cost $10 that would have been twice that or more back home. A huge pot of the sort you find on lampposts in downtown areas cost only $49. 

Godfrey's nursery
+ We went to Crema, a coffee shop that occupies the space in downtown Salem that used to be the Arbor Cafe, where Ellen worked as a cook when she lived in Salem. Bonnie Hull was a part-owner. It was a very popular and successful restaurant in its day. Ellen's experience at the Arbor Cafe is one of the things that makes her such a good cook today.

Coffee at the Crema Cafe, formerly the Arbor Cafe
+ We went to the Museum at the Oregon State Hospital. This is quite a story. A while back, someone found a long-forgotten subterranean room at the old Oregon State Hospital that contained over fifteen hundred copper cannisters that contained the ashes of patients who had died at the hospital during several decades of the 20th century, up until about 1970. The room was under a fountain and the water had leaked onto the cannisters, creating a chemical reaction with the ashes and a vividly colored corrosion. The discovery was shocking and created a huge outcry and ultimately led to investigations, research as to the identity of the ashes, politicians got involved - this was front-page news for some time. Some of the ashes turned out to be the cremains of veterans, others of native-Americans - those have been sent to the appropriate cemeteries for burial. Some have been claimed by relatives. But most are unclaimed or anonymous, and a special columbarium was created for them, and it was being dedicated on Monday. This meant that a Museum that would normally be closed was open, and I was interested to see it. 

The Oregon State Hospital was founded in the mid-19th century as a Kirkbride Hospital, which was a concept considered to be more humane at the time.  I spent two summers at Kirkbride Mental Hospitals, one as an attendant at Iowa State Hospital in 1952 and one as a seminary student doing clinical training at Danville State Hospital in Pennsylvania in 1955. These were very similar hospitals to Oregon State Hospital, and indeed, the Museum brought back some vivid memories of that summer, assisting in the administration of Electric Shock Therapy, Insulin Therapy and just being on the wards. 

Mural of a ward corridor at Oregon State Hospital Museum. This was mural immensely evocative for me
The Kirkbride Building at Danville State Hospital, PA

Oregon State Hospital - the old Kirkbride building. The Museum was in this building.

Museum display on Electric Shock Therapy
 What looks like headphones in the upper right corner was placed on the patient's temples, and an electric current was sent through the brain, causing seizures.  I helped hold down the patient while the shock was being administered. The patient was typically fuzzy after they came to, and had no memory of the experience. But it was quite an experience for me, an eighteen-year old. ECT was extraordinarily effective in treating depression (what was then called "involutional melancholia.") It is still used today, though more selectively than in 1952!  In 1952, drugs had not yet been developed to treat mental illness.

Somewhere in there we had lunch at the Olive Garden restaurant - Betsey had given me a gift certificate and we finally had a chance to use it. I took a "selfie."

Lunch at the Olive Garden - Me and J.E. (Ellen is hidden behind me)

Oh, I forgot to mention, the Oregon State Hospital is where the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed. So the museum had quite a bit about that, including a TV showing clips of the movie.

Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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