©Susie Clevenger 2014
At Real Toads Margaret Bednar offered the moving photos of Willard Asylum taken by Lisa Gordon as inspiration for our creativity. As I began to write, I thought back to when I was a child growing up in rural Missouri. Our neighbor, Mrs. Wright, suffered from mental illness. When she was healthy she would chat with my youngest sister and I, take us out to see the chickens and give us home baked cookies almost every time we came to get a gallon of milk. Then depression would leave her catatonic and she would be taken to a mental hospital and given electric shock therapy. It was so unnerving to see that sweet woman sitting silent and vacant eyed in the kitchen after such episodes.