Showing posts with label Cherokee Iowa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cherokee Iowa. Show all posts

Excerpt--February-April 1969: Driven

The Long Road to Cherokee

(Cherokee, Iowa)

To the institution. I remember this part in black and white. The police car threaded up a hill, wheels crunching the ice. 

Excerpt moved to Memoir Madness

Excerpt--February 19, 1969: The Institution

(The Cherokee Mental Health Institute: Cherokee, Iowa)


when you walk

under a tree,

it can be just as annoying

to have a leaf fall on you

as a fly to land on you.

–Jennifer L. Semple

A battery

of psychological

tests reveals

that the patient

manifests some

“mild acting out tendencies

which is consistent

with past behavior.

It is probable

that the inclination

to conflict with social

convention will persist

but genuine anti-social

behavior is contraindicated.”

–Evaluation of Jennifer L. Semple, by R. Lowenberg


Excerpt copyright 2008 - present, Jennifer Semple Siegel.

Text may not be reposted or republished without permission.


Excerpt--Other Patients in the Institution: Perky Penny


I don’t know why Penny’s* here in the first place--she’s been here over a year--and she keeps flip-flopping between Wards 2 and 4--maybe it’s because she’s mouthy and sassy and takes no lip from the staff. I call her Perky Penny.

Excerpt--Other Patients in the Institution: Carrie the Cutter


(Cherokee, Iowa)

February 1969

I’m worried about Carrie*, a 15-year-old girl I have befriended. She shuffles between Ward 2 (wacko unit) and Ward 4, depending on her behavior. She’s on 4 now, but I’m afraid she’s headed back to 2 very soon.

Excerpt moved to Memoir Madness

Excerpt--Other Patients in the Institution: Joyce


(Cherokee, Iowa)

February-April 1969

If Penny is a lost kid dumped into the institution and Carrie a bonafide wacko, then Joyce* is just plain scary.

Other Patients in the Institution: D.J., The Mighty Sage


February - April 1969

I meet a new friend today--it’s kind of cold, a cruddy day, but I have to get out of that stuffy ward and take a walk, get away from Carrie and her wild escape stories.

Excerpt Moved to Memoir Madness

Excerpt--The Institution: Proving My Sanity


Staff meeting today. About 30 or so doctors and nurses sit in on this gala affair. More like the gallows. I’m not sure why they have these meetings--I feel like a bug stuck on a pin, struggling for life.

When Carrie had her staff meeting a few months ago, she ran out in the middle of it, and ended up on locked ward for two months.

Excerpt Moved to Memoir Madness

The Other Patients in the Institution: Anna on the Lam


February - April 1969

What a wild weekend. Anna, a chick who was admitted shortly after me, and her boyfriend Benito, took off from the hospital on Saturday. I knew that they were planning an escape, but I didn’t say anything to the staff. I figure it was their bag--they would have to suffer the consequences, whatever that might be.

Excerpt Moved to Memoir Madness

Excerpt--A Short History of The Cherokee Mental Health Institute

Cherokee Mental Health Institute, August 2004.
Summer 2008

(York, Pennsylvania)

In late September 2004, I gathered my laptop, notes, photocopies of old letters to and from my ex-husband, Cherokee Mental Health: 100 Years of Serving Iowan’s (Cherokee centennial book), maps of Iowa and Cherokee, and the August 30 issue of the Chronicle Times. I carried them to Skopje, Macedonia, where I spent October 2004-May 2005 cranking out a 700-page draft.

"Jennifer Juniper," Donovan Leitch, 1968 (YouTube)

Jefferson Airplane


Jefferson Airplane: "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love"

Jefferson Airplane performing live both "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love" on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. More