I was very surprised, years ago, when my parents called me for input about which group home Mike should be sent to. Mike had been a resident of Willowbrook on Staten Island, NY, USA, a very large mental institution, housing more than 6,000 patients (also known by some, as ‘inmates’). There was a court ruling, after widespread abuse was uncovered, mandating re-housing of the patients into smaller housing units.
I would have input to where Mike would be housed. I hadn’t been close to Mike for many years, since I left the area for school and work. But at the time of Mike’s relocation I was back in New York. My choice was to have him within a reasonable travel distance.
The next section documents my attempts to understand Mike better by documenting how he lived and spending time with him.