Mom or Dad took this picture of Dave and me, by the steps leading up to Mike’s building at Willowbrook. This was during one of the frequent visits we made to see our brother. The picture below is my wishful thinking made visible.
Willowbrook Park was outside the grounds of Willowbrook, the institution. I remember the crunchy gravel, Mom called it ‘coke’, and the seagulls and pigeons. It was a desolate place. Most of the visitors were families of Willowbrook residents.
There was a park just outside the grounds of Willowbrook. We took Mike there a lot when we would visit. I remember once, when we seesawed together he got off at the bottom. I would still ride with him, but I was wary of his every move.
When our family went to visit Willowbrook, we would take him to nearby Al Deppe’s, a souped-up hot dog stand, somewhere on Victory Boulevard. My brother Dave and I played Ski-Ball and marveled at the piano-violin machine that would play duets at the drop of a quarter. I was always wary because I never knew […]
My brother Mike went away to Willowbrook, a large mental institution (6000 residents) on Staten Island in New York State, USA. If you search for ‘Willowbrook’ and ‘atrocities’ on the internet, you will get more than 45,000 hits. The horrors were exposed in 1972 after which, New York State took actions that addressed the conditions. […]
It has been quite a while since I published anything related to the original purpose of this blog: exploration of my relationship between my older brother and me – my connection with autism. I began this blog to describe the impact of having an autistic brother, who is nonverbal and low functioning. (I’ve been away […]
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, […]
This is a new section of My Brother Michael. At that time, Mike was placed in a group home as part of the plan to re-settle former residents of Willowbrook.
Not being able to communicate leaves everyone in turmoil.
I’m sure the interim institution that housed Mike was better than Willowbrook, but it was still a large mental institution.