Sunday, October 31, 2010

The M&M Hotel - farewell to horror

Front entrance and waiting room where we spent hours
Looking for a story for the "horrified" story slam I bumped into an "old friend" and took some pics. Then I recorded my thoughts while sitting in our car, on an errand. In this short digital story, I have combined my thoughts and images with some images I found on line. They were amazing. These photos by Anna Shuelit were the exact mirror of images in my memory from my many visits to and from MMHC as a daughter and sister of mentally ill family from 1968 -- until 1990? Not sure.

The picture of our mother, sitting lost and alone, on our living room couch is seared in my mind.

Since I was not chosen as a contestant at the "horrified" slam,  I am posting my story, warts and all,  here. The Guess Who song "Undun"  in this soundtrack was popular during one of my mother's breakdowns and was kind of an anthem for us.

I was surprised to see this art installation and celebration of mmhc online. Check out the mmhc site and the project at:

The main entrance - all that was left on OCT 26, 2010
The Massachusetts Mental Health Center opened its doors on June 24, 1912. From its inception, the institution has been a partnership between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Harvard Medical School. It is one of the oldest public teaching hospitals in the United States and has trained several generations of leaders in American psychiatry. Located three blocks from Harvard Medical School, it is both a state mental health facility and a center of academic psychiatry, combining public service with clinical- and research programs. MMHC serves an ethnically diverse catchment area of about 285,000 people in several Boston neighborhoods, with a mission to care for the seriously mentally ill regardless of their financial circumstances.

The center began as the Psychopathic Department of Boston State Hospital in 1912, under the direction of Dr. Elmer E. Southard. It separated from the hospital and was renamed the Boston Psychopathic Hospital (BPH) in 1920. It was initially created to provide for the reception, diagnosis, and disposition of acute psychiatric patients in Boston, usually admitting patients for short periods only. After diagnosis patients were transferred to state hospitals or discharged for outpatient care. As the institution developed a reputation for active teaching and research in psychiatry, cases from other state hospitals were transferred to it for observation or special treatment.

When a building is closed after nine decades of continuous use, its long history moves from a physical setting to an abstract place in our memory. In the course of closing the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, the people who worked and stayed in this building for years, whose lives were affected - often unconsciously - by its dimensions, directions, and traffic ways, are moved to a new environment."
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