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Danvers State: Memoirs Of A Nurse In The Asylum Paperback – November 30, 2004
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About the Author
Angelina Szot is a retired nurse living with her youngest daughter in Hampstead, NH. She had always dreamed of publishing her collection of stories from her time at Danvers State Hospital. She finally made it happen in time for her 78th birthday. Barbara is a Principal Systems Engineer with BAE Systems in Merrimack, NH. She grew up hearing stories about Danvers State Hospital and even spent time at the facility when her parents were working there. She has two children and three step children who all live in the area. The two youngest, Tommy and Angie, love to hear Grandma's stories about working at an asylum. To them, these stories seem like bigger fantasies than anything at the cinema. Barbara believes her time spent at Danvers State Hospital has helped her immensely in her current job. Eileen is a neighbor friend of over ten years who is an educatorin the Haverhill Public Schools in Massachusetts. Barbara's and Eileen's children, Jonathan and Christina, also share a friendship. Of course, thesefriendships grew over the years from shared family events where Barbara's mother, Angelina, was always at the center of Danvers State Hospital storytelling. Eileen recalls public school field trips to Danvers
Top customer reviews
The viciously morbid, sadistic jokes she played on student nurses and interns are horrible. It's more than a lack of education which makes her background that of low breeding and peasant ignorance. Would you honestly have wanted this woman to have been your nurse, whether in a psychiatric hospital or a regular one? No wonder mental hospitals in those days only attracted the lowest common denominator. Places such as Byberry, Milledgeville, and Cleveland's notorious "Turney Tech", with their penury wages and malevolent surroundings, drew the ruthless, the brutal, and the low-down for state hospital employ - - and the hideous abuse of the patients by attendants and many nurses and doctors was the terrible result. Making the care of the mentally ill a family industry for the Szots must have meant an endurance of hard-boiled, indifferent caretakers for the Danvers patients.
Certainly, Mrs. Szot's childhood was to be pitied -- it didn't mold a very sympathetic personage, from the miserly, autocratic father who drove her frail mother to her death with repeated childbearing and backbreaking labor; immediately remarried months after her demise; and sent his daughter out while still in her early teens to work in the mills. That would harden anybody, and not to be exposed to education and culture turned out this despicably uncaring creature as a result.
That said, the book is shallow and undescriptive. As I am researching the history of mistreatment in early-mid 20th-century mental hospitals for a novel I'm writing, I'm keeping it as proof of "what kind of people" usually worked at such institutions.
I enjoyed the book because I know what was told is genuine.