I've been asked about my research for Secrets of the Asylum! So, here is my story:
The first time I visited Western State Hospital was when I was a teenager. I forgot about that until I started to write this article. I sang for about 20 years with a gospel group called NewGrace. I started singing at age 12 or 13.
I don't know that I knew I was going to a mental hospital to sing one summer day...and all I can remember really is that this woman kept requesting we sing Jingle Bells. I didn't know what to do. As a teen, I wasn't sure why the staff in the rec hall just acted like her outburst was normal. I think we finally muddled through a weird unpracticed Christmas song. The rec hall is located right behind the hospital. Also, I believe that one of the people I saw on staff that day was an employee named John White. I was impressed at how kind he was to the patients.
The picture below of me and my mother is of us at a party for former employees int he same rec hall.
My mother began working at Western State Hospital as a RN in 1991. In 1995, I was a stay at home mother. I decided I wanted to buy some new furniture and was hired to work as a nurse aide at WSH. I planned to stay for six months....