Are You Crazy is chapter 22 of Fine Line, sequel to Woodcutter’s Revival. Both historical fiction novels are written by Jerry Slauter and set in the beginning of the final phase of the Industrial Revolution.
Governor Frank Hanly signed a bill into law in Indiana which became the first eugenics law of the nation. The law allowed for involuntary sterilization, for reasons of criminal behavior, insanity and pauperism. Stewart discovered the law lacked due process. Potentially, the law was open for abuse.
McCabe told Stewart about a girl from the community who being held at the Central State Asylum. Stewart traveled to Indianapolis to investigate the situation and secure the release of Cynthia David. The following is an excerpt from the chapter:
He arrived at the asylum in the early afternoon. The structure was actually eight large buildings resembling medieval castles. The front revealed four stories. Each story had two double hung windows with awnings over the tops. At each end was a square Victorian tower that was almost twice as tall as the adjacent section of wall. Every tower had a round vent on each of the four sides.
He checked in at the front desk of the administration building. An attendant showed Stewart how to get to Ward Three Women’s Building. The large gray oak trees lacking any foliage gave Stewart an eerie feeling as if they were huge twisted sentinels guarding over the grounds. As he came up the stairway from the outside entrance and into the foyer area, there were some patients in wheel chairs. One stared into a corner of the ceiling twisting her hair and offering a pained expression. Another sat, while writhing her hands in a nervous gesture and looked up at Stewart, almost as if she expected something.
Some were covered with blankets or partially covered, all wearing an off-white type of hospital gown that looked as if it had been worn and laundered for several years. As Stewart passed one patient, she screamed a loud shriek that made him jump, the hair on the back of his neck stand up and his heart race.
The ward had an overwhelming acrid odor that resembled a combination of cooked cauliflower and cabbage, only stronger and more poignant. Stewart wondered if Cynthia David would be able to comprehend their conversation or if she would exhibit some of the same physical and mental symptoms of the women sitting in the foyer and hallway.
They finally came to a conference room. A young lady was sitting in a chair, with her elbows gently resting on the table. Before he noticed she was wearing the same hospital type gown as the other women, Stewart momentarily thought she might be a hospital employee. As Stewart took a closer look, he noticed that her long brown hair was not as neat and clean as it would have probably been if she were allowed to care for herself in a non-institutional setting. He was a bit taken aback at her modest beauty and countenance.
Jerry is a retired school teacher who loves to spend time with his family, including children and grandchildren. He published Woodcutter's Revival in 2012 and plans to release the sequel, Fine Line, in 2014. He likes to travel and speak about writing and the topics of his writing and research. He works in his wood, leather and metal shops at home. Writing aligns well with his passion of reading and research. Jerry is available to speak in schools and churches or conferences and seminars.
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