Not for the feeble minded anymore.

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Today Pineland Farms is

…. a 5,000-acre working farm, diverse business campus and educational and recreational venue that welcomes visitors to enjoy its beautiful rural landscape.

Pineland Farms’ mission is to provide a productive and educational venue that enriches the community by demonstrating responsible farming techniques, offering educational opportunities and encouraging a healthy lifestyle through recreation.

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But back when I was young, it was basically an insane asylum…euphemistically called the Home for the Feebleminded. My cousin worked there briefly in the 70’s and it was a complete nightmare. Think bedlam in the Victorian era. Rumors of neglect and abuse warranted decades of investigation until its closure in 1996.

Now?

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It’s a giant tourist attraction.

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When we’re in the area we stop at the market and have a bite to eat at the cafe.

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It’s a lovely place to just… be.

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Though I’m sure the feeble minded didn’t think so. Shame the money and attention couldn’t have been put to use back then.

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38 thoughts on “Not for the feeble minded anymore.”

  1. Times change, though usually too late for a lot of people who needed those changes during their lifetimes. I spent many years working with people described as having mental challenges, or disabilities, or a hekkuva lot worse descriptions. It never ceased to amaze me what the public could come up with to describe people who they saw as being beneath them in ability, or intelligence, or whatever else they were measuring in their minds. Amazingly, feeble-minded was one description I never heard!
    What struck me most were the people who felt it necessary to loudly suggest the people I worked with should not be allowed in public where “they had to look at them”! The stigma of “not being normal” really made me wonder about how normal those people were.
    I am happy to hear this place was closed down. I know the stated purpose of such places were to keep certain people safe, but in most cases the real purpose was to hide them away. That was the cruelest thing that could ever have been done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The shame of mental illness/disability ran deep for centuries. Pineland’s closure was long overdue, but sadly you need to do nothing more than look to the homeless population to realize nothing is being done in its stead.

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      1. I don’t know about in the States, but in Canada the homeless population is mostly made up of the very poor, drug-addicts, and people who choose to live outside society’s norms. Most people who are considered to be of less than normal mind are provided for quite well, with lots of government help for those who need it, if they want it. Not everyone does, but most do.
        I have been homeless, I have worked with the homeless, and I have lived with people who are differently-minded. From what I hear about America, though I do not know this as fact, supports are not available for a lot of people who need it. This makes me very sad. (My own reasons for being homeless were a mix of reasons 1 and 3 above. Though I used drugs for a period of my life I was never addicted to them.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Unfortunately it is a product of your capitalist econo ic system. Individuals are expected to succeed or fail on their own abilities skills, and determination. The people who fall by the wayside are not really welcome in normal society, in ost places, that mea s homeless and living from hour to hour. And yet,I am told, America is the best place in the world to live… If you are well off, I always add.

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  2. I have a little different take on that. I remember when Geraldo Rivera did a great ‘expose’ of Willowbrook State School, a New York institution for the mentally ill in the 1970’s
    All across the nation, hundreds of institutions closed after that, and the mentally ill were put out on the streets where they became easy prey for criminals, and it made the cops social workers.
    We tossed the baby out with the bath water … some people do need the care of an institution …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They do need help, yes, but very few need to be institutionalized. Personal Care Workers and Group Homes can work with most to give them a life closer to normal. I worked as a PCW in group homes for over 20 years. While it is not an easy job at times, it is very rewarding. Doing everything one can to keep people, AND THEY ARE PEOPLE JUST LIKE YOU AND ME, out of institutions helps them feel a part of society, instead of being ostracized by society, which is how an institution makes them feel. Anyone who wants to institutionalize people should be forced to spend a year in an institution. Withing a month you will be questioning your own sanity, and by the end of the year you will be demanding they all be closed, except for those people who cannot function no matter how much help they are given.
      Given the size of the American population, and the demand that people be normal or invisible, I can see where people think institutions are the only answer. But every person must be given the chance to live the best life they possibly can. Institutions DO NOT do this for anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps
        And maybe you are right, and those helpless people aren’t getting the help they need.
        And maybe I am right, and those helpless people aren’t getting the help they need.
        Surely you don’t believe that they should be allowed to roam the streets and let the cops be their social workers …

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      2. That depends on their personal capabilities. Some can be trusted to act in their own best interests, Do their own thing. Some need to be accompanied by their PCWs.
        Your assertion about cops being social workers is absurb on many points, the biggest one being cops have no idea how to be social workers. But, having said that, cops should be just as willing to protect people with disabilities from people who have no visible differences. I actually find your question quite offensive!
        But mostly it is the “normal” people who need to be watched by police. When they see a person with difficulties, they start screaming at them, or attacking them, for no good reason. Many were the times I had to try to get people to shut up and go about their own lives, and let my clients go about theirs. It was incredible how many people were willing to resort to violence just because someone else was walking down “their” streets!

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      3. All I can tell you champ is that you picked the wrong guy to huff and puff in self-righteous indignation to. Go tell someone who cares …

        My apologies to River … but I do not suffer boors …

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  3. My mother worked at a state psychiatric home (in Pennsylvania) for over 20 years. They closed it in the 90s as well. A developer wanted to transform it into a “self-sufficient” community but public opposition is advocating a park.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This place is stunning now!
    I’d like to think we’ve come a long way in our treatment of mental illness but I think we still have a long way to go. When I was dealing with my late husband’s OCD there was nothing in terms of support in my community (and I lived in the most populous part of Canada!).

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think of the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” with Nicholson. Scary. In foreign countries I have lived in, disabled children and those having disabilities of any kind are not treated as well as in the U.S. I would not believe every story I heard but I do believe some from having experienced the culture.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, especially countries with monies hiring outside their country to find workers to deal with this as their natives cannot as it is not acceptable. Perhaps it has changed as this was over a decade ago.

        Liked by 1 person

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