March 14, 2014

My son in Williamsburg

I love history. I especially like “living” history. In other words, as much as I love books, even history books, I particularly enjoy visiting historic places and watching the actors dressed in period costumes and listening to their presentations. It really makes me feel like a have a much better understanding of those places and times.

Historic Williamsburg, Virginia, is one of my family’s favorite historic places. While all our friends get excited about traveling to Williamsburg to visit the Pottery Factory or the Big Wolf Lodge, we plan our visits around the historical sights.

My wife is a genealogy hobbyist and has discovered some amazing things about our ancestors—including the fact that one of her ancesters fought in the War for Independence under General George Washington. He became very depressed after the war was over and was eventually admitted to the first insane asylum in the United States... in Williamsburg. We had walked past that building many times before, but the last time we visited Williamsburg we decided to go inside that building where her ancestor had been treated.

The building has been made into a small museum where you can see the tools they used for their “therapy” and the rooms the patients would have stayed in. They had a few different rooms set up according to the time periods during which those rooms would have been used. None of them were very nice. We were able to determine what my wife’s ancestor’s room would have looked like. It was interesting... and a bit chilling.

Just last summer I took this picture of my son in front of that building.

My adopted son has had severe difficulties every since he was a very young boy. We took him home with us the day after he was born and as soon as all the legal steps had been accomplished, we adopted him. But he has had tremendous trouble trying to overcome the issues left by the recreational drugs his birth parents were taking. Some of his issues are somewhat common, although they exhibit themselves in a severe way with my son. But some of his other issues are not common at all, and they are, again, quite severe.

I am so thankful that the medical community has come so far in recognizing neurological illnesses. My wife’s ancestor was quite likely suffering from what we now know as PTSD. But back in those days, they saw only severe depression and they admitted him to a terrible place that used pain reinforcement, fear, and intimidation as their only methods of “therapy.” My son, in spite of all his issues, is a great kid. And we have received a lot of help from the medical community. I’m glad he has never had to stay in a place like this hospital in Williamsburg.

And this picture has nothing whatsoever to do with what I’ve written so far, but it’s the Governor’s mansion in Colonial Williamsburg—complete with one of those living history costumed folks I mentioned. I took this one two years ago.

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