Monday, July 14, 2008
The Dark Valley
The call from Washington College was a major stressful experience in my life. I took a plane to get her. I will never forget that scene when we met. The black girl from South Carolina was her roommate and had discovered how mentally ill she was. There was hugging and weeping as we said goodbye. When we arrived back at Tempe, a decision had to be made to return home for Mary Ann to get her treatment. Mother had to be returned to Lawrence and Mary and, and we had to drive back to Laurinburg. I arranged to complete two of my courses through a new member of our department a retired Psychologist by the name of George Mason. He was called Mase for short. A group of Pembroke professors formed a bowling team. I stayed over to bowl with them every Thursday. Mase was one of them, so we were good friends. On returning to Laurinburg we had to find a place to stay. We had rented our home for the year. We found a place to rent at the Presbyterian camp out in the country. Mary Ann was sent to the Mental Health Center in Lumberton and put on medication to control her illness. During all of this turmoil Ellen broke down with a depression and made an effort to take her life. Being short of funds it was necessary to enter her in the State Hospital for treatment. I drove back and forth to visit her. Around this time our home was vacated. Mary Ann was under control with her medication and moved in to live with me. She got a job at Covington Street School where Mom taught. To me she seemed close to normal as she went back and forth to school on her bicycle. One day while I was visiting Mom in the hospital I received a call that Mary Ann had been killed by a truck while riding her bicycle. I brought Mom home for the funeral. She was taking an Antidepressant which was controlling her to some extent. The loss of Mary Ann and the meeting of friends at the funeral affected her in a serious way. She tried to take her life by running out in front of a truck on the highway. It was ineffective and she was taken to the police station. This time through our local physician, Dr. McArn she was entered into the Mental Hospital section of the Medical School in Chapel Hill. She was put on electroshock which was very effective. I was very concerned about my status at Pembroke because I could not continue my work on the Doctorate. As this was necessary to get Tenure I felt thatI would lose my job. The only bright experience of the whole year came in Dr English Jones's office. For all of my efforts and my sorrow, I was granted Tenure.