about being you? Read Jamie Pastor Bolnick’s, Winnie: My Life in the Institution. Winnie is a woman, institutionalized from the age of 6 until she died in 1976 at forty-four, with a couple of years in halfway-type houses.
This is her story. The beginning is very affecting, especially those bits directly from Winnie herself. Despite the odds against her, parents died when she was a baby, and a fairly miserable foster mother, Winnie’s indomitable spirit shows through. Not afraid to raise hell, that stubbornness served her in good stead when she declared, “I’m gonna set down and write a book. ‘Cause mentally retarded people can’t write books, so I’ll show Willy (brother-in-law) just how retarded I am!”
Your heart aches for Winnie as she waits and waits for relatives who never come to visit, as she goes to school and works so hard to learn to read and write.
If you don’t come away from this book with more appreciation for your own life, and your freedom to live as you wish, I would be quite surprised. And if you don’t gain more empathy for those oppressed—through no fault of their own.