Local Heart, Global Soul

December 31, 2009

The most amazing Dorothea L. Dix…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are walking around the centre of Boston and come across a beautiful fountain. The inscription reads “Dorothea L. Dix Foundation”

I don’t actually know who this person was, but another inscription on the other side of the fountain makes me want to find out more.

So… here is a not so small summary about this amazing woman…

Dorothea Lynde Dix was a teacher who went on to become a pivotal force in the the reform of treatment  of  the mentally ill.  At the age of thirty-nine, she started a fundamental change in American mental institutions and by fifty-four had covered half the USA and was inspecting institutions for abuse of the patients.

In this fifteen year period she achieved  an astounding amount and the effects of her work not only gained an immediate response but also live on today in the manner  that people who suffer mental illess are treated.

Dorothea was born on April 4, 1802 in  Hampden, Maine. The eldest of three children of Joseph Dix and Mary Bigelow Dix. Her father was an itinerant Methodist preacher.  Her family life can be described as abusive and nonexistent. Her mother was not in good mental health and her father was an abusive alcoholic.

Even though her formative years were not the happiest, she learned many things from her father that would influence her life. He taught her how to read and write, putting her adead of the class then she entered school, this in turn developed her passion for reading and teaching and she subsequently taught both her brothers to read.

At this time  the family moved to Vermont and her mother was suffering from acute, incurable headaches and her father was drinking heavily and they were deemed that they  longer capable of caring for their children. Madame Dix, Dorothea’s grandmother, took the children to live at the Dix Mansion in Boston.  Dorothea was twelve and already  accustomed to caring for her brothers, a situation that continued as she lived with her seventy-year old grandmother.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Her grandmother was wealthy and demanded that Dorothea act and have interests of a wealthy girl. Her grandmother hired a dance instructor and a seamstress to cater to Dorothea’s personal needs. However, Dorothea wished for none of these trappings.

Her grandmother punished her severely when she was trying to give food and her new clothes to the beggar children who were standing at their front gate. At the age of fourteen, Madame Dix requested that her sister,Mrs. Duncan, who lived in Worcester, take care of Dorothea for a “while” and turn her into a “lady.”, Once she arrived at her great aunt’s house Dorothea immediately took on the role of “young lady” so she could return to her brother’s. However, she was to stay with her Aunt for nearly four years.

During this time Dorothea attended several parties for her rich relatives and met her second cousin, Edward Bangs. Edward, fourteen years her senior and was a well-known attorney. He took an immediate interest in Dorothea. Dorothea told him her plans to be a schoolteacher. He suggested she start  “a little dame school”. Girls at this time were not permitted to attend public schools. but could be taught by other women privately.

Edward located a store on Main Street in which Dorothea could hold her classes. In the fall of 1816, at age fifteen, she faced her first twenty pupils between the ages of six and eight. She ran this school of sorts for three years. All this time Edward would continually visited and kept  her company.  Edward, now thirty-one, told Dorothea now 18,  that he had fallen in love with her. Frightened and scared she immediately closed down her school and returned to the Dix’s Mansion in Boston. However, Edward was not detered. He followed Dorothea to Boston and purposed marriage. Dorothea accepted but would not agree to a definite date.

The obvious reasoning for resisting marriage  was that Dorothea feared that she would become like her parents. Marriage to her meant desertion of children, emotional outbreaks, fights and heavy drinking.

Once  back in Boston she began reading her grandfather’s Harvard University books.  She wanted to ask her grandmother to use the Dix Mansion as a new school but feared her reaction. However, one day she got the courage to write her grandmother a letter, even though they lived under the same roof, of her intentions. She told her that she wanted to open a school for poor girls to get an education. In addition she would open a separate classroom for wealthy girls, as they deserved an education as well. Madame Dix was thrilled with her granddaughter’s plans and heartedly agreed to them, much to Dorothea’s surprise.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

However in the spring of 1821 Dorothea’s father died in New Hampshire. At this time in her life she knew deep down that she was not destined to marry Edward and returned his engagement ring.

From 1822-1836 Dorothea managed to teach her two classes and began writing several books for children. However in 1830, she became very weak and ill. andwas asked by her good friend Dr. Channing, if she would accompany his family to St. Croix and be a tutor for his daughters. During this time she was able to fully recuperate and return to her school in Boston.

On her return in the fall of 1831, aged twenty-nine, she received news that her good friend, General Levi Lincoln, was elected the new government of Massachusetts and his secretary of state happened to be her former fiance, Edward Bangs. These two individuals would later become influential in getting Dorothea’s laws concerning mental health accepted as government policy.

In 1836 Dorothea took care of her sick grandmother and continued teaching at her school. However she became more and more drained and eventually leading to a breakdown and severe hemorrhages. Her condition is now known as “tuberculosis”, but at this time there was no name for it or cure. Upon her doctor’s urging she gave up her school and took a long vacation set up by Dr. Channing to England. While she was recuperating her grandmother and mother died within a two days of each other. She stayed in England until January of 1841 when she returned to Boston in better health.

Dorothea’s second career began when she was thirty-nine years old. In March 1841 she entered the East Cambridge Jail having volunteered to teach a Sunday School class for women inmates. There she witnessed such horrible images that her life, from that point on, was changed forever. Within the confines of this jail she observed prostitutes, drunks, criminals, retarded individuals, and the mentally ill were all housed together in unheated, unfurnished, and foul-smelling quarters.  When asked why the jail was in these conditions the answer was, “the insane do not feel heat or cold”

Immediately took the matter to the courts and  finally won. Dorothea then proceeded to visit jails and almshouses, where the mentally ill were housed in other parts of Boston and soon her investigations extended over the entire state of Massachusetts.

She made careful and extensive notes as she visited with jailers, caretakers and townspeople. She shaped a carefully worded document to be delivered to the Massachusetts legislature.  In addition her timid presentation of her findings completely won over the legislative board because her conviction was so powerful.

Dorothea’s views about the treatment of the mentally ill were radical at the time. The popular belief was that the insane would never be cured and living within their dreadful conditions was enough for them. However Dorothea, just by bettering the conditions of the inmates, showed people that mental illness wasn’t all incurable. She stated that “some may say these things cannot be remedied, these furious maniacs are not to be raised from these base conditions.  Although Dorothea didn’t know the mental processes that were occurring within these individuals she knew that improving their conditions wouldn’t hurt them .

She traveled to other states and proceeded doing the same process: extensive travel to jails and almshouses in a state, careful descriptions of conditions in jails and almshouses, and preparation of a document comparable to the one which proved successful in Massachusetts .  Although her health was very poor, she managed to cover every state on the east side of the Mississippi. She played a major role in founding 32 mental hospitals, 15 schools for the feeble minded, a school for the blind, and numerous training facilities for nurses.

Her efforts were an indirect inspiration for the building of many additional institutions for the mentally ill. She was also instrumental in establishing libraries in prisons, mental hospitals and other institutions.

In 1848, she sent a document to the United States Congress asking that five million acres be set aside and to be used for the care of the mentally ill. . In 1854 the bill passed and was approved by both houses but was vetoed by President Franklin Pierce. After her fighting Dorothea was physically worn out by trying to fulfill her dream. She decided to travel to Europe to rest.

Once she got to Europe she had no time to rest for she began her process of inspecting jails and almshouses there as well. She traveled to England, Scotland, France, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and Germany. In  of only two years: 1854 to 1856 she made an effective change in the way Europeans dealt with the mentally ill as she had in the United States.

Upon her return to the United States in 1854 she continued to travel and investigate many states she had not managed to visit before. However at the outbreak of the Civil War she put her energies into being the Superintendent of Union Army Nurses. Although she wasn’t effective in this field, she continued to serve throughout the war. In 1881 the state hospital in Trenton, New Jersey opened. This was the first hospital  initiated and built through her efforts.

Since her own health was failing she admitted herself into this hospital. She remained in the hospital for a period of six years. Her death on July 17, 1887 ended a career that was unique in its singleness of purpose and magnitude of accomplishment.

Dorothea Dix has been described as “the most effective advocate of humanitarian reform in American mental institutions during the nineteenth century” (Goldenson, 1970). However, her achievements are only mentioned in five of the current fifty-three textbooks covering the history of psychology. The reason given for this is that she did not contribute to our understanding of the nature of mental disorders. In her life, she was inconspicuous with her work, and she did not place her name on most of her publications. She refused to have hospitals named after her.

Expressions of praise and gratitude for her work always produced embarrassment. In later years of her retirement she refused to talk about her achievements and wanted them to “rest in silence”.

( I have amened a lot of this text from Wikipedia)…. what brilliant reading and that an amazing life !

It just goes to prove that one single person on a mission with a passion to make things better really can !!! Bravo Dorothea, maybe you did not wish for accolades but you certainly deserve them. I can only hope that somewhere, somehow in my life I could do something that reaches out even in tiny measure to what you have done.

December 30, 2009

Boston’s Quincy Market… up, down, and surrounds…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Yep, I’m still in Quincy Market… (any Foodie worth their salt could spend waaaay too much time here quite easily mind you) The littlest kids are tired because it’s hot and they are sick of walking, so they are happy to take a seat and munch on their lunch for a little while.

We have ajourned to the “gallery” part of the  Market, it’s upstairs in the centre of the building and whilst there is a seating area downstairs too, we found that to be very busy and so it was a nice discovery that just up the stairs where were tables fee, less noise and bustle and a chance to watch the world go by, below.

The building itself is steeped in history too… in the early 1800’s, Bostonians needed more land for a new and larger market, so they filled in the harbour, pushing back the waterfront to where it is today.

I have no idea if the signs on the walls reflect former tenants of this building in days gone by,or not….  but certainly they add to the atmosphere and the dome provides light and a good sense of space.

Let’s take a look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

..and the centre of the building  is topped by a large dome…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

The marketplace expanded to include the New Quincy Market building and became the hub of New England commerce in 1826 in response to Boston’s rapid growth. The building itself is steeped in history too… in the early 1800’s, Bostonians needed more land for a new and larger market, so they filled in the harbour, pushing back the waterfront to where it is today.

The marketplace expanded to include the New Quincy Market building and became the hub of New England commerce in 1826 in response to Boston’s rapid growth.

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

The Quincy Market is arranged in several levels, inside you have the main food hall, directly outside there is a kind of porch arrangement, with also some entrances to a basement level for some shops under the Market building,  the Porch style area is a covered area where there are barrows selling souvenirs and outside the covered porch there are more traders dotted around in the pedestrian area, in kiosks, more barrows etc

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

The Quincy Market is arranged in several levels, inside you have the main food hall, directly outside there is a kind of porch arrangement, with also some entrances to a basement level for some shops under the Market building…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

….the Porch style area is a covered area where there are barrows selling souvenirs and outside the covered porch there are more traders dotted around in the pedestrian area, in kiosks, more barrows etc.

Mr. –“I-loooove-wheels”-Four was rather taken by this barrow…. ( funny that!)

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Then we are drawn to a  stall with toys and are all captivated for a while by this little plane that speeds around the track.  Nooo kids, we don’t have room in the bags for it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Bye Bye for now Quincy Market…  but rest assured, I will be back !

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

December 29, 2009

A Foodie’s delight… Quincy Market in Boston.

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Boston Massachusetts have a particular location that is well know to foodie fanatics.

Just mention the name “ Quincy Market” and their mouths will start to water.

Quincy Market is a food Hall that will surely have something to please everyone, The biggest problem is how to choose between all the amazing treats on offer.

There are many local specialities on offer, from the most obvious : lobster, but many many other local and regional treats too.

There is a long arcade of food stalls and shops inside the Market, a gallery mezzanine floor above where seating and tables are provided for you to enjoy your food and where you can “people-watch” the bustle below…

… it’s simply a matter of browsing around, deciding  which style of cuisine ( or mix and match as takes your fancy) making a selection and then sitting down to a wonderful food experience. The bustle and atmosphere also adds to the ” flavour” and when you see other people in your group ( or the table next to yours) returning  with more mouthwatering goodies you will be wishing that you have more time and a bigger stomach.

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Quincy Market is definitely a place were many many things would be on my wish-list, if they didn’t actually get onto my personal plate. Time to take you on a little tour…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Yikes… where to start choosing … it ALL looks so yummy!

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Too much to chose from!

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

December 28, 2009

Old and New Boston… Faneuil Hall.

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photo © kiwidutch)

We are visiting Boston, Massachusetts, and looking around the center of the city.

Faneuil Hall is an impressive building that was constructed in 1742 by Peter Faneuil as a meeting place and as Boston’s central market place for crops and livestock.

It’s provided a forum for public debate in Boston and during the Revolutionary era it was the seat of local government.

On the second floor, members discussed issues of the day.

The ground floor below has housed a market place for over 250 years.

Charles Bulfinch, the well known Boston architect, expanded Faneuil Hall in 1805-06 and his most dramatic contribution was the Great Hall, designed to accommodate public meetings, ceremonies and special events.

The Hall continues to be actively used today.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

There are also maps depicting “Old” and “ New”Boston….

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I love architectural detail and find plenty of it here to delight the eye…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

December 27, 2009

Boston Common, a walking tour and the Freedom Trail…

(photo © kiwidutch)

We are in Boston Massachusetts visiting a few sights while we wait for our friends van to be repaired and before we have to fly back to the Netherlands.

There is amazing amount of history in the region, too much for us to see in the short space of time that we have in Boston…

…So we have already decided that one day we will be returning here to learn more about this amazing city.

There are bus tours available but we are enjoying our walking tour…

We find a statue to commemorate the Declaration of Independence, with a copy of the signatures of the signatories.

Of course I know about the Declaration of Independence, but in a very general vague very basic-general-knowledge kind of  way,  but not in any detail. Here, the history is bought home to me and I realise just how little I really know on the subject. I’m keen to learn more.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Even though we are in the center of a very large city it’s a pleasant walk and we are having a good time learning a little about the history of Boston.

We are on Boston Common, and some statues catch my eye as we walk around and I walk over for a closer look. Parkman Plaza is named for George E, Parkman 1823-1908, who was the benefactor who enabled improvements to be made on Lafayette Mall and this plaza to be created.

One of the statues here depicts “Religion” another, “Industry” and another, “Learning”.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

There is a walk around various points of interest around central Boston, called the “Freedom Trail” and it is marked in the pavement by a red stripe or red bricks and punctuated by markers set in the ground.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

December 23, 2009

First look at Boston…and the Common.

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photo © kiwidutch)

We drive into Boston and the weather is great, the van is still making some strange noises but we head for the centre of town and hope for the best.

We  have a most of the day to kill before heading out to the airport to catch our night flight back to Europe.

W e head downtown to Boston Common, but just as we park the van in the car park building, we hear the unmistakable sound of an engine in trouble, and get out to see an ugly trail of green fluid leaking from the underside of the engine. My friend stays with the van to ring the car repair service and since we don’t know how long this is going to take to fix, we take the kids out so that we can walk around the Common and see something whilst we wait for word on the van.

There is a LOT of history in Boston and we only have time to make the smallest of scratches on the surface.

In 1634, only four years after John Winthrop and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settled the Shawmut Peninsula and created the town of Boston, these colonists bought a 48 acre tract of land on the lower slopes of Beacon Hill.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Purchased from Reverand William Blackstone, an Anglican hermit who had been the area’s sole inhabitant ir nearly a decade, the land was immediately set aside as an English-style “ commonage” or common area for the use of all Boston’s townsfolk.

Although today we think of Boston Common as a tree lined public park, it’s uses were far different during it’s first two centuries of existence. During this early era, the Common was the scene of public rallies and celebrations, a favorite place for recreations like ball playing and sledding, but it also served as a military training field, cow and sheep pasture, public punishment site, and burial ground.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

For eight years British redcoats camped and drilled on the Common and many were buried here in the years of occupation leading into the American Revolution leading into the American Revolution. Though the tree-lined pedestrian mall appeared in 1728, the Common’s most conspicuous foliage was the ancient Great Elm.

Ironically it doubled as as a protective shelter and meeting place and in the 17th Century as the colony’s dreaded hanging tree.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

By the mid-19th century, the American parks movement had taken root in Boston and the face of the Common began to look substantially more modern. New tree lined walks, commemorative statues and plaques, fountains and iron fances and gates were gradually added, while activities continued to include public rallies and demonstrations, ball games, festive celebrations and musical concerts.  The ancient Frog Pond, now paved, became a site for wading and ice skating.

Throughout its history, the Common has served the dual role of meeting ground and public park, a legacy that will continue into the 21st Century. In sum, the Common is a microcosm and a mirror of all of Boston’s past, and that of America as well.

Hmm… seems that we aren’t the only ones enjoying the Common today …. look at this little sweetie…

(photo © kiwidutch)

September 30, 2009

Restaurant Review: Red’s Sandwich Shop, Salem, MA, USA.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We have been busy seeing the sights in Salem, Massachusetts USA, and now the hunger pangs have kicked in and we are starting to look for a place to have lunch and a short break. We spy “Reds Sandwich Shop” located at 15 Central Street in the Old London Coffee House , a building that dates back to the 1700’s and the restaurant has been a landmark in the center of Salem for more than 50 years.

The kids go mostly for simple grilled cheese sandwiches, a meatball sandwich and I think that a Chicken Salad sandwich sounds good, but since breakfast was “lunchtime” for the four of us who’s stomach’s are still functioning in Dutch Time Zone, and I was already in shock at how big the portion sizes are in the USA, I opt for a half-sandwich instead of the whole one. Just as well, because even a half sandwich was generously proportioned.

My dutch children had their little eyes open in wonder and delight at the fact that their meals came with “chips”.. No, not french-fried kind of chips, but ” crisps” kind of chips.. . small individual portions in plain silver foil bags. No big deal for our American friends of course, but a BIG treat for our children for whom this is definitely not a usual part of their Dutch lunch menu.

Hubby liked his Seafood Chowder and my friend liked her Pear Walnut Salad.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

There is a blackboard menu as well as the regular menu… with a nice wide selection to choose from and your place-mat is an area map of central Salem, with the trolley routes and places of interests marked, so you can plan your next stop and your walking route… quite handy if time is a constraint and you want to squeeze in as much as possible in a day.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I like the fact that the “back room” working area of the kitchen is in fact on show out the front, so you could see your meal being made, and how a busy kitchen works. It doesn’t really matter if this arrangement came about by accident or design but it definitely gives some added personality to the place.

The staff are friendly, they have no problem to shift tables to let us sit together and the food is tasty. It’s a good stop for a short break and lunches galore to suit the size of your hunger.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Reds Sandwich Shop , 15 Central Street, Salem, MA 01970, United States, Phone: 978-745-3527

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

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