I had schizophrenia at the time, but life was a whole lot easier

In 1982, I was 21 years old. I was hospitalized for 8 months; locked in. But after 8 months my parents found me a very nice Residential Treatment Home to move into and It was a beautiful home in a beautiful town.

I didn’t have much, I didn’t have a car or a job or any money. But I used to get a monthly check from SSI for $35.00. All my needs were taken care of by the house except for toiletries; I had to buy those myself. So I could spend the money on whatever I wanted to.

The day my check arrived I would walk downtown to cash it. Then I would walk down main street.

My ritual for 9 months was to walk into Sees candy and buy three caramel suckers and they always gave me one piece of candy for free. Then I would go to the an ice cream parlor and get a banana split. Then I would keep walking to the cafe with doughnuts on display behind a window so anybody walking by could see them. I would go in and buy two doughnuts.

This was my routine. My life was simple. I had no bills except for rent which SSDI paid for. I had responsibilities in the house like cooking and cleaning and groups but basically I had a lot of free time to shoot baskets in the backyard or play backgammon with the counselors or just hang out in the living room with the other clients.