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With each visit to Southern, Dr. Warner became more and more convinced that he had torescue Sarah; he couldn't let her continue to live in this cold, dangerous institution. It wasn't toolate to make up for the 18 years of neglect, abuse, and rape that he had caused her to suffer.There was nothing he could do to change the past, but he could change the future. It was at aboutthis time that the trend for deinstitutionalization began, first with the mentally ill and then withthe mentally retarded. At that time, it was revolutionary to think that institutions should be closedand the mentally ill and the mentally retarded should be integrated in the community. I don'tthink that anyone in 1970 would have thought that by 2010 most institutions would be closed.When Dr. Warner learned about deinstitutionalization, he was all the more convinced that he hadto bring Sarah home. And he also knew that he couldn't bring her home without me. She neededme to help her adjust to the move from an institution she had known her whole life to a homewith people she barely knew. Even though she would live in a beautiful setting with a caringfather, it would still be hard for her to adjust.

Dr. Warner needed Edith's approval for his plan. She had only visited Southern once, andrefused to return. To her, Southern was a hellhole and she didn't want to dirty herself byspending one more minute there. But it was okay for Sarah to live in the hellhole. Finally, Marksaid to Edith:

"Edith, I think it's time we talk about moving Sarah to our house."

"I know you've been thinking of doing that. Of course, I don't want to do it. I think itwould be better to place her in a small home with people like her. I asked Walter to check intothe best homes for such people. There are some not far from here. That way you could monitorhow well she was being taken care of and you could see her occasionally. Maybe you could evenbring her to the house for Christmas. But I can't stand the idea of having her live in my house.Remember it's MY house."

"I know that the small home might be a possibility. But it's not really bringing Sarahhome. It's trading a big institution for a small one."

"Well then we could even get her an apartment with someone to take care of her, like thatMary person."

"Edith, we have a big house and there's more than enough room for Sarah and Mary. Wehave the two rooms over the kitchen where they could live. It's like a separate apartment upthere. You wouldn't even have to see them unless you wanted to. We could have Mary stay withher all day, take her places, and eat with her and do whatever's necessary to keep her clean. Youcould still keep your life as it is. You could have your lady lunches every day and you couldcontinue your art collecting. Sarah wouldn't interfere with your life. But I just have this feeling ifSarah were here, you would change. You would start to feel that you were her mother.""Huh! I will never be the mother to that thing. Dream on."

"Please Edith. Let me do this. I need to do this."

"You'll never stop pestering me about this so let's try it for a short time to see if it works.But if it doesn't, I want her out - anyplace but here."

As usual, Edith gave in to Mark's wishes. That was the way their marriage was. But therewas another reason she agreed to Sarah's move out of Southern, and that was that she didn't likeMark being away from her for an entire day every three or four Sundays. He was away all day atwork from Monday through Friday and he often sailed or did something with his men friends onSaturday so they only had Sundays together. Their Sunday routine started with her going to theeight o'clock mass alone because Mark never went to church. In fact, he hadn't been in a churchsince their wedding. You couldn't count his serving meals to the homeless in a church basement

as going to church. At 9:30 after she got back from mass, they'd spend the day at their countryclub. They'd have a champagne brunch together, and if the weather was good, they'd golf orplay tennis, and if the weather was bad, they'd play cards. She loved the days of leisure whenthey were together at their elite country club with her kind of people. And they ended the day bygoing home and making love. She lived for these Sundays. She wished everyday were Sunday.So she didn't want him to be away any more Sundays so she agreed to have Sarah move into toHER home.

Edith agreed to Mark's plan as long as she didn't have to see Sarah. There was a backstaircase in the kitchen that Sarah and I used to get to our bedrooms. These rooms were designedfor live-in household help which the Warners didn't have. One bedroom was large and that wasfor Sarah, and the other, mine, was small, almost as small as my bedroom growing up inChicago. There was a bathroom between the two bedrooms so we didn't have to use a downstairsbathroom. It was perfect. We lived in the house like ghosts, never seen by Edith.After Dr. Warner got Edith to agree to taking us out of Southern, he talked to Dr. Phillipsabout what would be necessary to make this happen. This came about at the same time Dr.Phillips was making plans for the first movement of residents out of Southern as part of adeinstitutionalization plan that the state was implementing. He realized that Sarah and I wereideal candidates. He needed the first wave of deinstitutionalized residents to be successful so itwould be easier for others to follow. Sarah and I were certainly not representative of thedeinstitutionalized population. Sarah wasn't going into the community, but living with a familywith endless resources, and I wasn't retarded. So our success had nothing to do with any futuresuccess of people who were retarded who were going into the community without family supportand money. But that didn't matter. We would be successful, and that would provide evidencethat deinstitutionalization worked.

At his next visit, Dr. Warner indicated that he wanted to talk to me privately after he metwith Sarah. I immediately starting foreseeing bad things...he didn't want me to be involved inthe visits with Sarah anymore or he was taking Sarah home without me or he was blaming me forher rape. All kinds of crazy things raced through my mind, all bad. We sat on a bench in the halland Dr. Warner took my hands in his and said, "I'm going to take Sarah home. She'll be leavingSouthern."

My heart sank. I was going to lose my baby sister. I would be alone at Southern, exceptfor Judy. In the one second before he told me that I would be leaving Southern too, I wasovercome with overwhelming sadness, but then it totally disappeared when he said, "And I'd likeyou to come live with us. I don't think Sarah will be able to make it on the outside without you.We need you." I was on a roller coaster going from the depths of extreme sadness to the heightsof soaring happiness. I couldn't believe that my dreams were coming true. This man was anangel from God. He was my savior. To myself, I thanked God over and over and over. And thosemagical words: "We need you." Someone important needed me - Mary Reilly.My mind was racing with endless questions, but I asked the most important one first."When can we do this? Next week?"

He laughed. "I wish we could. It'll probably take some months for all the paper work."Little did he know it would take seven months, and it would have taken even longer if Walterhadn't handled the legal aspects of our release.

Dr. Warner wanted me to prepare Sarah for the move. Although she'd be living in a muchbetter place, she might not feel that way at first because it would be so different, so foreign, soalien. Dr. Warner asked about what he could do to make the move easier for Sarah. I told him totake lots of pictures: of the outside of the house, of every room in the house, especially her room,and of the household help. I also suggested that he get her a stuffed animal that she could bondwith at Southern, and then take to her new home.

At that point I realized that since I'd met Sarah she'd become more than my little sister.She was my lost baby. She was you. I really loved her and I knew that it would be as hard forme to be separated from her as it would be for her to be separated from me. But we didn't haveto be separated. We could be free together and bond in a new way.At his next visit Dr. Warner talked about my freedom.

"Mary, what can I do to help you make the transition to the outside world?""I don't know what I'll be doing."

"You'll to be a companion for Sarah, not a maid, but a friend and a caregiver. You'll helpher meet the many challenges of living in the outside world. You'll have a room to yourself nextto Sarah, but at first I think it might be better if you shared her room. I have twin beds for both ofyou in Sarah's room. I want to stress, Mary, that you are not going to be a servant."Of course, I didn't know that Edith didn't agree with him on this. Edith thought I waseveryone's servant and should be at everyone's beck and call. I didn't care if I was a servant. Itdidn't matter because I was going to be free.

"With time, we'll work out what you want to do. Have you given any thought to whatyou want to do with your life?"

"Yes, I want to go to school."

"I didn't expect that, but if that's what you want, we'll make that happen.""Dr. Warner, more than anything in the world I want to get my high school diploma.Then I want to go to college."

He looked at me with shock, not expecting that school would be my main goal. "I'll dowhatever I can to help you get your college diploma." At that moment in time, I had no doubtthat someday I would be a college graduate.

To prepare for our move out of Southern, I made a list of clothes we would need since wecouldn't wear the rags we wore at Southern. I wanted us to walk out of Southern wearing clothesthat wouldn't make us stand out as being different. I wanted us to look normal. I never imaginedthat we would look more than normal; we would look stylish. At the next visit, Dr. Warnerasked Dr. Phillips to get our measurements so that he could get us a new wardrobe. And ofcourse who was the best at measuring us for clothes but Judy. So Sarah and I went to the sewingshop where Judy took every possible measurement, including our feet, so that we could becompletely outfitted without trying anything on. Dr. Phillips was astounded that two of hisresidents would have complete new wardrobes. He never envisioned that for any of his residents,or even for his wife and three daughters.

Dr. Warner gave the list that I had put together to Edith, but she didn't want to beinvolved in any way with our leaving Southern so she gave the list to Mrs. Brown, theirhousekeeper. Mrs. Brown had a daughter, Michelle, who was in college and did all kinds of oddjobs for the Warners. She was given the job of buying our wardrobe. Dr. Warner gave her acredit card to charge everything. There was no mention of limiting the cost. Can you imaginethat - a blank check to buy anything? Michelle bought us sweaters, blouses, skirts, underwear,pajamas, robes, sock, shoes, and slippers. After our release from Southern, Michelle took usshopping to further add to our wardrobe. We became the best dressed deinstitutionalized womenin America. We could have been the cover girls on a magazine called Freedom featuringsuccessful deinstitutionalized women. I can't tell you how different I felt wearing nice clothes.During my first 13 years I wore the cheapest, junkiest clothes imaginable, and then during mytime at Southern I wore thread-bare old lady clothes. And now I was wearing fashionable clothesthat made me feel I belonged in the outside world. I could walk down any street in Chicago andpeople would either not look at me because I looked like everybody else, or they would admireme for having such nice clothes. They say that clothes make the man, or in this case the woman,and they're right.

I thought it would be easy to leave, but it wasn't. I didn't want to leave Judy. She was mybest friend and the person who had helped me survive at Southern. Without her, I would havedied or become a zombie. She begged me to help her get out of Southern so I talked to Dr.Warner about her. He then talked to Dr. Phillips who said that the normals were at the top of thelist to be deinstitutionalized, although this would cause a problem with their jobs. Who wouldhead up the sewing shop when Judy left? Who would be a helper in the ward for severelydisabled babies when I left? They needed us; we helped run the institution, but the high levelretarded residents were the real ones who ran the institution. They worked in the cafeteria andthe laundry, they cleaned the floors in every building, and they helped manage the residents withmore severe disabilities. There's a saying about the inmates running the asylum. Well, that wascertainly true in a literal way at Southern State School for the Feebleminded.I had a hard time covering up my nervousness about the move. I didn't want Sarah tosense my anxiety because that would scare her. Although I told her that we would be moving tothe pretty house in the pictures, she couldn't grasp what was about to happen. I couldn't grasp it.

I was going to live in a mansion and have my own room and nice clothes and go to school. Thiswas beyond my wildest dreams. When I dreamed of being free, I dreamed of living in anapartment like the one I lived in growing up with my mother. When I dreamed of being free, Idreamed of going to school, but it was like my elementary school. The only experiences I had tobase my dreams on were my experiences growing up in Chicago. I had no way ofconceptualizing the life I would lead.

The day before the move I packed my few possessions as well as Sarah's in a smallsuitcase that Dr. Warner had given me. I didn't pack any clothes except for the sweater that Judyhad knitted for me. I took my Bible, which by the way I still have. I've never gotten another one.This is the one that saved me. A new pretty one could not take the place of this raggedy, dirtyBible that has the words of God etched into it.

I looked at my collection of pins and knew that I wouldn't need them. I would never haveto protect myself or Sarah from violence again. We would be safe, or so I thought. Judy and Ispent my last evening at Southern together. I presented her with my collection of pins and toldher that I hoped she wouldn't have to use them. We cried a lot; we hugged a lot; we talked abouthow we had saved each other when we were both at low points in our lives. I had good news forher. Dr. Warner told me that she was scheduled to be released within the next six months. I gaveher the Warners' address and phone number and told her to write me with all the information onher release as soon as she got it. I told her that I would greet her as she had greeted me eightyears earlier. Thirteen months later, Mrs. Brown told me that I had a phone call. It was Judy. Allshe said was, "I'm free." I'll tell you about Judy's life later. She has been one lucky lady and hashad a loving marriage and two wonderful step-children. The only sad part of her life has been herson Carl.

I didn't sleep much the night before our release so when light came through the windowsat 6:30 A.M. I got out of bed, washed, and dressed in my new clothes. I couldn't stop looking atmy green sweater, green plaid skirt, white socks, and suede loafers. I felt like Cinderella wearingher new ball gown. I woke Sarah, helped her wash, and dressed her in her light blue sweater,dark blue pleated skirt, white socks, and leather loafers. We stood next to each other in thebathroom and looked at ourselves in the mirror. We didn't recognize these pretty, stylish girls.We giggled and hugged. I was giddy, an emotion I never before experienced.

We went to the cafeteria to have our last breakfast at Southern. Residents and workerscame to wish us good luck. We were famous because everyone knew that we were the first to bereleased from Southern. We were the pioneers that would pave the way for others to leave. Onthat day, no one could possibly foresee that in 30 years Southern would be closed. It wouldbecome a haunted house, filled with ghosts of the poor souls who died there and the poor soulswho led wasted, tragic lives there.

Judy was spending the morning with us so she could be with us until our very last minuteat Southern. After breakfast we went to the day room to wait for the call that the Dr. Warner hadarrived. I was talking to Judy and saw that she was staring at something behind me. I turned andsaw Dr. Warner, Walter, and Dr. Phillips standing in the doorway. Dr. Warner had never visitedthe ward. I don't think it was allowed, but he insisted that he wanted to see where we'd lived. Wetook him to the ward and showed him our beds and the bathroom. Dr. Warner walked the lengthof the ward staring at the beds and the lives they contained. He asked me if this was thebathroom where Sarah had been raped. He was relieved to find out that it wasn't. Then he left soSarah and I could use the bathroom before the long drive home. That was the last time I went toa bathroom where everyone could see me, where I was on public display.We said goodbye to the attendants and then I hugged Judy tightly. It was hard to separatefrom her. We had been together every single day since I was transferred from the hospital to myward. Every single day for eight years. We had shared every emotion imaginable, from thehappiness of her having her first sexual experience to the devastation when she was rejected byClarence. I wanted to take her with me. I loved her so much. We walked to the front door. Icarried the small suitcase with all our belongings that were the only mementos of our lives atSouthern. As we went out the front door, I felt like God was waiting for me. I felt like there wasa shining light from heaven ushering me into the land of freedom. I felt like one of the Jewsleaving Egypt for the promised land. This was my exodus. There was a long flight of stepsleading to the road where Mr. Warner's car was parked. In the eight years I had lived atSouthern, I had never gone out this door and I had never walked down these stairs. This was likemy grand entrance into the real world.

We got in Dr. Warner's big white Cadillac. Walter and Dr. Warner sat in the front andSarah and I in the back. When I had taken the train from Chicago to Southern eight years earlier,

I hadn't look out the window. But now on the ride back to Chicago, I looked at everything - themillions of cows, the trillions of acres of corn, the small towns, the many bumpy railroadcrossings, and finally the suburbs of Chicago. The buildings looked taller than I rememberedthem. They had grown up like I had.

We drove to Evanston, the suburb just north of Chicago where Northwestern Universityis. We passed the stately university with its impressive buildings. Then we drove through streetswith huge houses and manicured lawns. We pulled into a driveway next to a stately brick housethat had three floors. Before we got out of the car, I showed Sarah pictures of the outside of thehouse and compared the pictures to the actual house. We got out and walked to the front door.As soon as we got there, the door was opened by Mrs. Brown who warmly greeted us."Welcome." She was a stout black woman with a huge smile which showed her perfect whiteteeth. She was decked out in a maid's uniform, a black dress with a white small lacey apron. Butwhat was most endearing about her was her throaty laugh which was contagious. You justwanted to laugh when you heard her. From the first moment I met Mrs. Brown, I sensed that shewas motherly and accepting, and she certainly proved to be so over the five years we livedtogether. She was always there to help us and comfort us. She turned out to be more of a motherto Sarah than Edith who was totally absent from her life. I asked where Mrs. Warner was, but noone answered my question. No one wanted to tell us that she didn't want us in her home, butonly agreed because she had to if she wanted to keep her husband.Dr. Warner took us on a tour of the parts of the house we would be allowed in. First, hetook us to the downstairs guest bathroom since it had been a long ride from Seymour and we hadonly stopped one. It had silvery wallpaper and a marble sink with gold faucets. I didn't knowsuch fancy bathrooms existed. Up to this point in my life, this was the fanciest room I'd everbeen in, and it was a bathroom. That was the only time we were allowed to use that bathroom.For the next five years we could only use our bathroom upstairs. When we were finished, wewent to the kitchen for a snack. We sat at a huge wooden table and were served lemonade andcookies by Mrs. Brown. I had never had lemonade before. I didn't really like it, but it didn'tmatter. It was something new and different. I knew I'd have lots of new and differentexperiences, and I eagerly awaited all of them with open arms.

Next Dr. Warner took us on a tour of the downstairs of the house. It was like a museum,especially with all these huge pictures on the walls. Some of the pictures were taller than I was. Ishowed Sarah the photos of the rooms that I had previously shown her so that she'd be familiarwith her new home. Now we were in the place where these pictures were taken. We entered theliving room with paintings of Edith's ancestors on the walls. There were three groupings ofcouches and chairs and there was a grand piano by the front windows. On each end of the room,there was a giant fireplace. They were so big, I could have walked right in them without bendingover. This room could fit 100 people in it and no one would feel crowded. Next we went into thelibrary where Dr. Warner did his work at home. The walls were covered with bookshelvescontaining thousands of books. It was almost as big as the public library I would eventually goto. I decided then and there to read as many of these books as I could. Of course, I never reallyread more than a few. We went into the dining room which had a table with 16 chairs and ashimmering crystal chandelier. Finally, we went back into the kitchen where I looked at thecenter island with pots and pans hanging over it. Imagine pots and pans hanging in the air.We never went up the main staircase to see the second floor where the bedrooms were orthe third floor where there was a huge game room and more bedrooms. This was Edith's house,and we were never welcomed to live any place other than the rooms over the garage. I was nevertempted to go up to the second and third floors even when Edith was away for weeks at a time inEurope or at her summer house. Even though I knew I wouldn't be found out, I couldn't breakthe rule that had been set down. I knew my place both figuratively and literally.Dr. Warner took us to Sarah's room and I matched the photo to the actual room as Ipointed to her bed, her dresser, her armchair, and her bathroom. I told her to lie down in her bedand I laid down in the twin bed next to it and pretended to snore. She hugged her doll and snoredtoo. What a happy moment! I think she knew she was home. This was the place she was meantto be.

Then we went to my room. I had a room when I was growing up, but it was like a filthypig sty. This room was the total opposite - it glistened. There was a bed with a bright floweredbedspread, lace curtains on the windows, a narrow tall dresser for my clothes, and a small desk, aplace where I knew I would spend a lot of time reading and writing. I went into the door leadingto the bathroom that I would share with Sarah. This was a sparkling clean bathroom that I would

share with just one other person. How unbelievable! And there were separate doors going toSarah's bedroom and to mine. I could have total privacy. A private, clean bathroom - one of myfondest dreams realized.

That night I lay in bed unable to sleep because I couldn't believe what was happening tome. I had never dreamed that houses like this existed so I never dreamed that I could live in one.When I finally fell asleep, I slept more soundly than any night in my life. I was now a freewoman with no fears.

It took about a week for us to get used to the house. Mrs. Brown took me to the basementto show me how to use the washer and dryer so I could wash our clothes. This was not a dirty,dark basement like I had to use before when I lived with my mother. This was a bright, shinybasement that could have been someone's apartment it was so nicely furnished. She showed mewhich clothes had to be dry cleaned and told me to give them to her when they needed to be sentout. I didn't know that some clothes had to be dry cleaned. I thought everything could bewashed. She introduced us to Hilda who was the maid who would be cleaning our rooms everyfew days. Hilda was what you call nondescript. I couldn't tell if she was 30 or 50. She wasaverage height and weight, had drab brown hair, and wore no makeup. She was foreign. I thinkshe might have been Swedish or Norwegian. She rarely spoke, but I'm not sure if that wasbecause she didn't know English well or because she was a silent person. Although she cleanedour rooms and the bathroom, we were responsible for making our beds every morning. At first Imade both mine and Sarah's, but after many weeks of teaching Sarah how to make her bed, shemastered it. It took her three times longer for her to make it and it was always lopsided, but shemade her bed herself. That was the important thing.

Sarah and I had to use the back door in the kitchen to go in and out of the house. Thatway we wouldn't be seen by the neighbors or risk being seen by Edith. There was a huge fencedyard with a door in the back fence that took us out to an alley, and from there, it was just a fewfeet to the street. How I hated going into that alley. It reminded me of what I was forced to do inan alley years ago. Even though this was a clean, well-lit alley, it was still an alley. When Edithwas away on one of her many trips, Mrs. Brown let us use the front door. She knew I hated thatalley, and she also knew what it meant to have to go through the back door.

The yard had gardens, bird feeders, a fountain, and even a gazebo. In the spring andsummer, we loved sitting in the gazebo admiring the flowers that sprang up almost every day.There were no flowers in my neighborhood in Chicago, and there were no flowers at Southern.So to me, flowers were an exotic rarity.

I bought a big rubber ball so Sarah and I could play catch. At first I had to stand just afew inches away from Sarah for her to get the ball, but gradually she was able to catch it from afew feet away. Sometimes I would see Edith spying on us from a second floor window. Icouldn't see her face, but I saw the drapes move apart slightly. She probably heard us laughingand talking loudly. There wasn't usually much noise, if any, in the Warner house. What was shethinking when she saw her retarded daughter and her caregiver having fun? Was she happy forus? I don't think so. Was she angry that we were spoiling the beauty of her gardens with ourpresence? Probably. Was she angry that we were polluting the silence of her house? Probably.It didn't take us long to settle into a routine. Dr. Warner ate early and left for theuniversity at 7:30 so he wasn't at breakfast when we came down at about 8:00. Edith didn't eatbreakfast so we never saw her. Maybe that was why she was so thin. Mrs. Brown made usbreakfast. Whatever we wanted - cereal, pancakes, eggs. It was like being in a restaurant only Ididn't have to pay. Dr. Warner left the morning Tribune on the table. That's how I got into thehabit of reading the daily newspaper. Remember at Southern I read whatever I could find, butthere wasn't much available. Now there was a paper awaiting me every morning. And that wasthe beginning of my interest in the news. Up until then, I didn't know what had happened in theworld. I missed the space race, the civil rights movement, and the assassinations of JohnKennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy. I had never heard of these people or JohnGlenn or Rosa Parks. I was totally ignorant of the world. It was like I hatched from an egg onmy day of liberation and I had to catch up with what had happened in the world while I wasinside the shell of my apartment in Chicago and Southern State.

After the first week at the Warners, Edith surprised us and joined us at breakfast,although she didn't eat anything. She talked to me and ignored Sarah, not even saying hello orgood morning. She told me that Michelle would take us places when we had to go out. Shealways wanted to know where we were going and with whom. She told me that Michelle wouldtake us shopping to get more clothes or anything that we needed. I asked if we could go out alone

once I learned the neighborhood. She thought for a minute and then said yes, but reminded methat I was to use only the back door and I was always to tell Mrs. Brown where we were going.She spoke at me, not to me, for about five minutes and then disappeared. I rarely saw her afterthat. When I had to communicate anything to her, I left a note for her on the front hall table. Ifshe had something to say to me, she'd tell Mrs. Brown.

At first, we filled our days by exploring the neighborhood with Michelle. But as I learnedthe neighborhood, Michelle stopped coming because she was busy with school and didn't wantto waste her time walking around with us even if she got paid for it. Michelle was relieved not tohave to escort us on our outings, especially since I liked going out everyday even if it wasraining or snowing. I don't think she particularly liked either Sarah or me. She never talked to usor even looked at us when we were together. I've wondered if she was afraid of us, afraid of whowe were, a retarded person and a low class white person. I think the only person she liked washer mother. And she truly loved her. She was always hugging her and holding her hand. Shewas a different person when she was in her mother's presence. She acted distant and evenfearful of Dr. Warner, and I never saw her with Edith, but I'm sure she acted the same way withher.

I realized after a while that we needed more clothes especially as the weather got colder.So I told Mrs. Brown who told Mrs. Warner who told Mrs. Brown to tell Michelle to take usshopping. What a communication system. Michelle took us to Marshall Field's, the fanciestdepartment store chain in the Chicago area. We took a taxicab to Field's in the Old OrchardShopping Center. I had never seen a shopping center before and was astounded at all the stores inone place. Can you imagine me in a taxicab? I felt like I was in Cinderella's carriage. As Iwalked into Field's I was hit by the smell in the cosmetics department. I loved it. I felt like I wasbeing wrapped in something luxurious. I wanted to stand there and inhale the delicious smellsforever. As I looked up at the ornate ceilings and looked down at the marble floor and sidewaysat the cases filled with goods, I felt like I was in a fairy land. What a gorgeous store! I think it'sthe most beautiful store I've ever been in and seeing it for the first time was magical. Anothermagical thing was that I didn't have to consider price. I just picked out what I liked and Michellecharged it. That was so different from when I shopped with Mrs. Milano. And it's so differentfrom how I shop now. I'm always looking at prices, and I only buy what's on sale.

I loved being able to go out whenever I wanted to. That was another aspect of truefreedom. In the neighborhood, I found a few stores that I liked, but the public library was myvery favorite. Here was a place with thousands of books, and they were all free. On our first visitthere with Michelle, I got my library card - another symbol of freedom. Whenever we went tothe library, we'd start in the children's section and I'd get a few books that Sarah liked. Thenwe'd go to the fiction section where I was overwhelmed by the choices. I wanted to check outten books at a time, but I learned to ration myself to two books a week. Once I started my GEDtraining and school, I had to drop down to just one book a week because I found that I didn'thave time for much recreational reading.

One morning after two weeks in the house, Dr. Warner joined us for breakfast. He toldme that he was going to pay me a salary for being Sarah's companion. He was going to pay me$50 a week, and I wouldn't have to pay for food or rent. He said that if I needed money foranything special to just let him know. I had no conception of money and the costs of things. Tome, $50 was like $1,000. He had Michelle take me to the bank to open a savings account so Icould save my salary. That was a much safer way of keeping my money than putting it in ateapot in the kitchen cupboard as I had done many years before. I felt that Michelle resented megetting paid so much for just "baby sitting," but of course we never discussed this.Dr. Warner said that he wanted to meet with me once a week to discuss Sarah's progress.This was how our friendship began. Every Sunday morning at 8 A.M. when Edith went to mass,we met until she came home. As soon as we heard the front door close, Sarah and I hurried backto our rooms. We talked in the library, a room filled with books, a place where I felt comfortable.Mrs. Brown served coffee for me and Dr. Warner and milk for Sarah. She put out a plate ofsweet rolls. Sarah usually had one of each kind - cheese, raspberry, and apricot. Dr. Warner wassure to keep the door open and have Sarah present whenever we met. I think he was concernedthat Edith might think he was having a relationship with me. She certainly would have beensuspicious if she'd known I was a child prostitute. Had she found out about this, I'm sure shewould have thrown me out of her house.

First we talked about Sarah: what we did over the week, Sarah's behavior, and anythingnew thing Sarah learned. I tried to teach Sarah the letters of the alphabet, and every Sunday sheshowed off how she was able to read the letter we worked on that week. She was so proud as I

held up the letter S and she said in a loud voice ESSSSSS. She never did master all 26 letters, butI think she got about 10 or 15. S was her favorite letter because it was in her name which I triedto teach her to read - unsuccessfully. I taught her to point to pictures corresponding to names ofdifferent animals - dog, cat, snake, bug, and elephant. I tried to teach her colors, but she neverwas able to learn them. She confused the color name with the name of the object. For example,when I said red as I pointed to an apple, she'd say apple. Color was too abstract a concept forher. I think sadly of all she might have been able to learn if someone had taught her when shewas ripe for learning, when she was a young child.

And then we talked about me: my progress in school and any problems I was facing.Gradually, Dr. Warner started asking me about my past and that is when he helped me tounderstand all that I had gone through, and how to cope with its affects on my present and myfuture. During the third year I was at the Warners, we started to talk about good and evil, God,doing the right thing even if it caused problems, the meaning of life, and every idea that poppedinto my mind. Then I talked about my dreams for going to school and getting a college educationand getting a job where I could make a difference in the world. That's when Dr. Warner talkedabout not having dreams anymore. He wondered if he had achieved everything he wanted, and ifso, why wasn't he happy. He talked about not being the man he wanted to be. It was not enoughfor him to be a good teacher or have an interesting life or be a good sailor or hopefully be a goodfather. He wanted more of himself, but he didn't know what. He did know he wanted to alwaysdo the right thing. And he was proud of himself for having taken Sarah and me out of Southern.But there was still something lacking, only he didn't know what it was. I found it astoundingthat here was a man with everything and he wasn't happy. I also found it sad that he no longerhad dreams. Everyone needs dreams; even a 100 year old who's about to die. They need todream of heaven.

Dr. Warner never talked about Edith, but she was always an invisible presence in theroom. I sensed that he no longer loved her, but that he was trapped in a loveless marriage, andthat was why he was unhappy. He couldn't leave her, or really he couldn't leave her money.Sometimes I got the impression that when Dr. Warner talked about himself, he was talking tohimself. It was as if I wasn't there. He didn't expect me to say anything and when I did, he actedlike he was surprised to find me in the room. I realized that he had no one to talk to about himself

- his dreams or loss of dreams. He couldn't talk to Edith or to Walter and he didn't seem to haveany close friends that I knew of. I never felt that I understood Dr. Warner fully. He was socomplex. He had so many facets. Obviously, I had never met anyone as smart or as charming oras handsome or as unfulfilled. After all these years, I still don't fully understand him.Even though we were together only an hour, I missed those Sunday morningconversations when Dr. Warner went away, and that was frequently. For most of the summer, heand Edith were either at their summer home in Michigan or traveling in Europe. Sometimes theywere gone for six or seven weeks. And of course, they never took Sarah. At first I thought thatDr. Warner might take her to their summer house, but he never mentioned it.Now describing my feelings for Dr. Warner is hard because I don't know what they are,even after all these year. You probably noticed that I don't call him by his first name. I can't. Irespect him too much. To me, Dr. Warner is god-like. Here was a man who had everything -wealth, success - and yet he had to atone for a mistake he'd made. No, to him it was more than amistake. It was a sin. He believed in sin, even though he wasn't sure he believed in God. I neverquite understood that. Can you have one without the other? His sin was abandoning his flesh andblood. It was his fault that she was violated in the worst possible way. He felt that he had toatone for his sin and do everything possible to give Sarah a good life, a safe life. And I was partof the way to give her such a life. I had been her protector and the only person to love her upuntil he found her. He needed me for Sarah. As I think back to his relationship with Sarah, I seethat there was something missing. Maybe he, too, couldn't accept a person who was retarded. Hevalued learning more than anything in the world and it was hard for him to accept a person whowas the opposite of a scholar, a person who had limited potential to learn. Dr. Warner was not abeliever in God although he was a moral man. He couldn't put retardation into the bigger pictureof God's plan like I did. But in the last analysis, I'm not sure he ever really loved Sarah. Hedidn't reject her like Edith, but there was no love in his heart for her. And maybe that wasanother reason for his unhappiness - he couldn't love his daughter especially because of theterrible things that happened to her because of him. He thought that he would atone for his sin bytaking Sarah out of Southern, but that wasn't enough. He felt he continued to sin by not reallyloving his child.

And then there was the relationship between Dr. Warner and Edith. I never understood it.I didn't like Dr. Warner as much when I considered his relationship with Edith. He didn't makea secret of the fact that he used Edith for her money and social connections. He knew she neededhim because of what he represented - brilliance, good looks, and charm. But I was to find outthat there was more to their relationship. I didn't want to find out about their intimate lives, but Idid inadvertently or maybe because they didn't care if I knew or maybe they wanted me to know.One night about six months after I went to live with the Warners, I heard noises coming from thekitchen. My room was directly above it so I could hear clearly in the quiet house. Mrs. Brownleft at 8:00 PM after she cleaned up from dinner so she was gone. The noises scared me so I wentto the top of the stairs and peeked down. I won't go into detail, but Dr. Warner and Edith wereplaying sex games. Dr. Warner was naked and laid out flat on the long kitchen table as Edithcoated him with whipped cream and then licked and sucked it off. He was in ecstasy and makingloud noises, noises that I was quite familiar with from my past. I looked at his erect penis withhorror. Edith looked up at me and smiled as she took a long suck. I rushed back to my room notwanting to know what was going on. I could still hear them so I went into Sarah's room andburied my head under a pillow. I couldn't sleep that night. There were quite a few other nightslike this, and when I heard the familiar noises, I immediately went to Sarah's room where it washarder to hear. Edith wanted me to know about her sexual hold on Dr. Warner. She was tellingme that he was hers and hers alone. I'll never know if Dr. Warner knew that I saw them, but hemust have realized that I heard them especially when they were in the kitchen. They didn't onlyuse the kitchen, they used other rooms for their sexual adventures. Once I was in the librarylooking at Dr. Warner's books when I saw a pair of frilly black underpants on his desk.Obviously, he did more than read and write at his desk. I think maybe what they got out of theirsexual relationship made up for the problems that resulted once Sarah and I came into the house.I wondered why the Warners didn't have live-in help and I even asked Mrs. Brown aboutthis once. She just gave me this strange smile and said they liked their privacy at night. I'm surewhen she found the whipped cream in the kitchen and the panties in the library she figured outwhy they wanted their privacy.

Now Edith was a complicated story. She hadn't wanted Dr. Warner to take Sarah out ofSouthern so she adjusted the best way she knew how and that was by avoiding us. If she didn't

see us, we didn't exist. The few times we were together, she totally ignored Sarah, and treatedme like a servant. I was an uneducated, poor, former prostitute so to me it was understandablethat she would treat me like an inferior, a very lowly inferior. You have to understand that topeople of Edith's social standing, people were either equals or subordinates. I was certainly asubordinate - I was as low as one could go.

It was hard to believe that we lived in the same house. Months would go by before we'dsee her. It didn't bother Sarah because she didn't really know who Edith was. She didn't evenknow that Edith lived in the same house as we did. She did know that Dr. Warner was herfather, or maybe just a nice man. She was affectionate whenever she saw him. She'd hug himaround his waist and giggle. Now that I think of it, Dr. Warner responded to her affection like hewould if a dog licked his face. He had this facial expression that said, isn't that cute, but that'senough, stop it. And in all the time I lived with Dr. Warner, he never touched me, not even a paton the shoulder. Maybe because of my past, he thought that I'd misinterpret any physical contact.So that was my life of freedom and although it wasn't complete freedom, it was the firstbig step toward a life of independence and happiness and fulfillment.