Going Home, Part 5: Dear Miss Linden

Jason Carpenter
Aug 14, 2017 · 3 min read

March 13, 1951

Dear Miss Linden,

Mr. Green, Phillip’s stepfather called wanting to know whether or not Phillip had been placed. When I verified this, Mr. Green said that his wife was wondering because Phillip hadn’t called. I explained that I had told Phillip to settle down a little while and wait until he had heard from me before calling his mom. I then told Mr. Green that I would visit the boy on Friday. Mr. Green said that Mrs. Green was interested in having Phillip stay over the weekend and I explained that I would talk with the foster father and mother, and thought this could be arranged.

Mr Green then stated that he was very glad that this had all happened and that his wife was much happier about it all. He said that she had been extremely upset after my first visit and had shouted to him hysterically that it could only be bad, it wouldn’t work out all right. It was better left alone, but she had told him several times since then how wrong she was, how glad she was to see Phillip and how happy she was at the way he acted. I informed Mr. Green that I, too, had been pleased with the entire situation and complimented him on his part in the thing. Mr. Green then asked if I would call on Friday and let them know if Phillip could visit for the weekend.

Phillip Alberi was born in 1934. At age five he was committed to the custody of the State Home and School and was placed in a foster home directly in 1939.

Though he started school and adjusted very well in the foster home at first, Phillip began to be a problem because he was not getting along in public school. He was reported to have a speech defect, was restless and very active, and was found to be quite destructive. Finally, the foster mother gave up Phillip in 1942 because of her poor health.

He was not a problem in the second foster home, but it was noticed that he was dull mentally and that he appeared to be very lonesome and would not play with other children in the neighborhood. He did not make any progress in school and was considered retarded. In 1944 Phillip’s second foster mother insisted that he be removed from her home as he seemed to be very sullen and was not making a good adjustment.

Phillip was ten years old when he went to live at the State Home and School were he was placed in the cottage for pre-adolescent boys. There he appeared to be very slow mentally, would not mix with other children and seemed afraid of them. Reportedly, at one time when a police officer was walking through the grounds, Phillip, on seeing the officer, began to yell and scream as though be was in extreme distress. When questioned as to his behavior he pointed out that he was afraid the policeman was coming to get him. This same behavior occurred when other visitors have appeared in the cottage, where Phillip got into a great deal of mischief and was very easily lead by other boys, being victimized and forced into affairs by the older ones in the cottage group.

Examined by Dr. Bernhardt, Consulting State Psychiatrist, in 1946 he was given a second Psychometric examination at which time he was found to be intellectually retarded. In view of these facts, the Doctor felt that Phillip would benefit from long time institutional training, and so was admitted to Exeter School where he remained thereafter for six years.

On March 9, 1951, Phillip was placed by the Children’s Division from Exeter School to the home of Mr. Andre Pasco.

Fran, enclosed is the dictation which you requested. I hope it is of some value to you. This has been an extremely interesting case to work on, and I want to extend my gratitude to you and your Department for the cooperation which I received.

As long as we can help kids this much, I guess we might as well stay in the field.

As ever,

Henry Hartford, Social Worker

Phillip remained at the Pasco farm for the next sixteen years, and was discharged from the Ladd School at the age of 35.

The Asylum Antiquarian

A collection of curious discourses on Southern New England’s feeble-minded schools, insane asylums, sanitoria and cemeteries.

Jason Carpenter

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author, historian

The Asylum Antiquarian

A collection of curious discourses on Southern New England’s feeble-minded schools, insane asylums, sanitoria and cemeteries.