Kirkbride Buildings Blog

October 15th, 2009

Points North: Traverse City State Hospital

Traverse City State Hospital
Points North, a show on Interlochen Public Radio in Michigan, recently produced a program about Traverse City State Hospital: listen here. The program is 50+ minutes and full of personal history told by hospital employees and patients of the hospital. In the beginning you even get to listen in as former employees tour the Kirkbride building and tell stories of their experiences—the mundane and unusual, the humorous and sad.

What’s particularly fascinating is the contrast between the patients’ feelings and the those of the employees. The former almost exclusively express a fondness for the hospital, while the patients interviewed express good and bad feelings about the hospital.

The end of the program is about Heidi Johnson and her connection to the hospital. It tells a sad side of her story that I personally hadn’t heard before and was surprised to learn.

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  1. Rick November 2, 2009, 11:09 pm

    Hardly a day passes that I don’t think of Heidi. Sadly, I know that the days will come when the memories will fade.

    Heidi gave and felt so much and so deeply. I often hope and think that she would be here today If only someone, anyone could have broken through the dark curtain of her depression to help her see how beautiful she was and how deeply people cared for her.

    She enjoyed the soundtrack music from the film “The Red Violin”. It’s beautiful and evocative of the depth of Heidi’s feelings and emotions. I listen to it often. But I’d like to think that the lyrics from Lucinda Williams song “Lonely Girls” would express what she felt when she was blue.

    She once comforted me by saying that I would always have people around and that I would never die alone. I wish that someone would have told her what she told me and proved that her words could be true for herself as well me.

    As Gretchen sometimes told you, ride the wave Heidi.

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