Monday, November 28, 2016

Victor Cleveland Has No Place Else to Go

Detroit Free Press, September 9, 1957 (enlarge)
Do you know Victor Cleveland? You do now.

In 1946 Victor Cleveland came to Eloise financially depleted, broken in body and homeless. Osteomyelitis took his vitality and Eloise helped assuage that ache. For several years he worked in the library mending books and at the time of the article in 1957 he held an "executive" position at the facility distributing newspapers to the charges.

His limited mobility, however, didn't prevent him from an active lifestyle. Besides his work at Eloise he shuffled off to church and for outside visits with one of his children and grandchildren whenever possible. A sober man he seemed relegated to an otherwise solitary loneliness among the rabble of derelicts, drunks and madmen filling the institution save for a few like-minded souls.

A perusal shows that he died in July of 1966 at the age of 65.

Aside from Mr. Cleveland there were some interesting glimpses into institution living. The most intriguing was the "Smoker." A room comprised of hundreds of feet of closely lined green benches. There the hoards congregated to watch television, converse, babble, zone-out and smoke themselves into a haze of tobacco vaporized pollutants. The only saving grace in the mayhem was the fact that publicly donated television sets allowed for every channel to be broadcast where heated battles over the programs were the previous norm.

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