I am not sure how long I spent in the E&O unit. I know I got there some time close to Halloween and spent all the Holidays there without any visits from my parents. Our days were all the same. We woke up and did 15 minutes or so of morning exercises at 5 am, in our pajamas, witch were those gowns with no ass…. Then we would have 5 minutes or so to make our beds in perfect army corners, or whatever you call it. I do not remember getting dressed, but it happened. We had a bathroom with cameras in it. We were allowed in the bathroom for 5 minutes at a time. Even for showers. If you went over, you got into trouble. We were always watched.
We would go into a dinning room with another group of girls and eat our meals. We could not talk to girls in other groups. It was called group mixing and you got in trouble if you did that. No one wanted to get into trouble, they take what little privileges you have away, like your right to leave your room, or your right to wear clothing…..
After we ate each morning we would follow a daily schedule. Each day included, but was not limited to, an hour of letter writing, an hour of group games, an hour of one on ones (just alone time with other group members) an hour of aerobics, an hour of counselling from a doctor, an hour outside in the 10 foot by 10 foot court yard we had, lunch and dinner, shower time, and many hours of group therapy, and many hours of day dreaming. School did not exists. We took turns each week writing the schedule and that was our school. There were 2 E&O groups for girls at that time. We were all aloud to write to our parents and that was about it. All our mail was illegally read by someone. We kept the place hospital clean at all times, no one ever cleaned up after us. I am not sure what our parents thought was going on, but I am sure they thought it was something totally different. They were told not to believe anything negative I said and to believe anything positive. Our parents attended group therapy with other parents…..They were very well brain washed.
The staff was ok. I listened to them like they knew something. I know now they knew nothing. They were young and dumb, just not as young and dumb as I was. I never witnessed any abuse in the E&O. There was no work yet. I picked out one of the staff members to kiss up to. She was into sports and acted like a boy, and was the easiest one to talk to. She had a few other girls who she seemed close to. I would write her letters instead of writing to my parents. This helped me get out of the E&O faster. The staff would all vote on everything, like if you got to move on, or not. I think I became closer to her than I wanted, I missed her later. I wanted to take her to the outside campus with me.
Sometime in the spring I was approved to move to the outside campus. This is when they would tell us what group we would go into. Each group on the outside had different living conditions. Some lived in Tee-pees. some in cabins, some in tool sheds, some in tents. Every group had a campsite with one outhouse that they dug and built themselves. Girls were always excited to find out what group they would be in, and who they would be with from their E&O stay. Once we moved to that new group, we could no longer look at or talk to the other girls we had been in group with before. It was painful. For months and months, you eat sleep and breath these girls into your life, only to lose them in the end. Lucky me! I was going to a campsite with cabins, and no group members yet..I had to go and start a new group. This place sucked, it had to be better than this place!!!
They take you out gradually. I Would go and visit the out side for a day and then come back and talk about it in group. During those days, I was with a group leader on my new campsite, cleaning it up! The cabins had been unused for a long time and everything was covered in cob webs. I think most girls would be getting to know their new group members during this time, but I had none. One day I did get to meet another girl for a moment. She was going to be moved from her group to mine on the day I moved out permanent. After a week or two of that, I moved out there for real. No electricity, no running water. OMG!
I know I never felt worse that the time I spent in the E&O. I am sure I was depressed from the whole experience, confused about my parents love for me, teenagers have enough problems…..This place was making me crazy. If I compare my time spent at Anneewakee to the time I spent in jail, I enjoyed jail more. I missed my parents, music, boys, the sunshine, good food, good anything.
I remember ALL the staff from E&O, their names, faces, and the sounds of their voices.
Here is a picture of the E&O today, We were in the middle of the administrative offices, some stayed here for up to a year. Because it was in the Admin Building, they played elevator music/Peach, 10 hours a day…The Christmas Music starting in November was torture!