Looking At One’s Options (or Philadelphia Freedom)

Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn,
Apple seed and apple thorn;
Wire, briar, limber lock,
Three geese in a flock.
One flew east,
And one flew west,
And one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.
~Vintery, Mintery, Cutery, Corn

The above nursery rhyme of Mother Goose’s may have began as a counting game of sorts.

I’m not sure of the song, but my commentary is on an old chant from back in the early to mid 1940’s in central Kentucky around Frankfort. It was used to choose game participants, decide who was “it” in several games, or otherwise serve the function of selection by elimination.

All the players would stand in a circle with one or both fists extended toward the inside of the circle, one of the older players would stand in the middle of the circle and begin the chant, counting one fist with each accented syllable, starting with himself.

Wire briar, limber lock (4 counted)
Three Geese in a Flock (4 counted)
one flew east and one flew west (4 counted)
One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (4 counted)
O-U-T, and out goes he (7 counted)
Out into the deep blue sea (7 counted)

The last counted was out. Then it would start over with the rest, until it was down to one. It is interesting to note that this was a 30-count elimination round.
~from What children’s song is also known as William Trimmytoes?

Interesting when you consider that many of us consider the mental hospital experience a way of discounting people.

With certain parties in New York state, despite resistance, trying to make Kendra’s Law a permanent fixture of state legislature, isn’t it great to realize there are other places?

Outpatient commitment laws are state matters, and there is no federal law mandating the matter. It’s always good to remember that if the court outpatient commits a person, that person can always flee to another state, and law enforcement can’t do squat.

I’m not so sure that this was so much the case 94 years ago.

1916: An insane woman flees N.Y. hospital to Pa.


April 11, 2010 94 years ago this week:
April 11 to 17, 1916

Tuesday, April 11

In Conklin, N.Y., Clara Scouter, who had escaped from the Binghamton State Hospital in New York for the insane, flagged down a Lackawanna passenger train bound for East Stroudsburg by waving a red petticoat.

She told conductor John Renchler that she had been mistreated by her husband, who had tried to kill her in the nearby swamps.

Renchler helped her aboard the train and the kind passenger cared for her and paid her fare.

After arriving in East Stroudsburg, the woman was taken to police headquarters where she made it clear that she did not wish to go back to the “New York state trash,” because she belonged in Pennsylvania.

Later, it was learned that she was originally from Conklin.

Some men just can’t resist the appeal of a red petticoat.

The husband bit, allowing for a little exaggeration, isn’t entirely outside of the realm of possibility, and then some hospital in New York might look an awful lot like homicidal husband anyway.

I will give her that much.

If, rather than outpatient committed, you had been commited to a state hospital, following a hearing, and you, like Clara, had managed to escape, your situation would be a little more precarious. In that case, we have a saying, “Follow the old north star. It leads to Canada and freedom.”

On the upside, there have been instances where people have successfully flown the looney bin. Keep that in mind.

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