A life in institutions

As a child, I found a small, brown suitcase in my wardrobe. It had two silver latches and a squeaky wooden handle. I didn’t recognise the name inscribed on the bottom in pencil: Ada. 

I asked my mother, “Whose suitcase is this?”. Mum replied, “Your grandmother’s”. 

I was confused about who my grandmother was. Born in the early ’60s, I grew up with my parents and two older brothers in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Dad had grown up without his mother and was cared for by his paternal grandmother.

It was around the time of my birth when Dad accidentally discovered the secret of his mother’s whereabouts. Ada was living in a mental institution.

Alison’s grandmother was a patient at Mayday Hills Mental Hospital, Beechworth, during the 50s and 60s. Read the full story published in The Conversation, Sept 2023.

Written by Dr Alison Watts, Adjunct Lecturer at Southern Cross University. See Alison’s full bio here

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap