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1960's Woman

Excerpted from the play Retail Therapy, by Kathy Coudle-King Voiced by Kate Preszler

This took place in the nineteen sixties. We lived out on a farm in central North Dakota. No neighbors for miles. My father was on the road a lot for his job. Sold – gee, I don’t remember what he sold! Ha! Just that he was gone. My brother had already moved out and on with his life, and I had just begun living in town so I could go to college. City people have no idea how lonely it can be to live out in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors in sight. They have no idea what that kind of isolation can do to a person. In all that emptiness and quiet, my mother began to think people were spying on her and listening on the telephone line. She didn’t drive and so she was kind of a prisoner until my father returned. One day, she just couldn’t take it anymore. She ran off – in search of other people, I suppose -- and she got lost. My father returned and couldn’t find her. A search party was launched. All the neighbors, the ones she never saw, came out to look. She was eventually found and taken to Jamestown. She was released after a month or so, presumed “cured.” After that, I think she just hid her mental illness well. She never wanted to talk about it, so we never did.

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