Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mrs. Reddick Had Step-Children Institutionalized to Prevent Them from Reuniting with Natural Mother - 1928


FULL TEXT: A movie once a week, a dance once a month, sixteen years of exile in an orphan asylum for the insane vanished to-day as Eleanor Reddick, 22-year-old girl of mystery, stepped from a Santa Fe train here.

With her mother, who located her in the asylum at Las Vegas, New Mexico, Eleanor returned home, struck by the strangeness of the new world into which she had stopped after the black years in the institution.

She was evidently a little timid as she left the train and was immediately met by newspaper men and photographers. For three weeks, mother and daughter have been together Mrs. W. F. Grave, wife of a bridge foreman for the railroad, had learned where her daughter had been committed.

~ Achieves Place in World ~

For Miss Reddick the reunion means the recovery of the mother love of which she has been deprived so long, it means the chance to mix with other people and see the world as she wills.

Not that she has been unhappy or badly treated. The contrary is the case, she said. For years, ever since she was old enough she has been helping at the institution as an underattendant. Officials and inmates who came under care saw her leave with regret. Mother and daughter said to-day that they could not say too much about the kindness that the friendless little girl received when she was taken to the asylum twelve years ago.

~  Home Broken ~

A broken home was responsible for the separation of Mrs. Greeve from her two children, Eleanor and Alfred. Deserted by her husband in Lincoln, Neb., Mrs. Greeve placed them in a home, she said. In August, 1913, the father of the children went to the home and secured custody of the children by saying that he intended to bring them to their mother, according to her story. Until 1917 the mother, who has since remarried, had no knowledge of their whereabouts. Her former husband came through Fresno that year, however, and called to see her. Meeting his former wife, Reddick told her that their son at the state reform school at Golden, Colo., where he had been committed at the age of 9 years, and that their daughter was in a state institution in New Mexico.

Reddick died the same year, Mrs. Grove secured the release of her son on parole and brought him to Fresno in November, 1918. Her efforts to locate her daughter were less successful and although she wrote two letters to the institution in which her daughter was living, she never received a reply. At the asylum, however, she was showed a copy of the letter which had been written and which never reached its destination.

~ Hope Revived ~

Hope of being united with her daughter was revived in the Summer of 1917 when her son declared that a girl stranded here in Fresno was his sister in New Mexico. A letter came from that state addressed to Mrs. Grove. It was opened by Mrs. J. F. Wilson of Fresno.

Fearing to arouse hopes that might be blasted again, she communicated with Mrs. George A. Lewis, a former Fresnan now living in Las Vegas. Mrs. Lewis was visited the hospital and was able to identify the girl. Another letter came and this time there was no need to Conceal its contents and Mrs. Greve and Mrs. William left Fresno three weeks ago, arriving in Las Vegas the following night.

~ Girl Enjoys Trip ~

Miss Reddick had very little to say to-day. She was the guest of honor at a farewell party at the hospital at the night before she left. Her recollections of her life before she entered the hospital are vague, as she was only a child when she went to Las Vegas.

“A movie every week and a dance once a month were bright spots in my existence,” she said. “But this trip to Fresno has been wonderful.”

She was educated in a covenant school, where she was sent by Hospital officials.

The afternoon Mrs. Grove and her daughter were to go to Reedley, where the former is employed by the railroad.

[“Fresno Girl is Home From Long Term In Exile – Eleanor Reddick Returns With Mother From New Mexico Insane Hospital,” The Fresno Bee (Ca.), Nov. 2, 1928, p. 1; photo and headline from a later article in The Troy Call (Il.), Apr. 26, 1929, p. 3]

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For more examples, see Step-Mothers from Hell.

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