Interview With SMM

From the interview with SMM of Lynnwood, WA conducted by Patience Rogge at the Fort Worden History Center on July 31, 2007.  SMM was a resident at the Juvenile Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Cascadia Cottage, Building 201 (now the Coast Artillery Museum), arriving at age 12 and staying two terms.  Although he had suppressed many memories of his time here, he did recall some details of life at the facility:

“When you first came in, you were dropped off right here in front.  You came in the administration building and you went down to the basement and got clothes.  They gave you a couple pairs of pants and shorts and socks and t-shirts and shirts and a jacket. Then off to the cottage you were already preassigned to go to. So, when you got here they already knew where you were going.

I played baseball…(About school) You got the basic math, English Classes. Everything was like it was on the outside, I mean we went to different classes for different reasons.  We were allowed to go down to the beach and swim during the summer.  In fact, they had a ski boat and we water skied. You could go to the gym in the afternoon and at night.  You could also go to the place behind Cascadia and Olympia Cottages where  you could attend pottery, sewing, art classes.  There was a small wood class where you could make models.

I worked in the house kitchen all the time I was there.  There was a main kitchen back here and everything came on carts, and inside the cottages they had kitchens.  Everything was prepared,  In the morning we made toast, set everything up ‘cause at night the tables were all stripped of everything. We’d put salt and pepper out, just the basic stuff that you’d prepare for every meal.”

When asked about how the residents treated each other:

“There were a lot of fights.  There was a lot of abuse.  I never participated in any blanket parties,(The punishment inflicted on any resident who informed on his peers.  A blanket would be thrown over the informer and the boys would beat him with bars of soap inside socks.) I knew of them, there were a lot of them.  The cottage parents never saw it happen.  There was one guy on duty at night. He had to go to the bathroom sometime or go eat. That’s when the blanket parties happened….I had the respect of everybody in the cottage. I wasn’t the Duke (the informal boss of the Cottage)  I was just another inmate.  But, I guess that if you respect everybody around you, they respect you, and I was always upfront with everybody.  I never ran with those guys (the Council was the name given to a group of boys who unofficially ran each cottage) but there was never anybody who came against me. It’s like, ‘I’m here doing my time, if you want to play games, go play your own games,okay.’

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