Carl Charnett, Director of Gateway House, and residents ; part 2
BROADCAST: 1970 | DURATION: 00:56:45
Carl Charnett discusses Gateway House, a community for the cure of drug addiction (part 2 of 2). Includes interviews of Ira Robinson, Bill Jacobson, and other residents.
Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.
Studs Terkel This is part two of a visit to Gateway House, a residence, drug addicts seeking to kick the habit. It is the nature of a community. Staff: Ex-drug addicts. 48th and Ellis in Chicago. Similar in a general way to Daytop, Daytop Village in New York, and, to some extent, Synanon in California. Yet, its own place. Yesterday the conversation was with a young resident, Linda, and with the director of dynamics, Carl Charnett. We pick up the combination with Mr. Charnett, who is, we're wandering through the place and he's discussing the nature of, well, to some extent, the nature of needs, economic needs of Gateway House. By the way, it's a good time to point out that every Saturday is Open House and everyone is welcome at 48th and Ellis. There's an open house at eight o'clock at Gateway each Saturday. Here, then, we continue the conversation with the director, Carl Charnett.
Carl Charnett An addict on the street. I'm talking about a heroin user, not a marijuana smoker or anything like that, an addict on the street costs the community anywhere from a hundred dollars a day on up to support him in the community. He has to steal five times the value of merchandise for his heroin. An addict--and there's no hope of rehabilitation. An addict in jail costs the community anywhere from five to twenty-five dollars a day. Again, in jail he's only perpetuating his lifestyle, the problem is only warehoused, he comes out, he goes right back to drugs. In a hospital it'll cost anywhere from 50 to 75 dollars a day to keep this man in a hospital to detoxify him, and his only purpose for going into a hospital is to cut down on his habit so he can go out there and start again. At Gateway it costs the community $10.50 a day per person, and there's a damn good chance if the person wants to he can become a constructive member of society instead of a parasite. So it's a good investment, even if just, just economically speaking it's a good investment.
Studs Terkel Aside from the human aspect [involved? and All?]. Carl Charnett. We're going to wander now through Gateway House. I'm sitting right near the entrance of Gateway House, expediter on duty, and at the desk taking notes, doing some work, is Ira Robinson. And you, sir, and Gateway House: How'd it come to be?
Ira Robinson Well, it came to be by, I was incarcerated in the house of correction. And when I got ready to be released, you know, I inquired about vocational placement, you know. I was just interested in getting a job. So the counselor there, you know, he found out that I had been using drugs and had a record for using drugs for a, you know, a long period of time, so he told me about Carl Charnett and David Bryant and Gateway House and told me I should come over and get an interview.
Studs Terkel Yeah.
Studs Terkel You're talking about yourself now, and drugs and Gateway House. I know that the interest is not why you did it. That is the important thing. Why you did it. It's rather the how you overcome it. Isn't that the point here? Or why you did it, I suppose we can talk about it if you want to.
Ira Robinson Well, that's a very good point of how you overcome it. I think that I'm overcoming it because Gateway House is showing me, you know, it's making me grow up again. It's showing me the right way of how to go about life, the right kind of values. I mean, you know, it makes me, you know, feel like that I do have something to do, something of importance. Before, all the while I was using drugs I always had this feeling like, you know, I wanted to do a lot of things, but I just couldn't get started at doing anything. And part of the reason was because my values were the wrong kind. I valued the material things, such as money, you know, and a lot of clothes and cars and stuff like that and I didn't know how about, you know, how to go about getting them.
Ira Robinson Right. Right. I didn't realize it then, but I realize it now, that I didn't feel good about myself because I'd always think, you know, why I like to do this and I like to do that. But, you know, really, I didn't feel good about myself because I didn't put in enough effort to do the things, you know, I wouldn't sacrifice and didn't put forth the effort that was necessary to accomplish the things that I wanted. And the end results of that is that you wind up with a bad feeling about yourself. And, so, you resort to drugs to try and escape the reality.
Studs Terkel You know, as you're talking, I find this very interesting, that people pass by, colleagues of yours, members of your family here, the communal family. There's no--you're not ashamed as you're talking, there is no whispering. Shhh! It's exactly the opposite is the case. People walk by
Ira Robinson and we talk about this. No, exactly, because I'm at and I can speak for everybody else that's involved with the program. We're glad to be here. I mean, it's wonderful. It's like a new--I mean, it's like, you know, you've heard people say, "Wow, I wish I had a second chance." Well, this is a second chance on life, really, because here at Gateway House we have all the right kind of friends, a social part of life that you need, the right kind of friends, and you have all the responsible guidance that you need, good, good guidance, and you have the atmosphere of a family. And you don't have to worry. If you want to go to school you can go in your second phase. And everything. I mean, the work you feel good about it because you're doing it for, you know, for yourself.
Studs Terkel As you're talking, I said then there's no sense then, earlier I was interested in no sense of concealment or shame. Everyone here pretty much has a common denominator. All of you have been there.
Ira Robinson Right. Right. We've all been down pretty, you know, have a real hard time with the drugs and everything and we've all been real lonely. And you know, that bit about the jails, in and out of jails, and just practically in the gutter and, you know, we all have the same thing in common as far as that goes.
Ira Robinson Yeah, that comes from the coordinators, they coordinate specific things for the day. That doesn't necessarily mean what every individual in the House has to do today. This is just for trips, for business of the house that has to be taken care of for the day.
Ira Robinson Right. Each Individual has a job function, you know, some work in the kitchen, some work in a business office, some work on the operations crew, some in your expediters department. That's the department that I'm in, in expediting.
Ira Robinson Yes, the first day I came in here was very, you know, it was, you know, wasn't what I was thinking it would be, you know, like I came here with the intentions of people at Gateway House giving me an interview and then helping me get a job and letting me just go off and get a job. Maybe, you know, I had the idea that they would vouch for me or something, you know, like saying, "Well, this guy, you know, he's been using drugs and we understand drug addicts, and we think he can make it," you know. So when I came in, you know, this is what I was thinking, but when they told me in the interview that I would have to live here, you know, and didn't make any, no outside contacts and that I wouldn't get a job, that I'd just be living in the house here and try to, they pointed out that I never really grew up emotionally, that I was still a young baby emotionally, and that I would have to grow up and become a man emotionally. I thought they were all kind of wacky, you know, telling me these things, you know, I said, "Well, okay, you know, I'll try anything, you know, I'll see what's going on." So after I was around for a few days, I started to see that what they were saying was true. And then the atmosphere, so much concern from all these people, you know, it's sort of hits you in the right spot, too. And after about a week, you know, I was pretty clear about, you know, what I was going to do. I said I was going to stay here and I liked the program and you know, I was going to get involved. You know, I really could see where it gave me a new chance and a new future.
Studs Terkel Did that seem strange to you, you said you suddenly realized, first you thought it was wacky, that there was so much concern. That kind of hit you, is that it? You mean other people were interested in you?
Ira Robinson Yeah, right. Exactly. I mean, and then, you know, you've got all races and all ages, you know, living in a house and there's just there's no, you know, no prejudice going on or anything, there's nobody better than the other person, because the person that's been in the program longer than someone who's only in here a few days, you know, they still are all are treated, you know, with the same amount of concern.
Ira Robinson I find it different because in Gateway House it's actually, like, people, most people who do have the right outlook on life wish that it was out there. You know? They wish it was like that out there. Like this out there.
Ira Robinson No, just from my immediate family. My--you know, I had a pretty close family. My mother and my father and I have three sisters. We've all been close, and they've given me, you know, all the things that I would need to be a well-rounded individual when I was young, but for some reason and another, I just got, you know, went astray after I graduated from grammar school, got hooked up with the guys a couple of years older, and started doing a lot of things and I fell into the trap.
Studs Terkel Talking about your family now, I mean the family now, not the Gateway family of 40, 50, 60, 70 people. Your immediate family outside. What were the reactions of your family, do you remember when they knew you were hooked? You know?
Ira Robinson Yeah, it was, it was pretty sad. They were real hurt. Awfully hurt, you know. They cried. My mother you know, would just tell me to try and do something for yourself. Go to a hospital and stuff like that, and then, you know, after the years went on, you know, seemed like that, well, she finally just said, "Well, I don't know. There's no hope or something," and she started saying, "Well, you must be crazy," you know, or something like that. But they were all hurt and very much disappointed, because I'm the only one in my immediate family, or in my family at all that I can think of, that has gotten hooked with drugs.
Ira Robinson Yes, my mother came to a big parents and friends meeting that they had here about three weeks ago, and I have permission to write home, and she called and they told me she called. And, so, I'm in touch.
Studs Terkel I know that there are house-warmings here, but also there I take it are gatherings, relatives on occasion, too, here. Any thoughts? 'Cause I'll leave you to your work. You have responsibilities here, I don't want to hold you up. Any further thoughts? I know the various seminars that are here, and sessions. Anyone that attract you more than others?
Ira Robinson Well, our group therapy what you call clusters, is always very interesting because that is, you know, three times a week we can really--like it's informal and it's to, it has, you know, mainly two purposes: to vent your hostilities and also to point out in other people what they see, what you see wrong in them, and to be confronted about what's wrong with you. And this is always very interesting.
Ira Robinson Yeah, sometimes. Sometimes you are, I mean, you know, like if for some that you wasn't aware of at all, you would be, but sometimes, you know, a person could be doing something wrong and he knows his self that he's doing wrong. And I guess he would be kind of shocked when somebody like pulls his covers, you know, like, but, see, that's the atmosphere here, it's an atmosphere of complete honesty, and if a person isn't being honest about anything, it will eventually come out. Somebody will pick it up and he will eventually have to admit to it, talk about it, or either he'll leave, because he can't stay here being dishonest, because being honest is one of the things that we've never done in our lives while we was using drugs. And if you change something about yourself, like start to be honest, when you leave here, you will be a changed individual and you won't resort back to drugs. You will get the same problems and you might even get, sometimes think, well, heck, you know, a urge or something, but you will know, you know, you'll know so much about yourself that you know that you can't solve a problem by running away from it. See, here we learn how to face problems and see them all the way through.
Ira Robinson Well, for my second phase of the program which will probably be up for another four or five months before I enter the second phase, that's the phase where you work out or go to school out and live in. For this phase of the program for me, I plan to go to school. I have a G.I Bill, plus you know, I don't have to worry about any financial responsibilities because I'm still a resident of the house. And, so, I plan to go to school, but exactly for what I'm not too sure right now. I've thought about a computer program in which I even attempted to do a couple of times in the past, but the drugs had me so wound up that I didn't get it started. I thought about that. And then here, lately, I've been thinking about even working for the program. You know, maybe being an addiction specialist or a counselor or something like that because when you involved in this program, you really become interested in people. You do, and so you get--well, at least me myself I get the urge to like try and work with people.
Studs Terkel Walking through the various rooms now with Carl Charnett, we were through the living room, and a young woman, well, a couple of people are pressing the ironing board is there. Busy working. Three guys are there along the divan chair, they're studying, discussing. The openness is here. I notice--yeah. Two of the girls are pressing clothes, you know. We're in a room now that's vacant. It's being fixed, obviously. I see the electricity is--or this room is being repainted, is that it?
Carl Charnett Well, more than that. The plumbing in this house is very, very old and we're redoing all the plumbing. But in the meantime, the bathroom directly above the dining room rotted the plaster in the dining room ceiling, so we had to take down the whole ceiling and replace it.
Carl Charnett Everything.
Carl Charnett Everything.
Carl Charnett Everything.
Studs Terkel Let's take a look in the back. Now we're wandering toward the corridor to the area of the kitchen and you may hear some music in the background. Almost a variety of records, various albums, Charlie Parker, Beatles, Donovan. We're now in the kitchen. It's a very clean and pleasant place, and people here, too, are working. A radio is going. You may hear the sound of pots and pans, a man is cleaning them. A younger man is helping, washing. This is for supper, I guess, preparing for supper and huge refrigerators here, so there, that may be, I think, Spanish hour you're hearing there. So we're going, again, through the very--this, you know what, this was a, quite a very posh mansion once upon a time.
Carl Charnett Unfortunately, the building was in very poor repair, and it's not really suited for our purposes other than by its size, so we're in the process now of replacing most of the plumbing, installing additional bathroom fixtures, here's an example of a--
Studs Terkel We're
Resident 1 Yes.
Studs Terkel This is steeper, yeah, the steep stairway here. We're heading toward the upper stories now of Gateway House, and now it's their office is up here and a number of people, residents are working there, one more.
Carl Charnett This was a very, very tiny bathroom with one sink, one toilet, and one tub and no shower. So the whole bathroom was ripped out, all the plumbing is ripped out, new piping was put in, so now it will have two sinks, two toilets, and two new stall showers. All the equipment that you see up here, sinks, toilets, showers, electrical supplies, they've all been donated by people, businessmen in the community who own large supply houses.
Carl Charnett Yes.
Studs Terkel Wondering now there's a huge flowerpot here, and here are various bedrooms, again being newly equipped. You can see here is a very graciously appointed one with artificial fruits, there's some paintings, some might be even works of some of the residents themselves.
Studs Terkel Sixteen or seventeen. Here's another larger bedroom for the girls. This faces the corner of 48th and Ellis, this is the third top floor. Again, somebody is painting, another resident is there, painting away. Everybody, I notice the one thing, Carl, it's quite clear that everybody is doing something. I think this is the, perhaps, one attribute that stands out. Here's another large room. I see it's--has some unique touches, probably also of the girls who may be living here, too, their own contributions.
Studs Terkel these partitions are new, they're all done by the residents. So during the house warmings on Saturdays at 8:00, this freedom to walk around and about is part of it too, I take it. Is that so, Carl?
Carl Charnett Yes.
Carl Charnett This is the house business office that takes care of all inter-house and business, plus business with the community, progress reports to probation officials, letters to courts, family letters, donations, etc. Everything comes out of this office.
Phil Jacobson Yeah, my name is Phil Jacobson and I've been here about eight months, and right now I work in the business office, and like Carl explained, the office is in charge like all legal matters in the house, business concerning 79th Street, the drug abuse program, resident business concerning the residents.
Studs Terkel What--can I ask a question I asked, perhaps, of other people who were here, too, if I may, you know, in a moment. I want to ask each one a certain question, though. What was your first reaction when you came to Gateway House?
Studs Terkel Why?
Phil Jacobson Well, it was kind of hard for me to adjust when I first came in, you know, because I had a lot of fears about being here. I wasn't too secure myself, so when I first came in, naturally, I was uncomfortable and I wanted to get out. But I stuck it out. And I must say a lot of my hang-ups, you know, I still have a lot of hang ups. But I don't have that feeling anymore.
Phil Jacobson I don't know, it's for a while like I was here, you know, for a lot of different reasons than, you know, besides to help myself. I get down, I feel pretty bad, I think about the fact that I couldn't leave because of my parents. But then I thought about the fact that, you know, if I didn't get myself together, help myself now, I'd go out and use drugs again, which I never really seriously thought about before. And I had to think about, you know, did I want to stop using drugs.
Studs Terkel This is interesting. As your talk--I just wander about, the idea that each one talks freely. Your companions are all here and you're not whispering to me. Everyone--there are no secrets in this matter, are there? May I speak with you about this? You're here and you're busy behind the desk working. You don't have to identify if you don't feel like it. It's up to you, you know.
Betsy Jokes Well, my name is Betsy Jokes, and we do talk freely here. We don't have any secrets because we want to really know each other. We don't want to keep our feelings in because we've been hiding our feelings from people for so long. And here I feel comfortable because I can let the other residents here know the real me.
Betsy Jokes Yes. I did, because I wanted people to like me, and some of the things that I were doing that and that I thought, I was sure that they wouldn't accept it. And this was real important to me to be accepted.
Betsy Jokes Yes.
Studs Terkel This question. Doing something for yourself, like the work you're doing now right here behind this desk, you're part of this office dealing with the communications, the community outside and here.
Studs Terkel Gateway. I know there are many things that happen at therapy in various forms, clusters--each of you is that you're all so open with each other. Is anything hidden? I mean, when you speak of yourself or problems is discussed, people somebody faces you with--and, so, you--they tell you about you, you tell them about them?
Betsy Jokes Yes, we tell our true feelings. Like when I first came in, I wasn't very honest and I'm still working on being honest, because it's hard to be honest with people, but we do confront each other about our behaviors.
Studs Terkel Now?
Betsy Jokes Yes, because you know, so for so long, you know, all my life I've been taking things from people and not giving, and now I feel like I want to give. I want to help, where before I always wanted people to help me. It is a growing up process. That's a phrase you've heard a lot here, I suppose. Yes. You also feel like saying that we haven't touched? Thank you very much. I'll talk to your two coll--your two brothers over here. You're seated in the armchair there, we'll come to the man behind the typewriter in a moment. Behind you is a sign that says "creative communication," and then it says, "To Juan Lopez and Michael Darvy, resident director, creative communication," is that a certain kind of seminar? No, this is primarily the function of this office. Communications, inner office and inner facility with this facility and the other. I'm the newest member of this particular family, and I'm not really well-versed on the functions of what I must do here or even the office, for that matter. I'm learning. Making an effort to learn. My family is here in this facility. My wife and my baby also. You mean your actual family. So, actually, it's a matter of expansion as far as my family concept is concerned. What else would you like to know specifically? No, just that. Just on this very point. Your wife, that is physically by marriage ritual, your wife and your baby are here, you said something about your family has expanded. You mean the people here in this room are a part of now of your greater family. Yes, this is a concept that is still relatively new to me, but I'm gradually taking into my character as I encounter it each day here because the actual relationship between the other peoples involved in this office and in the building is actually like a brother and sister level, which is a new confrontation for me. I've never encountered this particular attitude before, and it's a very healthy thing, I'm sure. I see the theory of it. The actuality of it has not been an experience for me yet. You said it's a new confrontation for you. Now, what was your--roughly, you don't have to tell me your age, just a general idea. I've been involved in the drug situation longer than any of the people in this office. And what I meant by confrontation was exactly that. I have never been exposed to a situation where a demand of this sort was ever placed on me. And the concept of such a thing undergoing is new for me. I only hope that I am capable of favorably reacting to the techniques applied within this facility. You mean, you never faced up to what you were doing when you were taking drugs outside in the greater community. This is very obvious in the pattern of my past performances. When did you first begin taking drugs? I first began in the service. This was many years ago, it was 1949. And it started out as a very legitimate and medical clinically administered thing and got off the edge. I got off the edge, it didn't, you know. And it was broken up by a series of exposure to penitentiaries, jails, and all the other things that go with drug addiction. In recent times, the last two or three years, I had gotten married and my whole attitude towards what I must--what I want to do and want to be took a drastic change, and I simply didn't know what to do about it. My wife and I were exposed to this program a couple of years ago, and we became a part of it at that time. Unfortunately, I had an automobile accident in January of this year, and I've been in the hospital up until just a few days ago. But in the interim, my wife became a member of this facility, and
Betsy Jokes Yes.
Studs Terkel You also feel like saying that we haven't touched? Thank you very much. I'll talk to your two coll--your two brothers over here. You're seated in the armchair there, we'll come to the man behind the typewriter in a moment. Behind you is a sign that says "creative communication," and then it says, "To Juan Lopez and Michael Darvy, resident director, creative communication," is that a certain kind of seminar?
Resident 2 No, this is primarily the function of this office. Communications, inner office and inner facility with this facility and the other. I'm the newest member of this particular family, and I'm not really well-versed on the functions of what I must do here or even the office, for that matter. I'm learning. Making an effort to learn. My family is here in this facility. My wife and my baby also.
Studs Terkel No, just that. Just on this very point. Your wife, that is physically by marriage ritual, your wife and your baby are here, you said something about your family has expanded. You mean the people here in this room are a part of now of your greater family.
Resident 2 Yes, this is a concept that is still relatively new to me, but I'm gradually taking into my character as I encounter it each day here because the actual relationship between the other peoples involved in this office and in the building is actually like a brother and sister level, which is a new confrontation for me. I've never encountered this particular attitude before, and it's a very healthy thing, I'm sure. I see the theory of it. The actuality of it has not been an experience for me yet.
Resident 2 I've been involved in the drug situation longer than any of the people in this office. And what I meant by confrontation was exactly that. I have never been exposed to a situation where a demand of this sort was ever placed on me. And the concept of such a thing undergoing is new for me. I only hope that I am capable of favorably reacting to the techniques applied within this facility.
Resident 2 So in a way there's a growing-up process here. I first began in the service. This was many years ago, it was 1949. And it started out as a very legitimate and medical clinically administered thing and got off the edge. I got off the edge, it didn't, you know. And it was broken up by a series of exposure to penitentiaries, jails, and all the other things that go with drug addiction. In recent times, the last two or three years, I had gotten married and my whole attitude towards what I must--what I want to do and want to be took a drastic change, and I simply didn't know what to do about it. My wife and I were exposed to this program a couple of years ago, and we became a part of it at that time. Unfortunately, I had an automobile accident in January of this year, and I've been in the hospital up until just a few days ago. But in the interim, my wife became a member of this facility, and with what has happened for her and what could potentially happen for us and me, I, too, am a member now.
Studs Terkel You say it was while you were in the service that you first, it began as medical, as medical treatment. Why--I mean, as Carl Charnett has pointed out, I think correctly, why is not the important thing here at Gateway, it's how and what you do now is the important thing, isn't it, I'm going to ask you if I may, why. What led you, just a general feeling toward drugs after the medical treatment? Was that it?
Resident 2 Well, I am a musician by profession, and this offers a particular occupational hazard which was a combination of this and being injured in the service that brought about my extreme exposure to drugs. And simply my inability to emerge from this has led to this circumstance now.
Studs Terkel Here we are now, you are now and your friends and your greater family, as well as your immediate family, and Gateway House doing work. What is your feeling? You're just here--newly arrived here. And since everybody does speak freely here so there's no inhibition involved, what is your feeling here at being in Gateway House at this moment?
Resident 2 The theory of this circumstance and how I stand within it is not new or even removed from me. Like I told you before, the actuality of being able to do anything about it is, and I'm still new enough here that I have to just look and learn to, how to overcome this. I don't know how to do this yet, and I can only hope that my ability will not elapse before I do take on some constructive learning here.
Studs Terkel It's premature to ask you this, perhaps, but you were a musician, you say, outside. Do you have this idea or, perhaps, will other thoughts occur to you? It's hard to tell now. When you leave Gateway House.
Resident 2 This is true. It is hard to tell. I've had extensive training in the music field and I don't really know anything else. I do have a desire to further help myself by participating in this particular type of technique. I have a great interest in children. And the exposure that children have to drugs. I feel that I could function efficiently on this level, you know. I would like to do this at a point if I ever become equipped.
Studs Terkel Wandering around the same office, talking to the man behind the desk, you're typing away and you have the carbons here. I know you're working on the communications. So I say, you don't, if you want to identify yourself, fine. Otherwise, just yourself being here.
Studs Terkel Yeah, I know that, of course. That's marvelous. Mr. Dawson, let's go back to beginnings if we can. When you first came here--no, before that. How old were you when your first took to drugs?
Robert Dawson Yes, I was in the Air Force. I was 17 years of age. I was stationed up in New York at the time. And I just sort of got involved, I guess, with more or less what you call "fast set," you know. And that's how I got started. You know. When I came out of the service, well, I wasn't messing with anything but marijuana at the time, but somehow or another I guess I just got hooked up with the drug crowd. And one thing led to another. Finally, I--
Robert Dawson Yes. I finally became addicted to heroin as a result of this. Upon becoming addicted to heroin, well, I don't know, one thing just led to another, you know, I lost my wife, family, whatnot, I didn't have actually nothing, I started going to jails and whatnot, so I did seek help. I had went to a Veterans Administration over here in Chicago. And they referred me to the 79th Street drug abuse program. When I went there seeking help, they told me at the time that I, it would have to be a six-month waiting period. I told them I didn't want to wait all that time, was there some kind of other way that they could help me sooner. So referred me to Gateway, you know, I called Gateway and they gave me, they told me to come in the next day for an interview. And I've been here, you know, up until I decided to leave for two weeks.
Robert Dawson No, I was over at our other facility at the time. And when I came back first of all what they did to me, they took me down in the basement, they cut about a three-inch streak out the top of my head all the way back and they put a woman's brassiere on me, a big flower on the top of my head, pair of women's shorty pajamas and gave me a woman's pocketbook. And I sat on a chair like that for three days 'til they decided to have my general meeting. And general meeting, you know, that's where the rest of the family confronts me about my behavior and why I left and why did I want to come back. They are the ones who decided, actually, where I got back in or not, you know, and after that I was given a stiff work contract.
Robert Dawson It was very humiliating. Yeah. But that was just something I had to go through to get back in. You know, it all depends on how much a person wants to help himself or how much he'll go through, you know. And you know, after I sat there for a day or so I got to thinking, "Well, it is my life. You know, if I really want to do something for myself, this is one of the things that I'll just have to go through." I knew what to expect when I came back, but I didn't think it was going to be that harsh, you know. It was a little bit harder than I thought it was going to be. So far I've been progressing pretty nice now, you know.
Robert Dawson Yes, the fact that I am doing some for myself. When and if I do enter phase two, I have a feeling that I will get a pretty nice job. That's something I always wanted, something in the clerical field. That's what I'm looking forward to at this time, and I would like to take care of my children. This is something that, you know, I have not been able to do in the past. And this is something that I really want to do.
Robert Dawson Yes, well, I previously--I was a teletype operator and radio operator in the service. Prior to my leaving from the other facility, I worked in community relations over there for a while. That's the procurement team. I did some clerical work in the office over there for a while. Went out into the field. So this isn't new to me.
Dan Chisholm This is the medical office. We keep, you know, files, accurate files on the residents here. In this particular office, you know, covers both houses. We keep medical history forms on each resident, we have a nurse that comes in every day to give medical assistance. We also have a doctor that comes in twice a week. In case you need any further attention, we have medical facilities at 79th Street.
Dan Chisholm Because part of the program is, you know, [Garrett?] says that, you know, a resident is placed in a job area that is, you know, he is least familiar with, you know, like if somebody comes in, you know, and they happen to have been an auto mechanic or something on the street, that's the last job area that they'll be placed in, because you know, you don't grow when you're doing something you're comfortable at doing.
Studs Terkel Well, when did you first--I see a picture here, there's a montage behind here. Woody Guthrie, children's songs, Christ, Hubert Humphrey, not all related, birth control, [Qwik?], Vietnam, D.H. Lawrence, the swami. When did you first take drugs?
Dan Chisholm I found out through my mother, who sort of had me arrested. And she had already been familiar with the program, so she sort of hit me with a burst of responsible concern in that way. You know, she knew that the only way to force me in a position to do something for myself would be to have me arrested, which she did. You know, she had previously kicked me out of the house and everything, you know. But I returned, you know. So she knew that that would be the only way to, you know, sort of force me into a position to change.
Dan Chisholm Well, when I first came into the program, you know, I wasn't really too crazy about being here to be honest, you know, I was doing it from my mother and to avoid going to jail, and when I first came in I felt superior, you know. I thought, "What am I doing with a bunch of heroin addicts that have been sticking needles in their arms?" You know. I thought, you know, well, you know, I was an acid head on the street, you know, and I felt superior until I started talking to, you know, some of the other residents, I asked some of them, you know, "Well, why didn't you use LSD?" You know. They said they were afraid to. They said they didn't go crazy, you know. So, you know, I had to kind of think about it and it's kind of ironic, because both sides are so equally messed up, you know, one's toying with their sanity and the other is toying with their physical well-being, you know.
Dan Chisholm Yeah. Yeah. I found that, you know, we're all here for the same, you know, to actually do the same thing, which is essentially to grow up, you know, so it doesn't really matter what kind of background we come from.
Studs Terkel I'm thinking as you're talking now, you've been here only about six months, you say. This awareness that you have, that doing the work that is not necessarily the work you would have done outside, the awareness of yourself and meeting you, an acid head at the past meeting a guy a mainliner, heroin, the attitudes toward each other. This all, this awareness come in the six months? You didn't have these thoughts before that.
Dan Chisholm No, not originally. As I mentioned, I felt superior and I didn't think that I would be able to relate until I started getting involved in the program and started, you know, participating in things, you know.
Dan Chisholm I think it's the honesty involved, you know. It's a environment of almost total honesty, you see. I think it's just arranged such that, you know, when you're not honest, you can't help but feel guilty about it, you know, since you know everyone else is being honest around you, you know. So this is what sort of, you know, impresses someone towards being honest.
Dan Chisholm In the past I was actually striving to sort of create the image of being a very messed-up dope fiend. You know, I used to delight in walking down the halls at school, you know, having people talking behind your back, I guess, just for the attention of it, you know, "Well, I hear, you know, Dan Chisholm's using LSD," and stuff like that, you know. I liked that.
Dan Chisholm Yeah.
Dan Chisholm Yeah. You know, I used to delight in receiving looks of disgust from my parents' generation. You know, when I drifted down the street with all my hair and everything, you know. Smiling away at them. I guess it was just the attention I was after.
Studs Terkel Thank you very much. Anything--I know there's much you have to say, I don't want to leave, but I'm running out of tape. Anything you feel like talking about we haven't touched? About yourself? Gateway House? You friends here, your family here?
Dan Chisholm Well, as far as my own personal feelings. I think the biggest thing that I've gained so far in Gateway House is just plain feeling better about myself and more confident in myself and, you know, just being able to deal with my feelings instead of acting off them. You know, I'm more in touch with myself, you know. I sort of, you know, think about myself before I put my feelings into actions now. Which I think is the biggest step I've gained so far.
Studs Terkel Thank you very much. [pause in recording] Carl now. With Carl Charnett, the director, Gateway House, we're now in the men's dorms, the guys are here and these are double-decker. There are, oh, might I say, very, very neat indeed. Guys make up their own beds and everything?
Studs Terkel Towels are all hung, I see. Cleaning is done. We're in the bathroom now. It's quite spic, span. Another room, again double-decker beds. A radio. By the way, there's a little painted drawn up against the wall mirror, a little sign, "Give a damn." Give a damn. Gateway House open to all Saturday nights 8:00 P.M. Now, laundry's being done here, obviously, by the residents themselves. Another, we wander through more bathrooms, dorms and signs and posters, all invited Saturday nights. Oh, it says a picture drawn--did one of the residents draw this, too? Everything is done here--a picture of a family, I suppose. Looks like a father, mother, and three children facing. And it says, "All invited Saturday nights 8 o'clock, Gateway, furthering man's awareness of himself." And escape--escape while there's still time. This is our guest, escape while there's [sort of a?] temptation, you're attempting to escape while there's still time, another sign with a drawing, a surrealistic drawing, says, "We know what drugs cost us. Do you know what they cost you?" Now, this is asking the outside world, is it? Yeah.
Carl Charnett This was a, all these signs were made for a Harper Court fair in which we participated in, had a booth and tried to get as much community attention as we possibly could, so we made up the booth, the posters and hoped that people from the community would be interested and express their concern. Unfortunately, too many people in this day and age express verbally concern about the problem of drug abuse, but behaviorally very little of the people do something about it. For instance, if we wanted to open up a therapeutic community across the street from someone else in a nice quiet section of the city, everybody out of fear would most probably scream protest, but yet not take the time to meet us, see us, come in, find out what we're about. Very few people are actually participating and doing something meaningful about the problems of drug abuse, although everybody expresses concern about it verbally.
Carl Charnett Fear of the unknown. People, the first thing that happens, we had this experience in Daytop Village. The first thing that happens, a rumor goes through the community that dope addicts are moving in. What will happen to our children? What will happen to our families? The pushers will come around. But yet, I don't feel badly about the people expressing these fears and concerns, even though they are misinformed. What I do feel badly about is many people in the community will continue to express these apprehensions, fears, and concerns even though they're invited to see what we do and participate in what we do. We want to give them a chance to see what's in the dark room, not just be afraid of it and stand outside the door. We'll turn on the light for them.
Studs Terkel Perhaps that's it. Give them a chance to see what's in the dark room and turn on the light for them. And awareness of self here also, of course, implies to the people outside of the straights, awareness of themselves as well. I mean, I again suggest as we walk down the stairs, I'm about to leave and go into that world, enter that world outside, that's far, far less gentle and tender than the world I'm leaving now at Gateway House. There's an open house every Saturday 8 o'clock, 4800 South Ellis. Thank you very much. And that's our program for this morning.