“unsure whether she was filled more with pity, for the effects of a war not her brother’s fault, than she was with hate, for the flaws that decidedly were,”
November 12, 2013 § Leave a comment
The house’s fall into disuse was quick, with Batey slipping almost immediately into dementia upon its completion. With Batey confined mostly to his second-floor bedroom, and his nurse comfortable with hers by the kitchen, several rooms newly painted remained closed until his death five years later. At which point, unsure if she was filled more with pity, for the effects of a war not her brother’s fault, than she was with hate, for the flaws that decidedly were, Batey’s sister signed over the property to a Methodist minister looking to open a sanitarium for drug and drink addicts. The Price Hill Sanitarium, or as it was known by some of its patients, Delirium Hill, stood high above the city for over two decades, and at its height was a regional destination for bottoming-out, middle-class alcoholics. It wasn’t until the cocaine and codeine addicts began arriving that the neighbors began feeling aggrieved and grumbles grew that with them came crime. When the mutilated body of Billy Ray Robbins was found in a nearby ditch, his eight-year-old blond hair matted with blood and prepubescent sex removed, who better to blame — other than the actual perpetrator, that is, his step-father’s brother — than the junkie who, after finding the body, had inquired about the advertised award. The sanitarium’s Methodist overseers wanted nothing to do with this public relations nightmare. The Eighteenth Amendment was but months away from ratification, and narcotics were already officially controlled substances, so they reasoned any intoxicant use henceforth was not only spiritually abuse but truly illegal — a criminal matter maybe best attended to by the justice system. This was the rationalization, anyway, affirmed by their denominational bishop, when they shuttered and then sold the sanitarium for the shockingly low price negotiated by the non-denominational representatives of the newly-formed Cincinnati Seminary.