Interview with a Moron

A Short Story

by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

SUBJECT: RICHARD MARSHALL LEE, feebleminded man, twenty-five years of age

INTERVIEWER: J. D. LEE, honors student at Purdue University, twenty-one years of age

On May 14, 1892, at approximately 9:03 a.m., Interviewer boarded the Wabash Special in Lafayette and rode to Logansport in order to conduct this interview. The train stopped at every unincorporated settlement between Lafayette and Logansport and twice ground to a halt in the middle of an empty field, backed up a short way, and then went forward again. The conductor offered no reasonable explanation for these unscheduled stops.

After inhaling coal dust for one hour and fifty-eight minutes on the train, Interviewer disembarked at the station in Logansport. There he hired a hack and endured a wild ride with an inebriated coach driver for another six and a half miles east to St. Bridget’s Home for the Feebleminded. The cost of the round-trip train ticket and coach fare equaled exactly half of Interviewer’s monthly food and entertainment allowance.

St. Bridget’s Home for the Feebleminded is a large, handsome red brick building four stories high, not unlike Cary Quadrangle, the dormitory at Purdue University in which Interviewer currently resides. Interviewer, who had never before set foot in a home for the feebleminded, boldly entered through the front door and was directed into an office barely big enough for a desk and the large Sister sitting behind it.

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