The Cowsills In Books

Beyond Schizophrenia - Michael's Journey
by Susan Frances Dunham
Modern History Dec 5, 2010


NOTE: I'm not sure this is the same Cowsill family.

Page 114-115:

My last stop was always to see Mrs. Cowsill. She had the looks and demeanor of an aging angel. Her dress was impeccable - expensive clothes with matching heels every day. Knowing that she was a late riser, I made this house my last visit before Mom expected me home for lunch and preparing for the school bus. In her living room was a baby grand piano which was the joy in her life. On the end table, a beautiful cut-glass dish always held hard candies. I was allowed to hammer out my own made-up melodies on her piano as I ate up as many pieces of hard candy as I could chew and swallow. Occasionally, Mrs. Cowsill's son Barry bounded down the stairs into the foyer.

"What are you doing Barry?" she would ask.

"I'm going to the basement, Mother." Barry was probably 45 years old, slim and balding. Sometimes she called him into the living room to see me and I told him about the events of my five-year-old's day. He usually looked at me with luminous eyes that seemed almost too bright, smiled, and then quickly got away to his own agenda.

"Why does Barry live with you and what does he do?" I asked Mrs. Cowsill.

"Barry is divorced and retired," she replied. "He's here to look after me, dear."

"What does Barry do in the basement?"

"Dear, his hobbies are down there."

"Does Barry drive a car?" I asked this apparently odd question because I knew that she walked and pulled a foldable cart along with her to do her shopping.

"Only at night," she replied. She was probably the most patient soul I had ever met. One day, when I came to visit, she looked stern, which was highly unusual.

"Dear, if you come here to visit me and I don't answer the door, do not go inside the house. Do you understand me?"

"Yes," I said. That day came, and I could see that something wasn't right. Barry answered the door with eyes that looked angry and suspicious. He told me that his mother wasn't home.

"It's nice to see you, Mr. Cowsill," I replied. "Please tell you mother that I called." I skipped quickly down the nine steps that led to the front port of their two-story brick house and turned to wave goodbye, but the door was already shut. I knew somehow that I had been in a dangerous situation and had escaped. So Barry was the first person I met that had this dreadful disease. I was only five years old. My instincts were good at five.

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