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By Mary Flannery, Mark Glickman

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No clay pottery, no connecting by dots. There were just people. " Page 17 2 Please Don't Knock. Walk Right In Walking west on 47th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, it's easy to pick out the complex of buildings that comprise Fountain House. A large American flag flies from a holder outside a second-floor window and waves over the sidewalk. And the complex's five buildingsa stately Georgian colonial brick house, three sandstone buildings, one brownstone guesthouseare the best-maintained on the street.

Someone called the fire department and within minutes, emergency personnel arrived, sirens howling. A technician with blond hair knelt down. He was giving Linda mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when she came to. She looked at the technician and, for a dazzling moment, she thought, "He's an angel. " The suicide attempt landed her again in Clark Pavilion, the psychiatric wing of Memorial Hospital. For the first time, Linda learned there was a medical explanation for her condition, schizophrenia. Maybe it would be better to be possessed, she thought.

Members felt they were a contributing part of society, just like everyone else. Most programs for the mentally ill, Esther felt, were too busy doing to people rather than doing with them. ' I take that extra second and I am friends forever. ' She's telling me what happened. To listen and to make time, that is what I do. ' All I have to do is listen and be compassionate. I just tell people that I am sorry and I hold them. " She didn't learn this technique inside a classroom. All of Esther's professional knowledge about dealing with mentally ill people came from John Beard, who served as executive director from 1955 until his death from lung cancer in 1982.

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