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Body, Mind, Spirit—a footnote


Howard’s piece a week or so ago elicited a few phone calls about the possible consequences of releasing Dr Kölb’s notebooks. It had been presumed that all of his patients had passed on but, apparently, such was not the case. To whit:

St Paul, Minnesota, Tuesday, March 3rd

To the Plantagenet‘s readers: The “Figs from thistles…” columns on Saturdays have been regular reading for several years. I once had family—grandparents—in Agincourt and visited often during summers and on holidays. So, it came with some surprise when I read about Dr Reinhold Kölb last week. At eighty-seven, I may be one of the good doctor’s last surviving “clients.”

My parents had divorced when I was eight years old—old enough to take responsibility for their action but too young to know that it had nothing to do with me. My grandparent’s were friendly with the Wasserman family [Kölb‘s in-laws (Ed.)] and arranged for me to have a daily chat at Walden. I didn’t live at “The Retreat,” as it was called then, but stayed with my grandparents, which, I suspect, made it more affordable.

I suppose you’d say I was an “outpatient” for six or seven weeks, during which we talked about many things. Few of them seemed to have much to do with the divorce, however. He told me stories, mostly; Greek mythology, I later learned, and we made stories up. One of them I remember acting out with puppets I had made from strips of cloth and lengths of string. I remember painting on their faces and naming them. I performed it for him and some others introduced to me as friends.


Dr Kölb was a kind man, who may have been the age of my grandfather, though everyone seemed old at that point in my young life. And it may be there is an entry about me in the doctor’s notebook, though I can’t recall that he gave me a code name. During our conversations, however, he did call me “Rascal,” which is how I will sign this letter.

Next time I am in your area, I will put a flower on the good doctor’s grave.

Rascal [name withheld at the writer’s request]

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