“Time takes it all whether you want it to or not, time takes it all. Time bares it away, and in the end there is only darkness. Sometimes we find others in that darkness, and sometimes we lose them there again.”
A few months ago, I wrote a goodbye article about The Norfolk Regional Center. The old abandoned asylum has been demolished, and since then I have received so many comments and emails. Some have been from interested readers, one who lived in the low-cost dorms, and some who were actually patients in the facility or had relatives who were. Whatever the case, I have been told my articles were an inspiration.
I have been written to about this particular location above all others, and since writing the last article, some people have asked if there were more photos available from the facility. A reader/former patient recently wrote to me, and reaffirmed to me these are more than rundown houses and buildings. I take photographs and share the stories of the decaying places, and the people who once gave them life because each of them are important to me. From the reader, who will remain anonymous: “I must admit that I am crying as I write this. I came across your article on NRC in Norfolk, NE. I was a patient there some years ago and no idea the buildings were torn down. it broke my heart to hear this as I have for years wanted to go back and make my peace with the grounds. I remember the tunnels well and going inside a few of the buildings once or twice as we constantly having fire drills or bomb threats. it was with a range of emotions and feelings that I read your article. yes, it was indeed haunted. I saw many spirits there and the staff often spoke of them as well as the past patients. when I was there many of the staff had worked there for decades and often told me stories of the hospital’s past. if you have any more pictures would it be possible to see them? It would mean a great deal of closure for me. thank you.”
Like the places I explore, the history of the people who once inhabited them isn’t always perfect. If you look beyond the chipped paint and crumbling drywall, you can see patients roaming the halls again, and nurses bustling between the rooms.
“Mortal fear is as crucial a thing to our lives as love. It cuts to the core of our being and shows us what we are. Will you step back and cover your eyes? Or will you have the strength to walk to the precipice and look out?”
―Marisha Pessl, Night Film
It seems the longer I do this, the deeper in love with it I fall, with the nostalgia, the art, the adventure, but mostly with helping connect others with their memories.
On the way back home from Norfolk, I had to stop by this old farmhouse in the springtime. Perhaps you remember from an older post?
The soft, dewy fragrance of lavender and peonies hung in the air. The massive farmhouse rested in a field, surrounded by freshly budding trees. An occupied farmhouse sat nestled in the rows of mounded dirt, across from the decaying house, surrounded by grazing cattle and farm equipment. As with most of these old houses, I found no information on this house. This is one of many with furniture left behind, so whoever left their home did not take everything with them.
Trish Eklund is the owner and creator of Abandoned, Forgotten, & Decayed, and Family Fusion Community, an online resource for blended families of all types. Trish’s photography has been featured on Only in Nebraska, Nature Takes Over and Pocket Abandoned. Check out the new Bonanza Store for AFD merchandise! Follow on Instagram and Facebook. Trish is regularly featured on The Mighty, Huffington Post Divorce, and Her View From Home. She has also been featured on Making Midlife Matter, and The Five Moms, and has an essay in the anthology, Hey, Who’s In My House? Stepkids Speak Out by Erin Mantz.