• You'll Like It Here

  • The Story of Donald Vitkus - Belchertown Patient #3394
  • By: Ed Orzechowski
  • Narrated by: Ed Orzechowski
  • Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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You'll Like It Here  By  cover art

You'll Like It Here

By: Ed Orzechowski
Narrated by: Ed Orzechowski
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Publisher's summary

Abandoned by his unwed mother during World War II, Donald Vitkus becomes a ward of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is 27 days old. Six years later, as "patient number 3394", he is committed to Belchertown State School, where he is labeled a "moron" with an IQ of 41.

Like hundreds of other institutions across the country, Belchertown is a dehumanizing environment of barred windows, locked doors, and brutal regimentation. "I never want us to return to those days," Donald says. 

Growing up in the institution affects Donald's entire adult life - his army service in Vietnam, his marriage and raising children, and his earning a living. Donald's life comes full circle when he earns a degree in human services and becomes a caregiver for individuals like those he grew up with.

©2016 Ed Orzechowski (P)2020 Ed Orzechowski

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I Remember Belchertown State School

I grew up in South Hadley, Ma hearing stories about this school, but could never imagined how horrific it was for the residents! Donald’s story is so sad and moving. He was a hero to keep pushing through life, with all the obstacles placed in his path! An amazing advocate for the mentally disabled!

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A riveting story!

I grew up hearing about Belchertown State School— my great grandmother worked and retired from there, and my grandmother had (frightening) stories of the times she’d visit as a child. It breaks my heart to know my GG was part of the system that abused these kids, and I only hope that she behaved ethically in her role. Donald was clearly an incredible human being, and I am glad I can bear witness to his story.

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excellent

Mr. O is an excellent teacher and writer. I could relate to the story, only by the stories I had heard while working at Monson Developmental Center in Monson. The state was trying to do better by the individuals with epilepsy and or developmental difficulties. The horror stories surrounded Monson also. I am so thankful that Mr. O met and told the story of Donald Vitkus, we should never forget Donald or the children who had to live in those conditions.

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A great true story by a truly great reader

The true story is amazing. The author is a fantastic reader. Feels like you're there.

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