Tag Archives: a thousand pair of eyes



When we moved to Bingotown*

Strange scenery all around…

But happiness began

When I spied the “Lestoil Man”!

A sign just like it stood

On Court Street (years it would)…

Until falling down

About when I left town.

That metal sign emerged

To give me my “first words”…

“There’s the Lestoil Man!”

As along the street we ran.

The State Hospital where my Dad

Had a job wasn’t bad…

A thousand eyes watched

As the Chaplain’s kids hop-scotched.

My brother did much of the talking

While I was listening and gawking…

When he moved out of the house,

I wasn’t as quiet as a mouse!

–Jonathan Caswell

* Bingotown…an irreverent slang term for Binghamton (NY)




Growing up on State Hospital grounds,

My brother and I did the rounds…

Of friends to see

And places to be,

Within certain bounds!

At the time a thousand pair

Of eyes kept our parents aware…

On the Chaplain’s kids

And what they did,

The patients watched with care.

And if they could offer a treat,

Like something good to eat…

They would in a flash

To the store dash,

Buying with their pennies a sweet.

In that environment I grew,

Something you get used to…

Moving far away

From that kind of display,

One assumes that others do, too.

So it was a little shocking

That someone insisted on talking…

About watching me

In difficulty,

At work without squawking.

For me it was a concern,

‘Cause often I had been burned…

Confessing illness

Oft led to a mess,

Losing the job I’d earned.

I’d learned tight control

Over the view of my role…

To do as needed

No weakness conceded,

Being always ready to roll.

But still it was a comfort to see

This person was watching me…

Not for trouble

But knowing my struggle,

To just talk about it with me.


–Jonathan Caswell