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Dawn Smith, who is chairwoman of the Cedar County Board of Supervisors and helps oversee a regional mental-health authority, said she’s tired of hearing about Iowans waiting days for treatment or being sent to jail for behaviors related to mental illness.
She said she visited Strategic Behavioral Health mental hospitals in Colorado and Wisconsin and came away impressed.
A national company, Strategic Behavioral Health, plans to build the million, 72-bed hospital in Bettendorf.
The project was opposed by the Quad Cities’ two main health-care systems, which testified that they already offer sufficient services and would be harmed by a new facility built by the for-profit company.
No one said anything, even after they moved to Glenwood when Vivian got a teaching job there."I'm sure back then she would have been fired," Nonie said. Nonie couldn't cook, and Vivian "couldn't mow a yard no more than the man on the moon." So they divided up duties and made a life together, although holidays with family were spent apart.
In 1947, they moved to Davenport and by 1950 had a house built, settling into the neighborhood.
She began to cry."Through all this they kept quiet, although at times they wished they could live the life of "normal" couples."It used to be a mortal sin," Vivian said of living together, "and that was a big bother to us."Even after the 2009 court decision making same-sex marriage legal in Iowa, leading to 6,000 marriages in the following four years, Vivian and Nonie didn't give it a second thought. At first he thought of them as two women who just lived together, until one day he visited their home with his wife and saw only one bed."I think they were sharing something with us," he told his wife. I'd never felt so good before, in front of that many people," she said. It seems like this is an end really, which is a little scary."The Rev.
Yeast had often privately thought marriage was only for a man and woman. In the church directory, they have their picture together."When you don't know somebody, it's easy to make statements about right and wrong. At last they exchanged wedding rings and vows as "loving partner" and "loving spouse.""So many wonderful people in our lives were there, people that knew about us but loved us still," Vivian said. Hunsaker got only one negative comment of the dozens she fielded in the days after.
This was the first time the full council considered the matter.
"I prayed that night that she would come to Yale," Nonie said. "But I had a new friend."They hit it off."What then? Silence."This is difficult for us to talk about," Vivian said."No one knew what was happening," Nonie said. "Suddenly, we were in love."From that day forward, they felt like they were in hiding.
They moved into an apartment above a building where the local mortuary stored its caskets.
Vivian was the detailed organizer, planning the trips. They argued, but it never lasted long."I guess it's just the love," said Vivian on what kept them together. It was tough on them both, but Nonie healed."She never shed a tear," Vivian said, proudly.
They joined the First Christian Church and sang in the choir. "The day she came home, the sun was streaming in the windows of our cottage. Jerry Yeast, 73, of Davenport first met them as a young man in college. They have stayed friends since, and the women have proudly watched him grow into old age himself.