Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Remembering My Kid Brother--Rick J. Fournier

Rick's graduation photo--1968
People in Allen Park, Michigan have asked me about my brother Rick. We grew up in Dearborn Township in the 1950s before the streets were paved and the sewer lines were put in. My father built our house with his friends on the weekends. When my mom and dad had two more sons, we moved into a slightly larger home less than five miles away in Allen Park. That was 1963. My parents bought a bar on Allen Road called the Cork & Bottle--now the Wheat & Rye.

Rick graduated from APHS in 1968 through the sheer will and determination of our mother. Rick played the guitar and had no interest in earning a high school diploma. Once he graduated by the skin of his teeth, he hung around never getting a job or any job training. To avoid the Army draft, my parents pushed him into enlisting in the Air Force. Several months after basic training, he went to Okinawa but was given a general discharge. He wouldn't take or follow orders and was insubordinate to his commanding officer.

From there, Rick drifted into psychedelics and became a transient in the college towns of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. My brother wandering aimlessly during an LSD trip in 1970 was taken into custody by the Ypsilanti police one brutal winter night . The police didn't know what to do with him, so they called my parents. My parents didn't now what to do with him, so they called Wayne County Mental Health [Eloise]. Rick was locked in a  mental ward for over a year before he was released with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I don't know what they did to him, but he was never the same. From there, things went from bad to worse. No need to describe his further descent.

Last known photo of Rick from the 1980s.
Rick died in Silverthorn, Colorado, on November 17th, 1994 at the age of forty-four. He died of a massive heart attack while walking down the street. Because he wasn't carrying any identification, it took over a week before authorities were able to identify him.

Rick's obit listed him as an artist and photographer to mask the reality of his sad life. People tried but nobody was able to help him.

Happy trails, my brother.