A certain person sent me a sick joke in an e-mail recently. It was about a little buck-toothed girl trying to buy a bunny from a pet store to feed to her python. When I objected to receiving such a disgusting forward, this so-called friend claimed in his rambling reply that I wasn’t doing anything to alert the public about snake owners feeding live rabbits to their pets. Instead of an apology, which any thoughtful individual would have given, I was indirectly criticized. I’ve decided that I will no longer take the blame when people falsely attribute it to me.
In my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, I chronicled many instances when other people foisted the blame for their mistakes on me. Here is one egregious example from April of 1969 when I arrived in Vancouver from Edmonton after Easter vacation. I was only eleven years old, had no experience in travelling alone, and had poor sight, yet responsible adults acted as if I was the one who messed up.
When I stepped down from the train, no one from Jericho met me. Not knowing what else to do, I stood on the platform for approximately a half hour. When my legs grew tired, I lugged my suitcases inside the station. “Maybe someone will come along and find me here,” I thought as I sat on a raised concrete platform with my luggage.
After an hour or two, a railway official spotted me. “What are you doing – just sitting there like that?” he demanded.
“I’m waiting for somebody from Jericho Hill School to pick me up.”
“Well, you can’t wait around here forever. Can’t you call a cab or something? I’ve got work to do. I’m not your dad, you know.”
“Couldn’t you call the school for me? I don’t have the number and I don’t have any money left. I can’t see well, you know,” I added. He sighed and walked into an office to find the school’s number in the telephone directory.
Some time later, a man from the Administration Office arrived and drove me to the dorm. “You caused us a lot of problems you know,” he grumped. “We expected you to come tomorrow. Now my schedule is all messed up because of you.” My face fell even lower as I realized he blamed me for his inconvenience and the bureaucratic bungling which caused it.
Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like for me and my schoolmates in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. This 196-page paperback, containing 6 black and white photos, sells for $20.00 through the PayPal-equipped http://www.inscribe.org/BruceAtchison website. My When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) book is also available on the site and sells for $10.00.