A TWENTY-ONE INCH SILVER LINING

When I was a child, I desperately wanted to go camping. Unfortunately, my parents weren’t keen outdoors people. This was because Dad was a drunk and Mom was a nag. Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind allowed only the older children to experience nature for themselves. That was why I felt so glum in 1968 when my dorm mates went camping but I had to remain behind. From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is why I missed that wonderful experience but discovered something that I liked just as well.

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“You won’t be coming with us when we go camping tomorrow,” Mr. Moiarty informed me. “Since you have a sore leg, you’ll have to stay at the infirmary this weekend.” I felt devastated. No one had ever taken me camping. I dearly wanted to experience all the activities I had only heard of. Now, because the leg could become infected, I must miss the trip.

“Why can’t I stay in the dorm?” I demanded.

“There’s nobody to supervise you. The nurses can do that while we’re gone,” he explained.

I lay in bed that Friday night and cursed my misfortune. The rest of the boys would be away from Jericho, having adventures in the woods, while I must stay in the hospital. I dreaded hearing all their camping stories on Sunday evening while all I could say was that I spent the weekend in the infirmary.

However, I discovered the silver lining in my enforced hospitalization the next morning. The television in the ward had cable. The variety of cartoons which I saw on that Saturday morning astonished me. What a thrilling change from only seeing Vancouver’s two stations and Victoria’s channel drifting in faintly.

The other boys did tell me their adventures on Sunday evening but I felt I had an equally enjoyable weekend. I was the only child in the entire ward and the nurses were kind. Best of all, no one bullied me.

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Deliverance from Jericho

contains many more vignettes of what life was like 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. I did go camping the next year and I wrote about that experience on my http://www.bruceatchison.blogspot.com blog.

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Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.

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