I believe that nothing stings quite like being wrongly accused. This is especially difficult to handle when one is a child.
In the autumn of 1964, I thought I had followed every protocol of etiquette and yet I received a tongue-lashing from my supervisor for supposedly trying to steal a treat. From my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, here is how it happened.
Occasionally, my chastisement was unjust. Miss Boyce was divvying out jelly beans to us one evening in the Quiet Room. She granted everybody three each. Noticing a black one at the bottom of her bag, I asked, “May I please have that one?” She ignored me, busying herself with the other boys. I asked my question again with no results.
Miss Boyce sat the bag down in the middle of one table while she spoke to some of my dorm mates. I took the initiative and put a red jelly bean in before trying to dig out the black one.
“Get your hand out of there – you’ve already had three,” Miss Boyce scolded.
“I just wanted the black one,” I explained.
“You put that back right now. That’s stealing you know. You touch that bag once more and I’ll spank your bottom.”
Feeling wronged again, I stormed out of the dorm. I sat on the steps and sobbed. The evening air felt cold but I refused to go inside. I wanted to be alone with my sense of outrage.
Miss Boyce came outside a few minutes later and apologized for accusing me of pilfering. “One of the boys heard you ask me twice for the black jelly bean and he saw you put one back. Can you forgive me?” She sat on the edge of the brick planter and gazed imploringly at me. I could not remain angry after being asked so sweetly for forgiveness so I reluctantly said, “Okay.” After Miss Boyce hugged me, we went inside.
Deliverance from Jericho ontains 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. Click Here to read more about this book and to order it.