This might not look like much but below these houses was a special place that I retreated to. The landscapers hadn’t yet turned this boy’s paradise into a manicured lawn for sighted adults to admire by the spring of 1970. Being exiled to Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind for months at a time, I needed a place where I could get some relief from uncaring supervisors, teasing dorm mates, and the school bully.
In this wild place, I let my imagination roam. I was the hero of imaginary battles or an explorer of distant lands. Sometimes I’d just admire the broom plants and enjoy the rare periods of good weather. I also gazed at the mountains that stood between me and my home in Alberta, yearning for release from what I considered a prison camp for disabled children.
I also took my transistor radio there. Listening to my favourite rock music stations soothed my frayed nerves and gave me respite from the misery of dorm life.
All was not perfect with my paradise. After visiting a local convenience store, I retreated to the bolder that I habitually sat on and began eating my pastry.
“What are you doing there, Bruce,” a boy named Steve asked as he stopped the bike he rode.
“I’m having a picnic,” I announced.
“What a stupid picnic,” he sneered and then rode away.
I sighed, wishing people would just leave me alone.
Occasionally, I’d find liquor bottles and other litter there. The best find of all was an old radio. I took it to the dorm and dismantled it. Electronics fascinated me. I often fantasized that I’d be a radio and TV repair man when I grew up. Taking apart that old radio served to fuel my dream. It never did come to pass as my vision proved to be too poor for that line of work.
In my Deliverance from Jericho memoir, I wrote often about how I sought solace in solitude. Visit Bruce Atchison’s books to read more about it and my debut memoir, When a Man Loves a Rabbit. My most recent book, How I Was Razed, is distributed by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual bookworm.