Friday, 11 September 2009

The shock of an exiled child.

Forty Five years ago on Labour Day, I believed I was merely going to a new school. Being only seven years old, I had no notion of how far Vancouver, British Columbia was from my home in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. Consequently, I assumed the airplain ride would be part of my daily routine. When a young woman supervisor collected us at the airport and drove us to a large brick and concrete art deco building, I thought it was a hotel. In my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, I wrote of how the hard truth of my situation knocked all those naive notions out of my head. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter that tells how it happened.

I followed the rest of the boys back to the dorm after school. Doubtless, I thought, a grownup would soon be picking us up and taking us home. As it was a warm sunny afternoon, the wait was somewhat pleasant.

Becoming bored with hanging around the swings, next to the dorm, I asked one boy, "When will we be going home?” "Christmas," he said bluntly. I could not believe my ears. "You're joking!" I managed to blurt through the shock. "No, I'm not. We really have to stay here till December."

I felt utterly devastated. How could my parents betray and abandon me in such a far away place? Christmas seemed a million years away. What began as a wonderful adventure suddenly became a tragedy. I held back my tears, though I certainly felt like sobbing.

That was not the only shock I received that day. Miss Boyce sent everybody to bed at seven. I could not believe it. No one went to sleep at that hour of the evening. "This must be some sort of mistake," I thought, so I started to wander the hall.

"I told you to get back into bed!" Miss Boyce ordered.

"I want to play. The sun's still shining."

"Go back to bed and I mean it!" Miss Boyce barked.
I shuffled back into the bedroom feeling thoroughly defeated. With the sun blazing brightly outside, I closed my eyes and waited for sleep. To my surprise, I drifted off fairly quickly.

At my web page, you can read more about this memoir of my time at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind as well as my debut memoir, When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies). Please contact me via the web page for further details and watch this blog for more book excerpts. I also am on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, I have a few videos on YouTube. See you there!