Friday, 18 December 2009

Being home felt like going to heaven.

Being "home for Christmas" has become a worn-out cliche in today's commercials, yet the words have a much deeper meaning than a dictionary could ever provide. For me in 1964, returning home after three months at an impersonal institution for the blind was like going to heaven. From my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, here is how the timeworn tradition felt like pure happiness to me.
Diane felt ecstatic when I came through the side door. She practically jumped into my arms and hugged me, nearly knocking me down the basement steps.

Because both parents brought me home, we ate only sandwiches for supper. I ate mine heartily. For the first time in three months, I was not eating institutional fare. "I hope you don't mind," Mom apologized. I was too busy wolfing down my supper to answer. Food never tasted as good to me as that impromptu meal did.

"I didn't have time to make your bed downstairs so you can sleep upstairs in your old bedroom," Mom apologized again. I did not mind that either. I was back home where I belonged and that was all that mattered.

I felt perfectly secure and totally content as I lay in the bed which Diane and I shared for our first few years of life. Being home was a dream-come-true for me. I delighted in the wonder of finally being with my family.

"Is this what it's like to go to heaven?" I asked Mom sleepily. She chuckled and said, "Maybe. I'm so glad you're home." Mom tucked me in and kissed my forehead. I drifted off feeling happier than I had been since summer.

Getting back to the old family routine was pure joy. For example, I could eat cereal again. Mom made toast which was not soggy. I had missed drinking Postum, a type of coffee substitute. Mom made me as many cups of that beverage as I wanted. The greatest joy of all was finally dining with my family. Playing with my own toys again and being with Diane felt like having sunshine after weeks of rain.
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 sells for $25.00 through the PayPal-equipped Inscribe writers group website. It also contains 6 black and white photographs.

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