Thursday, 31 December 2009

The number of our years.

The twenty-first century seemed like such a far off time when I was a boy. As each New Year's Day came and went, it crept ever nearer. Now we're celebrating the coming of 2010. In my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) book, I wrote about the first time I realized that years were numbered. Here is an excerpt that tells how it happened.
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A point arrives in every child's life when time is no longer an undefined stream of experiences but becomes quantified and labelled. That point came for me during that first holiday after being away from home.

"It's New Year's Eve tonight," Mom announced to me as I sat at the kitchen table.

"What's that mean?"

"That's when the old year ends and the new one begins," Mom explained. "This year is 1964 and the new one is 1965."

I had no idea that years were numbered. My mind began sorting out memories as this amazing lesson dawned on me. Events in my past suddenly took on an historical hierarchy. The time Diane brought home a white kitten and Mom made her return it was 1963. I inadvertently set the brand new clothes dryer on fire in 1962. Our family vacation at Sylvan Lake happened in 1961. The time Diane and I gave our large teddy bear a bath in the washtub and we had to throw him out must have been 1960. My mind raced with recollections as I sat in the kitchen pondering my past that evening.

I suspect that my inability to easily recall how old I was during each year started then. Most folks remember the incidents of their lives relative to their birthdays. For no reason I can fathom, I still think of occasions like that as happening in 1964 and not the Christmas after I turned eight.
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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 $25.00 through the PayPal-equipped Inscribe writers group website. E-mail me for further information or if you don't have PayPal and still wish to place an order.