Friday, 19 March 2010

How books became precious to me.

With all of the multi-media marvels children have today, I believe that books are still meaningful and necessary. During my childhood, they provided more to me than mere entertainment. During the time I attended Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind in Vancouver, 500 miles from all I loved, well-crafted stories provided sanctuary from my chronic loneliness. From my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, here are 3 examples of the comfort literary works gave me.

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The frogs began singing their ageless mating song during March. Since much of the school property remained undeveloped, many small wild creatures made their homes among the bushes and trees. I loved to listen to those high-pitched voices at night as I lay in bed. The sound was hypnotic and soothing. This natural lullaby helped ease my loneliness. Additionally, it fired my imagination. Mrs. Rose had read us Fables of the Green Forest by Thornton W. Burgess, as well as other children's stories. The idea of talking animals captivated my heart. I wished those frogs could talk to me and be like the characters in the stories I loved.

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Another point in Mrs. Patrick's favour was that she allowed us to hear dramatized animal stories on CBC Radio. They were performed by announcers who played the various creatures. My heart became captivated as these fictional beasts talked and interacted with each other. How I wished animals actually could speak. I always anticipated that part of the class.

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Certain books can seem incredibly uninteresting until one gets into them. Miss Vize introduced us to The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien one spring day. When she first started reading the story to us, I thought I would hate it. I assumed that tales concerning wizards and dragons were for little boys, but this book was truly engaging. After the first chapter, the story grew on me. I eagerly listened to hear how Bilbo Baggins' adventure ended.

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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 but still wish to place an order.