Friday, 5 March 2010

Spring in my step and my heart.

Spring has always been my favourite season. Summer is too hot and
bug-ridden, autumn reminds me that the good weather will soon end,
and winter is a time of prolonged cold tedium.. To me, spring
embodies joy. Trees put on leaves, animals mate or give birth, the
air fills with birdsong, and the whole world shakes off its annual
hibernation. After being cooped up for months and having to dress
like an Arctic explorer just to go out and play, spring was a
wonderful time for me as a child. I still love it and I believe I
always will.

In September of 1964, I was sent 500 miles away to Jericho Hill
School for the Deaf and Blind in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Instead of our parents, Miss Boysse and Mrs. Sandyford supervised
my dorm mates and me during the hours we weren't in school. The
local children could return home each afternoon but I was only able
to be with my family for Christmas, summer holidays, and 3 Easters.
Being from Alberta, having spring come a month sooner seemed
strange but delightful to me. From my Deliverance From Jericho
(Six Years in a Blind School)
memoir, here is an excerpt that
describes my delight at the arrival of this season.

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In March, we visited Pete's Ice Cream Parlour. This meant much more
to me than a new flag or an old leader. As I had never been to a
business which actually made ice cream, the outing seemed an
exciting event. Occasionally, our dietician treated us to small
dixie cups filled with ice cream from that establishment. Now we
were actually at the place which manufactured those desserts. Mrs.
Sandyford purchased the treats and handed them out to us. As we
walked back to the dorm, we ate our ice creams while enjoying the
fine weather. Though it was only vanilla, that confection was much
tastier than apples.

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.

A pheasant also lived somewhere on the school grounds. We could
hear its call quite often in the early mornings. "What's that
noise?," I asked when I first heard it. "That's a pheasant," Wayne
answered. "Some men hunt them for food, you know." Being
tender-hearted, I felt sorry for those birds. I yearned to see one
close up.

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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.