Friday, 22 October 2010


Throughout my life, there seems to have been two sets of rules that I encountered. The rigorous set applied to me and the lax set related to everybody else.

This seemed especially true in the autumn of 1964 after I received three wonderful presents for my eighth birthday. From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is what happened.


Added to my feelings of suffering injustice was the fact of other children not being punished for breaking my toys. My dad's brother Bill and his wife came to visit me one October afternoon. Miss Boyce ushered me into the waiting room, normally off limits to children, where my uncle and aunt sat.

After asking how I was doing, Uncle Bill gave me a white race car, a gas station, and a silver dollar for my upcoming birthday. As we chatted, Uncle Bill assembled the gas station. Then he presented it to me. I marvelled at its gas pumps and rows of toy automotive products. A cosy feeling, similar to being home, swept through my heart as my uncle and aunt encouraged me to play with the toys. Jericho faded into the background as I enjoyed being in the company of my relatives.

All too soon, my uncle and aunt hugged me, wishing me well. Sadness engulfed my heart as they walked out the front door. Christmas was still two months away, almost an eternity for a child on the verge of turning eight years old.

"I'll keep your dollar safe in the desk and you can ask for it next June when you go home," Miss Boyce promised. As I had no reason to disbelieve her, I meekly handed it over. "A whole dollar is a lot of money for a schoolboy you know," Miss Boyce explained.

My beautiful gas station did not last long. Piece by piece, it became progressively vandalized until my supervisor threw it in the garbage. The race car did not last either. I felt heartbroken that everybody was allowed to play with my toys and wreck them with impunity while I was severely punished for taking apart Charlie's space station.


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. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly for more information.

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