Friday, 29 October 2010

WHY BOTHER REMEMBERING BIRTHDAYS?


"Birthdays are for kids." I've heard adults say that to me at various times in my life. I think they can't face the fact which Pink Floyd pointed out that they're, "Shorter of breath and one day closer to death."

When I moved up to the Intermediate dorm of Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind in the autumn of 1967, I felt hurt when nobody threw a party for me. I assumed incorrectly that sentimentality was discouraged in the dorm. From my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, here's how my supervisor, Mr. Cooper, surprised me and proved that he really did care for us boys.

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My birthday came and nobody told me of any party arrangements. Fearing that they forgot me or thought I was too old for that sort of activity, I went with the group to what we nicknamed the Chinese Store and bought a Moon Pie pastry and a few other baked treats.

Geoffrey walked in as I pensively munched my ersatz birthday cake. "What are you doing?" he enquired.

"I'm having my own birthday party since no one held one for me. I thought there would be one now that I'm in the intermediate dorm," I added.

I do not know if my roommate mentioned to our supervisor about what I did, but two days later, the dorm held a real birthday party for me. I felt overjoyed, having assumed that nobody cared about my natal day. My already high estimation of Mr. Cooper soared after his act of thoughtfulness.

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