Friday, 29 October 2010


"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.


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.


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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