Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Pastor Steve Wells, of South Main Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, made a very good point in his third Advent Sunday sermon. Because we Christians know what happened in Bethlehem two-thousand years ago, we can anticipate the joyous celebration of Christ's birth each December. Added to that, children await the end of classes and the prospect of presents. Most adults likewise contemplate having a few days off work and being with loved ones.

My inmates and I had a special reason for being excited in December of 1964. Having been sent hundreds of miles from home to Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind, we rejoiced that the seemingly interminable term neared its end. Here from my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir is a vignette that expresses our yearning to escape that impersonal institution.


My dorm mates and I eagerly counted down the days until we would leave for home. Over breakfast one Friday, we excitedly discussed what we would do once the holidays came.

"Did you guys know it's exactly a week until Christmas?" one of the boys at my table asked. My heart leapt for joy. I could easily comprehend that length of time. Better yet, we would be going home in only a few short days.

Classes became fun as the holidays neared. Regular lessons were set aside as we decorated the room with paper chains and snowflakes. The very air was charged with excitement.

Mrs. Rose organized a class Christmas party one afternoon in the junior girl's Play Room. Santa Claus was scheduled to make an appearance. One of the boys warned me not to say it was only Mr. Brice, our irascible principal, since it would ruin it for the younger children.


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 if the comment form doesn't work.

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