Tuesday, 11 January 2011

FATHER'S LITTLE BOY NO LONGER.

Unlike some children, I wasn't blessed with a happy childhood. Dad was an alcoholic and Mom nagged each family member about our supposed shortcomings. Because of this, unconditional love and affection were rarely displayed in our home.

I described in Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) how I felt torn between wanting to be a big boy and longing to stay home from Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind. This is how one of those rare father-son moments happened.

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Dad and I set out one January afternoon for the airport. Because I had a slight cough, he bought me a roll of liquorice-flavoured lozenges at the terminal. My father bent to give me his usual good-bye kiss on my cheek when I said, "Can't I shake your hand instead?" When Dad asked why, I said, "I'm a big boy now and I don't like that little kid stuff."

I recently informed the family that I wanted to be called Bruce instead of Brucey. Now that I was ten, I felt old enough to dispense with childish sentimentality and I certainly deserved some respect by that age. Dad chuckled and shook my hand. I felt very mature as I turned to follow the stewardess into the plane.

Even though I had left home for Vancouver five times before, deep depression still engulfed my heart. I was bound for the place I hated most and I could do nothing.

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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 if the comment form doesn't work.