Monday, 27 June 2011

A BOY'S BETRAYED TRUST.

Remember how adults told you when you were a child that you should trust them because they knew better? The sad truth is that some grown-ups have ulterior motives. Other times, they mean well but circumstances intervene.

When I turned eight years old, I received a silver dollar from my uncle, Bill. As I attended Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind in Vancouver, my supervisor, who I respected, promised to look after the coin until June when I left for home. She held out her hand after Uncle Bill left and said, "A whole dollar is a lot of money for a little boy to keep. You might lose it or some one might take it"

In this excerpt from Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), I wrote about what actually happened when I took the supervisor at her word.

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Before the seemingly interminable term ended, we received some sad news from a temporary staff member. "You'll be getting new supervisors next September. Miss Boyce won't be coming back," she announced as we sat in the Quiet Room. "Mrs. Sandyford won't be coming back either." My heart sank when I heard the news. I had occasional disagreements with those women but I still admired their fairness and kindness toward us.

Recalling the silver dollar which I received from Uncle Bill for my birthday, I asked the temporary supervisor for it. "I don't know what you're talking about. There's no silver dollar here," she said as she rummaged in the desk drawer. I felt crushed.

"How could it not be there? Miss Boyce promised me that I could have it in June when I went home."

"I told you it isn't here. Go play or something."

I shuffled broken-hearted to my bedroom, realizing the futility of arguing with this hireling. The coin may have been mislaid or given to another child. I had no way to prove what happened in any case. Even so, I felt betrayed by adults again.

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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.