Friday, 4 November 2011


We've all experienced this, haven't we? Authorities revoke a wonderful privilege or ban a device because of one unthinking individual's rash behaviour. Our sense of injustice is multiplied when the perpetrator of the mischief receives little or no punishment.

This excerpt from Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) shows how an expensive machine was ruined by one boy's bone-headed stunt.


This room also contained a primitive print enlarging machine. Light from an incandescent bulb illuminated the page and lenses in a box projected it to a white translucent screen. This made reading more enjoyable. Furthermore, I discovered I could see my drawings in greater detail. Volcanoes were what I passionately enjoyed sketching at the time. I created my own "television shows" based on what I drew. I loved that machine and used it often that autumn.

I felt devastated when Jimmy yielded to a destructive urge and jumped off the top of the bookshelf one Saturday. He deliberately put his foot through that remarkable print enlarger. I don't recall if Jimmy received punishment for his vandalism but the school removed the machine and they never replaced it.


Deliverance from Jericho is filled with 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. Read more about Deliverance from Jericho here. Please feel free to contact me directly as well.

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of an incident that happened when I was in high school in the 70's. At that time, my family was living in Sheridan, Wyoming, and I was attending a public school. There was a pop machine in the hall outside the cafeteria. Some kids, me included, prefered to buy a can of pop and drink it instead of the half pint carton of milk that came with our lunch. Other kids, me not included, prefered not to place the empty cans in the trash bins but in other inappropriate locations. To eliminate the problem, the schooll administration turned the machine off during the school day and turned it back on when school let out. I didn't see how that would solve the problem, and it apparently didn't because the machine was eventually removed.

    Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome, and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver


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