Friday, 30 March 2012

AN ALARMING WAKE-UP CALL.

Most children in North America awoke on Easter Sunday of 1965 in their own beds at home. I'm sure that many of them eagerly threw the covers aside and began hunting all over their houses for hidden goodies left by the Easter Bunny.

Things were far different for my dorm mates and I at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind in Vancouver, British Columbia. No voices of loving parents and siblings greeted us that morning. Neither did we scurry around our utilitarian bedrooms while searching for those elusive treats. As I wrote in my Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir. that morning was anything but joyful.

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The fire bell woke us up early on Easter Sunday. "Everyone wait here in the hall and don't talk," Mrs. Sandyford ordered. "Wait here until the firemen say it's safe." We stood, impatiently fidgeting, while the bell kept ringing.

The fire truck eventually arrived. Our supervisor went out to speak with the crew while we waited. The whole incident appeared ridiculous to me. Nothing was burning. Many adult rules and customs seemed absurd. The men left after approximately an hour and, since it was nearly seven, we dressed and went for breakfast. I heard later that a small earthquake happened but I felt no shaking.

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Deliverance from Jericho abounds with vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Please feel free to click on the link to my books or contact me directly for more information about them.