Tuesday, 28 August 2012

WHY I DON'T LIKE SCHOOL REUNIONS.

For most folks, meeting alumni from their school days is a thrill. This isn't true of me. In my Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School memoir, I wrote about the mixed results of meeting ex-students from that institution.

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When I left Jericho, I feared I would have to return and hoped I would never have to go back. Although I liked some of the boys who were my schoolmates, I was not the kind of person to enjoy reunions. However, in the summer of 1974, four years after I left Jericho, I participated in a two-week student exchange trip which took me back to Vancouver.

The Voyageur program, sponsored by the federal government, was designed to create dialogue between teens from different provinces. At first, I had mixed feelings about visiting the same city where Jericho was. Then I realized that I might never see the place as Vancouver was a large city. I agreed to participate in the exchange and packed my bags.

Since David Mielke and I were good friends, I asked one of the students to look up his phone number. After we talked, I visited him and we had an enjoyable time that afternoon. Even his parents were pleased to see me.

Other than David, I met only one ex-Jericho student on that trip. Franklin, who at times was my roommate sat in front of me on the tour bus one morning. Having heard passengers speak to him, I realized he was the same person whom I went tobogganing with a few years before.

"Hi, Franklin," I said. When he failed to reply, I spoke louder. "Remember me - I was at Jericho with you." He continued to sit still as a statue, ignoring my overtures. Fine then, don't talk to me, I thought. Since he appeared unwilling to speak to me, I quit trying to rekindle our friendship.

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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.