Tuesday, 25 June 2013

STEPPING OUT OF JERICHO.

Have you ever had something good happen but you didn't realize it until later? That's what I experienced in 1970. It was a watershed event in my life, yet I didn't believe it was at the time. Adults had reneged on their promises often in the past so I dared not build up my hopes.

June 25th is a special date for me. That was the day I left Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind for the last time. As days went, it was like any final day at the institution. Our supervisor woke us at seven o'clock. We dressed and after our ablutions, hurried down the long hill to the dining hall for breakfast.

There were no classes that day so we trudged up the hill to the dorm. As we packed our suitcases, we chattered about the upcoming summer vacation. Everybody was in a celebratory mood.

When we heard our supervisor announce that the school bus had arrived, we lugged our luggage downstairs to the parking lot. Though it was lunch time, we felt eager to get away from that jail of a school. We knew we would get a meal on the plane that would taste much better than the dining hall's slop.

As we left the bus at the airport, some of my things fell out of my shopping bag. My suitcases were full so I carried those extra items onto the plain. Several boys complained about the delay as I scrambled to grab my things.

possessions went well for me after that. The stewardess showed us to our seats and the flight took off on schedule. We experienced no turbulence during the flight and landed without incident at Edmonton's international airport.

Dad met me at the airport and drove me home safely too. As far as I could tell, he hadn't been drinking too much. The weather had been sunny in Vancouver as well as in Edmonton so we had no weather hazards to worry about.

I felt the usual euphoria I had always felt on arriving at home in Fort Saskatchewan. I greeted Mom and my sisters as I had done for the past six years. Then Mom cooked supper as we watched TV.

I lived with the fear of being sent back to Jericho for two years. Various administrators and Mom made it clear that if I didn't do well, back I would go. When I registered for high school in 1972, I suddenly realized that the officials couldn't send me back. Jericho taught only grades one to ten, with special tutoring for exceptional students in grades eleven and twelve. I had done reasonably well the past two years, passing both times. The joy of that realization overwhelmed me as I capered around my rented room.

I wrote about my years at that soul-crushing institution in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School. Click on the "Bruce Atchison's books' link on the left side of this page for details.

Meanwhile, I have a brand new book out called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.