Friday, 30 August 2013

SAVOURING SUMMER'S DREGS

Though I haven't had to go to school since 1975, I still feel blue at the end of summer. Those back-to-school advertisements also bring me down. Why? They remind me of those six depressing years of being exiled from home for months at a stretch.

Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind began their fall semester a week later than public schools did. Even so, facing three months in an uncaring institution filled me with anguish. As August came to a close from 1965 to 1969, I felt the need to pack in as many experiences of my home town of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta as I could. I didn't know how bad the school would be in 1964 so I didn't savour the last days of summer.

I remember walking to various places that I considered special to me, one of which was the neighbourhood playground. Memories of all the good times my sisters and I had there filled my mind as I looked at the playground equipment.

I also visited the downtown section and thought about the candy stores I loved. On the way back, I gazed at the public school I used to attend before a government case worker convinced my parents to send me to a blind school. How nice it was back them to go home for lunch and sleep in my own bed each night.

In 1970, my parents enrolled me in a school in Edmonton and found a place for me to board during the week. I liked this arrangement much better since I lived with a family in their home and went to my parent's place on weekends. The school I attended had counselors who helped me with reading assignments and taking tests. Being mainstreamed into the public school helped me overcome deficiencies caused by being isolated at Jericho.

I wrote about these deficiencies in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School. More information on that memoir and my debut book are at the Bruce Atchison's books page.

I also wrote extensively about a house church in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.