Monday, September 6, 2010

"An Exceptional View of Life"

(Why is it that when you pack books, you look at all the filled boxes with a sense of satisfaction, then turn around and see that the bookshelf still looks full?!)

My friend Kristin wished me happy treasure hunting as I pack up my stuff.  I told her I'd been through this stuff so much there weren't any surprises left.  I was wrong!  The most recent treasure is a book written and illustrated by children with disabilities, published in 1977, with the title quoted above.  Here are some quotes from the book:

"One time I had a thought that Jesus came down with all the angels and healed everybody on the whole earth. I don't believe that will really happen. But I feel that everybody who is handicapped is doing a favor for God. If I'm going by on the sidewalk and they walk by with their problems, they look at me and they won't have anymore problems because they're better off than I am. I don't think they are as lucky as I am because I try more. They can do anything just like that. But when I'm doing anything, I appreciate it more."

"Now I know why it happened. God wanted it to. It made me appreciate life more."

"People stare at me a lot and wonder why that happened to that certain person.  I ask myself that a lot sometimes, too.  God wanted me to be like this, I guess."

"I like it when you go out camping in the woods and you just have a tent....I'm not used to the quietness because we have ten people in our family.  When I'm camping and I go off by myself, I think how pretty everything is and that it's just good to be alive."

"I like camping out because you get all dirty...."

"I like to look outside on rainy days - watching the raindrops fall - plop, plop, plop.  Suddenly the plops go faster and faster.  I get tired.  The raindrops get slower and the last raindrop comes down.  Then the clouds go away.  I hate rain clouds to part.  I feel the drops and plops."

"I like my brother.  He is always tickling and telling jokes.  Every time he does something so funny, it makes me happy....When he's telling a whole bunch of jokes and I'm telling them back, it's feeling like I'm all filled up with laughter inside.  He's got some goodies.  I don't know where he gets 'em, but I'd sure like to find that place."

"A thing that used to bother me the most was being in a wheelchair.  But...that doesn't bother me anymore.  I've gotten adjusted to sitting in this thing and I realize this has enabled me to do things that nobody else can do - to think more about things."

"What I like about Easter Seals is...they want you to go out by yourself. I appreciate people that try to help me. But sometimes they want to help too much....I like them to treat me like any other kid running around - just like a regular kid."

"There's two favorite places I like to go - to the store with my mom - and I like to go on picnics with her.  There's two more favorite places.  I like to go to my grandmother's with mom.  I like to get out in the car with her.  When I go shopping with her I get the happiest feeling in the world.  I clean up the kitchen for her - play games with her.  I answer the phone for her.  She's not able to get around because she studies.  It makes me feel fine everytime she asks me to do something....I feel like I love her very much.  She thinks I'm a special daughter of hers."

"It's good to know that somebody loves you and that they care about you.  I think if someone cares about you, you want to help yourself more....It gives you a peaceful feeling inside.  It's a warm feeling.  It's important to have a good family - to have love for everybody.  To love yourself.  That's the most important thing, to love yourself and accept yourself for what you are.  If you can do that, you can accept anybody else."

"My mom likes flowers.  She knows how to grow them, but they only grow for me."

"At home I used to didn't get to do anything.  Once I asked my mother about helping her and she thought I might not be able to do it.  I said, 'Well, can I have a try at it.'  She gave me a chance to do it and I did it and she saw that it was good.  Then she gave me the opportunity to keep on doing it.  I fold the clothes and remind her of things.  She did a lot of things for me and I like to do things in return.  Before, all I got to do was watch.  I showed her I could even do it better than anyone else could.  Well, not at first.  Then, I got the hang of it, and I did it.  I like to clean the bathroom...the bathtub, the toilet, the sink and the mirror.  The only thing I didn't get to do was mop the floor because I might slip and fall down.  That's how I got to help around the house."

"It makes me feel good that I'm helping people.  When I was in the hospital, some people had nobody to see them.  I had lots of visitors.  That's why I felt more burdened to visit those people who were all alone.  They really need people to care for them.  I know how they feel with nobody there."

"When I moved here two years ago, I made a good friend.  She's a woman seventy-two or seventy-three.  She goes for a walk.  I just got my electric wheelchair.  When I went around the block I let her hold on the back of my wheelchair to help her walk.  It makes me feel good.  I avoid dips and puddles."

"Thinking I can do stuff by myself is a nice thought.  If I ever go to college, I'd have to be able to take care of myself.  It would be pretty funny for an eighteen-year-old boy not to be dressing himself.  It took me five weeks, five days a week of practice at the hospital to learn to dress myself....The staff there encouraged me.  They helped me.  It took a lot of time.  People had to keep me going.  At one time I almost quit because I couldn't reach to my feet to put my pants on.  Then it got easier as I practiced more....Opening a door is one of the things I'd like to try."

"I'm in the tenth grade at school.  I got straight A's the last five years.  To get into the high school I'm going to, I really had to fight because they said they did not allow anyone in wheelchairs.  One counselor said, 'It's against our policy.'  Some of my classrooms are upstairs....I really had to fight them.  Then I found out that another girl had gone there ten years ago.  How she got upstairs was really neat.  The football team - they made arrangements ahead of time - whenever she had classes upstairs they met and carried her up and down the stairs.  In the fourth grade I had the same fight.  Then, I was on crutches.  They said, 'You can't go because somebody might knock you over and hurt you.'  They said, 'Use a wheelchair.'  So I bought a wheelchair just to make them happy and never used it.  This year it was just the opposite.  They said they didn't allow wheelchairs.  Finally I just showed up at the beginning of the year and they had to let me go."

"I heard this one story about a girl who had cerebral palsy and she was in a restaurant.  Somebody came up and asked, 'Why are you in that wheelchair?'  The girl turned around and said, 'What wheelchair?'...That's the way I feel.  I know I'm in it but I don't consider myself handicapped.  You are what your mind thinks you are."

"I like to be around other kids because it makes me feel in place - normal, like other kids are.  I like music.  I play the guitar.  I like baseball.  I can play it if somebody holds me on the back.  I swing.  Usually, I have someone else run for me."

"Last Saturday my boyfriend came over.  I live in a house and he lives in the next house.  He took me out on a date.  He took me to the restaurant.  Then we drove to a movie and a pizza.  Then he walked me home.  He's twelve.  His name is Frank.  He's good looking.  I just like him.  I'm nine.  He takes care of me.  When we go out on a date, instead of having a big person to take care of me, he takes care of me.  When we go to the movie, if I fall out of the seat, he picks me up."

"This is my first year at Camp Harmon and I sure enjoy it.  I enjoy helping my counselors and, believe me, they need a lot of help.  When I get older I want to be either a movie star or a counselor.  I guess they are both similar."

"If someone has a fire and they're in danger, so they call the fireman.  I like those guys who play firemen.  They can help you when there's a fire in your house.  If my friend fell from the roof and I caught him, I'd be a hero.  But I'd never catch him, he's so heavy."

"I'm not old enough to play baseball or football.  I'm not eight, yet.  My mom told me when you start baseball, you aren't going to be able to run that fast because you had an operation.  I told mom I wouldn't need to run that fast.  When I play baseball, I'll just hit them out of the park.  Then I'll be able to walk."

"My name is Duncan. I was placed in Cabin 8 (at camp). The terror began that night. When Paul turned out the lights we began to yell and the terror began. The door swung open and suddenly Richard from Animal Farm came in with a pair of samurai swords. He started whacking the beds apart. He came to my bed. Of course, I wasn't frightened. I kicked the swords out of his hands. I picked them up and broke 'em over his head. He started crying and sucked his thumb. Then he chased me. I thought I'd better expose my true identity. My name is Duncan, the Bionic Man. I got out of my wheelchair and ran at him full force. Suddenly, my bionic arm fell off. I had to pick it up and glue it back on. It fell off again so I said, 'Forget it. It's only two million dollars down the drain.' Due to difficulties beyond our control this story will not be continued because the writer had to be taken to the funny farm."

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