Here is more from Chapter 1 from my novel, Ungolden Silence.
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The New Firm
(continued …. Part 1 , Part 2)
During the next couple of weeks Elaine and Josephine talked to each other on the phone many times. Catherine worked with the people at City Hall, which was a battle to say the least. There were stories in the newspapers and on the radio about people with different disabilities. Josephine arranged for Catherine, Helen, and Elaine to go on a local TV show. For the first time,
Elaine saw how distorted her face was and she realized how she looked to other people. She did not feel the way that she looked. She looked like a freak to herself, however, she did not allow her looks to stop her—she had things she wanted to accomplish.
Another member of the club did the public service announcement, and Helen and Elaine took it to the offi ce. Josephine was not there. However, Beatrice greeted them and explained to them that there was a special way that the television station had to do the spot and that she would make sure that it was done correctly. The ramp was unveiled on July 3 with media coverage. A plaque was placed over the ramp. Catherine and Elaine took a picture with the mayor.
Elaine and Josephine stayed in touch after that summer.
Elaine had many adjustments to make over the next few years. Setbacks reared their ugly head, but they did not stop her.
She was now in junior high school, and her homeroom teacher had just told her that she would go out to regular classes the next school year. Mrs. Jackson was a very strict African-American teacher. She yelled at a drop of a hat it seemed to her. She told her that the typewriter would be her writing tool. When she later looked back on her years with the lady, she had mixed
feelings about Mrs. Jackson. However, for that summer she was going to have fun working with Josephine Harper.
Once she was thrown out of a typing class and Mrs. Jackson, her homeroom teacher was not too nice about how she told her. There poor Elaine was crying, and Mrs. Jackson was not helpful or reassuring at all. Elaine wanted more than anything to go to college. She could just see herself in a broom factory, not doing what she felt that she could. Elaine knew that she was different, but somehow she felt that she could do what she wanted. Helen and Willie would mention the crying incident from time to time. This made Elaine very uncomfortable. Mrs. Jackson was very strict when it came to Elaine and her using the typewriter.
When Elaine attended Ross High School, Mrs. Nelson was her homeroom teacher. By this time, Elaine had discovered that in some cases the typewriter slowed her down. Mrs. Nelson decided to invite different people to the school to show them how the new special education program was working.
One of the people she invited was Mrs. Jackson, Elaine’s teacher from junior high. Elaine had an English test during fifth period. Elaine, Mrs. Jackson, and Mrs. Nelson had a few minutes to talk before the bell rang. As the three were talking, Mrs. Nelson asked Elaine whether she needed the typewriter. Elaine panicked. She knew that she did not need the typewriter; however, she felt that Mrs. Jackson would yell, so she told Mrs. Nelson yes, she did need the typewriter. When she was taking the test, her English teacher saw that the typewriter was slowing her down and told her to write by hand. She was relieved and glad to do so.
As she grew older, Elaine began to resent people, except her parents, telling her what she could or could not do. After graduation, she went away to a special junior college. It was the first time that she was away from home. The one classroom college was made especially for the disabled. There were people there to help the students bathe, dress, and eat. Elaine took pride in the fact that she was the only person that could bathe, dress, and feed herself.
Elaine could do anything that she needed to do. There were certain tasks, however, that required fine motor movement which proved to be very difficult for her. Cutting her food was one of those things. Her family and friends did that small task for her automatically, but the attendant assigned to her angered Elaine by not wanting to cut her pancakes or put cream and sugar in her coffee. True, she could do these things, but more often than not, when she did them alone, she made a mess. Therefore, Elaine did not care to be told by strangers what she could do or could not do. She knew that better than they did.
To be continued tomorrow…
Copyright ©2008 Lydia E. Brew. All Rights Reserved.
If you like what you have read, please click the cover to purchase your copy of the book.