The following two essays were written in Nancy Aronie’s Writing From the Heart workshop by two women attending Camp Jabberwocky.
By NANCY CONNELLY
I was in seventh grade and I had the social studies class. I went to the class with my aide and the teacher walked to us. She said to my aide and I that she didn’t want me in her class because I drooled, and that devastated me to pieces. This was before mainstreaming special-needs students and educating people about disabilities in general in the school system in this period of time.
I have faced many other people who were ignorant about disabled people and I learned to teach them about differences in people, and because others may need a little help to do things or move or talk in different ways doesn’t mean that they have different feelings or opinions.
Fast-forward to ninth grade. I was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. At the ceremony where we received our cards for National Junior Honor Society the person who was handing out the cards was the social studies teacher who didn’t want me in her class.
Nancy Connelly lives in Nashua, N.H. She graduated from Nashua High School in 1990, and from University of New Hampshire in 1996. She has been attending Camp Jabberwocky for 23 years since 1991.
By FAITH CARTER
My then best friend announced — to our fairly intimate group — that she was engaged and would marry the following year. When the applause died down and we were alone, I said in my most serious “just joking” tone, “please don’t make me wear a Pepto-Bismol pink bridesmaid dress.”
Without missing a beat, she returned, “Oh, you’re not in my wedding. I don’t want any ‘hardware’ in my photo album.”
Like my wheelchair was all I was, and all anyone would ever see.
I am so much more than that. Too bad she has turned two blind eyes and chooses to no longer see the true me.
Faith Carter lives in Whitman and has been coming to Jabberwocky since 1975. She has been writing for nearly 38 years.