|The War Zone
This chapter deals with my 3 year tour of duty in, The War Zone, which was the junior high school I attended. In the fall of 1977.I was main streamed into my first ever public school. From the very first day I rolled onto the campus until I rolled off for the last time, I felt as though I was in a intensive battle for my life. The day that I registered for school the guidance counselor ask my mother, what grade he should put me in? Then he said something I still remember, now 34 years later. It doesn’t matter what grade he starts at, 7th 8th or 9th because he wont be able to do very much with his life. What an awful statement for a faculty member of a school to say, right in front of a brand new student. I was scared enough without having to hear something like that from a adult, who should have known better. This was another act of disrespecting me in a major way and stereo typing of handicapped people. The man was very lucky my mother’s a christian because she got angry enough at the time to, rip him a new butt hole. What my mom did on that day is a very special memory I will never forget she made me so proud to be her son. I never did let him know but, his one statement made me cry for awhile. Right then I knew, I’d be fighting an up hill battle to prove my ability to everyone. Which in time I did before I lift there for high school, that same counselor was playing the game known as kiss up by telling others what a good student I was and also how proud he was of my accomplishments. My god gave me the very last laugh and I rolled off that campus with my head held high. However before that day there was a raging battle that lead to all out war. Below begins some of the war stories of a battle scarred veteran living, life on 4 flat tires. I hope you enjoy my war stories more then I did living through them. Honestly I will enjoy what happened in my past, only if it helps me write a book that’s worth someone’s time and money. So that maybe my dear family and I can live a little better.
My parents and other people tried to prepare me but nobody could really do that. I already knew what it’s like to be made fun of but not on such a massive scale all at once, that was overwhelming. Plus I was given the honor of being the frist wheelchair bound gena pig. Therefore I became a target for every tom, dick, Harry and sometimes even a jane or two. There wasn’t even hardly a day that went by where I did not hear all kinds of dirty four letter words, directed usually strait at me like a missile. I am sure over time they launched every word in the book. Most of the time I would retaliate and launch my own salvo of missiles. Back then I never walked away from a fight. Thank god my parents didn’t raise a whip. Most days I had not even one small desire to turn my other cheek, all I wanted to do was kick some major butt. For me the physical pain of cerebral palsy and life in a wheelchair does not at all compare to the emotional pain and stress of being handicapped. There was a group of kids who thought that the school just belonged to them alone. As I remember one of the first hurtful things I heard was this,”hey go back where you came from, you don’t belong in our school.’ Also if I had a dime for everytime that somebody called me a retard or retarded I would be a billionaire right now. ( There is an old saying, Sticks and stones can brake your bones but names will never hurt you. ) That is so wrong names, words and statements do hurt if there not the right type. My mom always told me if I couldn’t say anything nice about somebody just, don’t say anything at all. The way some people treated me is part of my life and I will never totally forget it but I have always chosen to over ride the way It makes me feel and just continue to live my life. That all you really can do because If you let everything bother you too much depression sets in and you get nothing done.
The first year I was there I had to wheel myself across the large school campus in a manual wheelchair using only my hands. Some people can guide and push a wheelchair with both their hands and feet. I never however had that ability at all By the time school was over for the day I was wishing I could do that because maybe then I wouldn’t have been late for so many of my classes. Witch only made some teachers upset with yours truly, ha. I can’t really blame them because I did interrupt whatever the lesion was they were trying to teach . I guess some of the teachers felt sorry for me and sometimes they would tell another student to push the wheelchair to my next class. For me as it turned out sometimes that wasn’t the best of ideas to say the least. There were always times when the request caused me more trouble then it was worth. Allot of the kids resented being told to do anything at all to help me and when the teachers were out of sight, the kids let me know just how they felt about it. The meanest kids on that campus thought it was very funny to try and scare me to death, or at least give me a heart attack. By taking me on a surprising high speed ride running with the wheelchair as fast as they could. Sometimes they would let go of my wheelchair and let me go flying down the sidewalk. If I couldn’t stop the chair myself and nobody else would, you know what happens next I crash and or tip over. I sometimes even went home bloody and scratched up. Or to the school nurse when she was there. I became very friendly with the school nurse I saw her usually twice a day because it was the safest place for me to use the bathroom but the kids always teased me about that too. Then they often ask me if I could show them how someone in a wheelchair goes to the bathroom . Depending on the attitude of the kids asking me questions I would usually answer almost any type of question they might ask me. I tried to be friendly with everyone, because a part of me was aware that I could be the first handicapped person in their live’s. However if I didn’t like their tone of voice, I would usually tell them where they could go. In those days I wasn’t that good of a christian example. I just wanted to run over and smash every bullying jerk in the school.
My second period class was introduction to art. The class where I met a student for the very first time, who’d soon become 1 of my favorite bodyguards and later my best friend. In fact the only other bodyguard I had then that I love more was my very sweet sister. Now she doesn’t need to act as my personal bodyguard anymore but if a need to do that again did arise she would kick butt. nobody harms her big brother. That’s the main reason I chose by choice to be held back a year. Also had I not stayed back a grade I may not have met my best friend. He was the very frist non handicapped completely normal friend I ever had. Plus he proved to me just about every single day we went to school, how much he really did love me. He was always for the underdog especially if said underdog happened to be me and his actions spoke louder then his words. Now back to the first day that I met him. When I rolled into the art class that morning I felt like all eyes were on me and I soon discovered that feeling was right. The teacher said for our first project she wanted to see how well each of us could draw something free hand, than paint it with water colors. I proceeded to do my work as instructed and when I was almost done, the teacher left the class room for a few minutes and some punk decided to start acting like the devil. He thought that it would be very funny to destroy all my work and the punk proceeded to do just that. After the punk did this, his friends decided they wanted to play also. They started cussing and calling me a bunch of mean hurtful names. The one I have always hated most is, (Retard) However it did not stop at that because they started throwing paint on me. This got my soon to be new friend very angary and he got into my fight with me. Most of the other kids just stood around laughing at both of us but, we did not find it very funny at all. When the teacher returned we both had to explain what had just happened and the fact that my new friend was defending me. He still got into some trouble because of the fact that he got caught hitting students, the teacher wasn’t out of her class very long but it seemed like forever. After that day I saw him as a hero of mine and my dear sweet sister another hero as well. She was aware of all the trouble I had been having so she ask to be put into the classes where I was made fun of the most.
Not long after all this stuff started happening to me the school recommended that an electric powered wheelchair be purchased for me. Witch did help me travel across the campus much faster then before, most of the time. I say that because some of the more mean and wiled punks, would even try to disconnect the power sores and stop my wheelchair from running. When one of kids got lucky and managed to disrupt the power supply, I was stuck until someone came along and was nice enough to help me. Not all the students were mean to me. At times some of the kids could be quite kind. Also my new best friend over time let all the tuff little street wise punks know that he was now my friend and anybody that messed with me would answer to him. Plus he also ask some of his other personal friends to watch over me as well. However nobody could watch out for me all the time. Therefore sometimes I had to stand up for myself. This I did by usually taking off my wheelchair’s metel leg rests and making a threat to use them as a base ball bat. Up against the head of anybody whom I felt needed a lesion on how to threat the handicapped. I will never forget as long as I live, that the first person I had to threaten was a girl that I will call jane doe. This girl for several months did nothing but haras me at every turn. She would sometimes even come looking for me, just to make fun of me and call names. When I finally told my sister, she went and had a little take with her. I am sure my sister threatened to beat the ( you know what ) out her. Witch she could have done I know but, even that did not stop jane doe. So my sister then told me that maybe I should try to take care of her myself. The next time she gave me trouble, I pinned her up against the side of my wheelchair and a very large brick wall. Then turned off the wheelchair’s power so she couldn’t move it at all. I then took off the metel leg rest pulled it up to her head and told her that I was going to bash her brains out. She went running off crying to see the principal and a few days later my parents and I were in a big meeting to decided what should be done about the horrible thing that I just did. I didn’t think that it was bad and neither did my parents but the school made me out to be the bad guy and almost expelled me. I believe that they would have done so if not for the support of my parents. Before the meeting ended my dad said “thats my boy, he did what had to be done and I am proud of him.”
The word spaed very quickly around the campus after all of that happened and some people started to realize I might not be so easily messed with anymore.However now I was getting a bit of a reputation for defining myself and that caused some kids to try picking fights with me. Just to see who else could maybe make me angary enough to use my wheelchair parts as lethal weapons ha.
I was a pioneer I guess, nobody could have known at the time exactly how I would be treated. Some of the meanest kids even stoll my lunch from me. My best friend, James Edward Brown could not be everywhere at once to protect me but he sure as heck tried his best to do that and be there for me every time I needed him. He did things to help me that I will never forget and will always be very thankful to him for all he did to help defend me in times of trouble. However the school principal didn’t care to much for the idea of another student defending me but jim did that anyway, even to the point of getting himself into trouble because of watching my back. Finally half way through my first year of school an adult personal attendant was hired to follow me and help me make it through each school day without any problems. Even that did stop all my trouble but that did slow them down. My attendant would at times help me with me with my school work. By either reading something to me really quick or writing down whatever I dictated to her. I always liked that because it made my school work easier and faster when I didn’t have to do my own writing. Some of the other students did not like to see me do that. They would often accuse my attendant of helping me cheat and or make fun of me by, calling me dumb or stupid just because I needed a little extra help sometimes.
I hope that after all these years public schools and their students are much more willing to except those people with any kind of handicap, no matter the type it is or what they need for support. However that may not be the case because today’s school’s seem to be more of a war zone then when I went through school. I am so glad that my school days are over because if I had to fight now the way I fought back then some brain dead kid would probably shoot me.
It was a hard road to ride down at the time but now looking back on all I went trough I would still say that it was worth my trouble. It didn’t kill me my experience has made me a much stronger person in spite of everything. At the end of my time in school I was pleased and proud to have graduated with my class. It gave me such a great feeling of accomplishment. I am so happy that I did not just give up quit and drop out. My advice to all students, school may seem to hard for you to handle now. In the long run if you don’t give up and you finish school the rewards are worth any trouble you may encounter. I years to come when you’re old like me, you’ll look back and probably laugh at just how horrible you thought shool was at the time. If your a handicapped student try and make all the friends that you can and let them help you when they are willing to do so. If you feel safe from any serious harm. Now that I am older and hopefully somewhat wiser what I would probably recommend is trying not to fight as much as I did back in the good old days ha ha. However if you happen to find yourself in the middle of a war zone and your scared, just don’t let the bullies know it. Any big bad bully can always smell fear and once they realize you’re scared of them, they all love to make your life hard. I might have made it through school much easier if fighting had been only done as my very last resort. If I could go back through time and do it all over again I do think at least I would try to handle things somewhat differently. The only mistake I made was not following the bible principals very much, that I already knew so well. I should have placed more of my problems into the hands of my God. He’s the best body guard and the closet friend that I or anyone else could ever have. I belive all christians in war zones should turn to the lord jesus christ for his help first and then if the situation still calls for violence go for the knock out punch. The lord never said that christians couldn’t defend themselves against evil of all types. I’ve been out of that war zone for over a quarter of my life now and yet when I think about some of the actions I took at that time I can’t hrelp but feel sorry because I let my lord down. Even then I knew and fully understood that jesus, see’s and hear’s everything that I do or say. I messed up and can blame nobody but my myself. I am just happy that part of my life is over for good, never to be repeated again.
God I am sorry that I did not show more of my faith in you. I should have prayed more and fought less, my spirit was willing but my flesh wasn’t strong enough to do what I should have done. So that may have been one test that I failed in a major way. I guess the next christian in the war zone will have to do a better job then I did. Take a lesson from me, if your a christian going to a public school please don’t make all the same mistakes that I did. If your reading this book and your not a christian hopefully by the end of my book you’ll consider becoming one of us. I should have been a better christian soldier in god's armey and let the commaning general, of everthing take over control of, The War Zone.