Wednesday, September 15, 2010

overwhelmed with memories......

one of those weird chain of events.
i've got my neighbor's newspapers.
even that part of the story is a bit odd,
but i'll spare you. just trust me, it's odd.

i usually drop them in my recycling.
but today i grabbed one to pack up an order.

scrunchin' up pages when i see a picture of
this old abandoned hospital i used to work at
million years ago. it caught my eye and i stopped.
i read the article and tons and tons of memories
flooded thru......i just sat on my floor kinda

i started volunteering there when i was 12 years
old!! volunteered til i was 18. actually worked
there for real one summer.

it was a pretty icky place.
i think youth can put up with ick better than
adults. i'd have a whole lot harder time now
then i did then.

guess it started out as a TB hospital and then morphed
into taking the leftover people that no one wanted.
kids with birth defects and problems too big for the
parents to deal with in one area......adults that no
one wanted in another area. everyone was black. everyone
there came from DC. the few white people there were a
few of the workers, one white kid on the kids ward,
and maybe three white adult residents.

i started workin' with the kids.
eventually spent time hangin' with the adults.

i remember coming home after a day there and thinking
that everyone in my neighborhood looked so pale!

i learned a lot up there.
a whole whole lot.

two of the adult guys were two 'quads' that i hung out with.
one guy was young.....maybe 6 years older than me. he got
paralyzed in a football game. the other guy got paralyzed
in some kinda shoot out. they both intimidated me a bit.
both were so inner city....and i was so not.
i brought my brother up there one day and he couldn't
understand a word they said! i had to laugh. it was black
guy city lingo, and i guess i had gotten used to it.

i got attached to one guy who was also a 'quad'....all
limbs paralyzed. he rarely got out of bed. he was gentle and

the kids were wonderful. well......some really were 'vegetables'
just lying there all day. but there were some that were so
bright eyed and amazing.

and then some that scared me.

everywhere i turned, there was someone who scared me.
and everywhere i turned, there was some kinda beauty.
and everywhere i turned there was some real ugliness.

it was the first real mix of life i ever encountered.
i made a lot of stupid mistakes.
boy did i.
but my gosh,i learned so much about life up there.

i sat and thought of all the residents today.
some of those kids are now 40! and those men???
my their 50's and 60's........

still paralyzed....maybe still not gettin' outta bed

i loved them and moved on.
they moved to a new facility.....

it makes me feel overwhelmingly humbled.

1 comment:

Merry ME said...

You found sparkles in the recycle bin.

Not sure how you managed that at age 12. Tells me just how big your heart really is.