Today, I’m starting a new series, inspired by fellow blogger Beetleypete, who did something similar. Each time, I’ll write something about me, using a consecutive letter of the alphabet. As you may have figured from the post title, today’s letter is A.
Arizona is where my family lived for eight years before moving here to Sheridan, Wyoming. We moved to Tucson, Arizona, from Boulder, Colorado, when I was four.
Arizona was hot and dry, and there were no seasons. I remember, as a child, reading stories and watching television programs involving snow and wishing I could build a snowman and ride in a one-horse open sleigh. But it rarely snowed in Arizona, and when it did, the snow didn’t stay long.
I spent the first five and a half years of my elementary school education at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson. From first through fourth grade, I was the only girl in the class, and the boys made my life miserable. Teachers did little to stop them.
One thing I loved about the school was the library. I enjoyed checking out Braille books and reading them. But when I was in the fourth grade, the librarian told me I could no longer read books at the lower levels that I still enjoyed.
One of the happiest memories of my time at the school was when I was in third grade. I made friends with a boy in second grade. He played the piano, and we sang in a talent show. We performed Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World.” I sang while he played the piano and sang along with me. Soon after that, his family moved away, and we lost touch.
In the fifth grade, I had a sadistic teacher who held me back a year. During my second year of fifth grade, she made me eat foods I didn’t like such as apples and pretzels. She kept me after school one day because I couldn’t button the back of my dress. When my mother confronted her, she threatened to have me put in a class for developmentally disabled children.
In the summer before my second fifth-grade year, my parents received a letter from the school, saying that if I didn’t learn certain skills at home during that summer, I would be forced to live in one of the school’s dormitories. My mother somehow managed to teach me the skills I needed, and I was able to stay home while attending school during the day as usual the following year. My parents were finally able to get me out of that school, and I was mainstreamed into a public school for the second half of my second fifth-grade year. In the summer of 1973, my family moved to Sheridan, Wyoming. That’s where my story ends for now.
Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography
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New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
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Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?