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Life as a Scot in California

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Primary School

Posted by berkeleyscot on July 16, 2009

I started school, in the Infant Class of Buckie Primary School in August 1954. My 5th birthday was in December of that year, but I was lucky to be admitted to school early. The usual age of school entry was at 5 years old.

This was the start, not only of my life outside of the Catbow, but the start of my independent life. I now could no longer rely on Mam to do things for me, or to make cerebral palsy easier for me.

At the start of each school year, Mam came to the school and talked to my teacher about my having cerebral palsy, but she was shy, intimidated by the teachers and was not my best advocate. Some teachers didn’t understand what she was trying to tell them

At first glance, it’s certainly not obvious that I have cerebral palsy. But then, when it comes to ‘doing,’ it is. In the 1950s, being left-handed was discouraged to the point of punishment, but what could my teachers do with a pupil who had no use of her right hand and they were not trained to ‘deal with’ students who had a disability. But I still learned to write, even though the inkwell was on the wrong side of the desk and I was messy with my pen and ink.

Cerebral Palsy is messy. Some people have no facial muscle control and drool and spastic, uncontrollable spasms are a nuisance.

But, the teachers realised I was one of their brightest pupils and we had to work together for me to get the quality of education I was supposed to get. I had supportive teachers and I had stupid teachers who refused to make allowances for me. I didn’t want special treatment. I simply wanted to be treated with respect and an awareness of what I was physically unable to do.

My classmates were often unkind. That was a long time ago and I cannot and don’t care now.

I had one special friend, Mary, whom I love dearly to this day. I felt normal in her company and I never had to explain anything to her.



2 Responses to “Primary School”

  1. lani said

    Thank goodness for teh Mary’s in our life. Love the pictures.

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