Joan Dorsey
Columnist
Well what goes around comes around. a fine gentleman in our community passed last week, and i didn’t know until today. I was wrapped up in my own drama and not in the office. We received a letter to the editor about this man and his family, and it brought back memories to me. Small town Gardner back in the 60’s. We had three teachers for each grade level.
If I remember right seems like we had always at least 20 some kids in the class. Sometimes as many as 28.
Teachers did recess, lunch and were generally anywhere those kids were. We were Mrs., or Mr. so and so’s class.
We were expected to respect our teacher and do our best and not embarrass them by acting out. This is just the way it was. I still have bits and pieces of things we made in school. One was a booklet from maybe first grade. The assignment was to use each letter of the alphabet in a sentence and draw a picture to go with the sentence. I am sure I procrastinated on this as I did everything else. My letter E was for Eddie. It said Eddie was nice. Eddie was born with Down Syndrome. He was in our grade in school.
We didn’t know about inclusion or about non inclusion in school. We were kids in a grade together. If memory serves me well enough, Ed walked across the stage with us at 8th grade graduation.
He didn’t continue on to high school. He was going to work with his dad building houses. There were others who didn’t continue on with us.
We didn’t think any less of them for not going on. So in a world where some are so quick to point out the differences in people. so quick to make fun or single out those who might be a little different – We had a young man in our grade who was just one of us.
He was Ed, and he was nice.
What I remember most about him was his very strong opinion of right and wrong. There were no grey areas -it was or it wasn’t appropriate. If it wasn’t right, don’t do it. So for the family who believed in their children, who taught them to, learn and to work , taught them right and wrong. I am sad for the passing of your father. But I am so glad I was raised in that small town where a child who was different was just one of us.
I think the world needs a lot more of “everyone” is just one of us.