Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fragmented visions

When I was young (some time under 9), I traveled with my grandparents to visit my great-grandmothers several times.  My grandfather's mother lived in a house with hardwood floors.  It was very clean, very neat, and shiny.  There was a big porch out front.  This is about all I remember, except my grandfather's brother lived with her.  My memory is a little fuzzy-but I have clear pictures of "Uncle Bob" standing behind my great-grandmother's chair.   I clearly remember him standing there. Looking at me.
In my memory he moved once.  He moved-took a couple steps to come around the chair and was immediately reprimanded and returned to his standing position.
My memories are truly only a brief snapshot of that time.  I was a young child.  Perhaps the reprimand makes it stand out.  Uncle Bob didn't really stand there the whole time. But that's what exists in my memory.  What also exists in this memory is the fact that I knew he was different-but couldn't figure it out.  He looked like he wanted to play with me-but wouldn't/couldn't.  It's hard to explain.  I knew he wasn't "normal" but no one told me why.  I knew he was "slow" He was shorter-not the height of the men in my life (over 6 feet)-taller than my friends-but not tall enough for "an adult." I think I was kind of nervous/scared around him (perhaps because of how the adults acted)

I saw him another time.  He lived in an institution (?) after his mother died when I was 9.  We (my grandparents and I) visited him there.  I remember he came out and was happy to see us.  I remember pepto-bismal walls  That's it.

Fragmented visions.

I know I used to have more memories of him.  I would list him in my list of extended family.  I would ask how he was.  I visited him before age 9 several times.
I was sad when they told me he died 18 years ago.
Sadly, time has erased most of the few memories I had.

I never knew he had Down Syndrome until 3 years ago-looking through old family pictures.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

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