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Summer 2002 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)
By Honey Hastings, Student, Alpine, Texas
Editor’s note: You may remember Honey’s article “The Angel in My Life” from the Spring 2002 issue. She has sent us another great memory of growing up with her brother, Chris.
Honey says, “It was always hard for us to go anywhere with him so when we did get out of the house it was a challenge. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.” Honey is a senior at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. After graduating in December of 2002 with a degree in Elementary Education, she hopes to move back to Central Texas to live and teach closer to her brother Chris.
“A California Raisin! Mom, what kind of costume is that? Why can’t he be something normal, like a ghost or a goblin, like everyone else’s brother?” All mom could do was remind me that Chris, of course, was not normal. He was still blind, deaf, mentally retarded and physically handicapped, the same as the day he was born. He did not even enjoy Halloween nor did he appreciate being dressed up like a raisin. I would not like it either. After all I had decided to be a princess since that is what my parents always accused me of acting like.
We left the house and loaded the car and finally took off towards the annual Halloween Party at our local civic center. I could barely stand it; the short seven-mile drive seemed endless. I was of course the first one out, when the vehicle came to a stop. I could not be seen with a raisin for a brother. That was just too embarrassing. I thought we should have just put wings on him and made him a bird to match his wing-like arms, but no one ever listened to me.
We walked in as a family, and no sooner had the door closed than I was off. The Haunted House ranked first on my list, and after the skeleton was done chasing me around the room, I quickly headed off to the Apple bobbing line where all my friends anxiously awaited their turns. I intended to get that apple. It did not matter how long it took or how wet my clothes got. I was going to win.
After about three tries I finally got my apple. I was not the driest child around, but like all my friends I was happy and loaded down with candy. I finally decided it was time to hunt down the rest of my family, and my raisin of a brother. I did not want to, but of course if I did not spend time with them while we were out, I would never get to go anywhere again. I spotted them at a corner table, and as embarrassed as I was, I headed towards them anyway.
Chris was not happy in the chaos of brightly dressed children and parents at the center. His tight black leotard and baggy purple clothing were becoming somewhat irritating to him, and I could tell that at any moment mom would announce that it was time to go home. As I struggled to hold on to my treasure of candy I had accumulated, I heard a squeal directed towards us from behind. Mom and I whirled around at almost the same moment to glimpse who was speaking.
“ Ewwww, what is he doing here?” were the words emitted from a precious seven-year-old child’s mouth, which at the moment was covered with cotton candy and what seemed to be the remnants of a chocolate bar.
I thought to myself, “Here comes the raisin ridicule.”
Erica Wright, (whose name has been changed for reasons I need not mention) had the most disgusted look on her face as she shook her head, turned up her nose, and examined Chris with concern. I was not too happy with her reaction either. He was my raisin to pick on, and if Mom didn’t say anything soon, I was going to. Mom quickly leaned down and whispered to her, “I can’t believe he is still here either.”
Erica’s mouth fell and her eyes grew large as she slowly asked, “Why would you say that?”
Mom was quick on her toes, and replied, “Well, you know, he is very special and we are very proud of him. What may look like ordinary deformed arms to you, are actually his wings. He flaps them, takes off and flies around the house all the time.” Mom continued, “Why just yesterday, I had to catch him with the minnow net, just to keep him from flying out of the front yard.”
I remember Erica’s face vividly as she ran away from us screaming “MOMMIE!” I was in tears from laughing so hard.
It was at this time that I realized that I was not embarrassed of my brother because of his disabilities. I had taken the normal sibling role and been embarrassed because of his clothing. In my mind Chris seemed normal.
He was my brother, and there was nothing anyone could say or do that could make me feel any different. But I still decided that next year I was going to pick out his Halloween costume.
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