Leaving home at eight

When I was eight I was sent to a boarding school for disabled children. I’d read wonderful stories of the adventures that girls could have at boarding school and I really looked forward to it.
However on my arrival the dreamed-off idyll of boarding school was soon shattered as a group of scruffy – I thought – girls gathered round me and asked who I was, where I was from, how old I was. I felt little friendliness in their manner and I suspect I was none too friendly to them, sheltered from children of my own age as I had been. My mam had left and I wasn’t sure what should happen next: they slowly started to drift away.
My bed, one among thirteen, was very high off the floor like a hospital bed ; the sheets were crisp and white, hard to the touch and not at all welcoming. I sat there wondering what to do – it wasn’t clear to me what was meant to happen and no one was telling me. The space under the bed seemed vast and threatening somehow. The feeling of aloneness was new to me.


About lorrainegradwell

Active in the disabled peoples' movement since the early 80's, stepping back a bit now but still speaking up and still looking for independence and an end to discrimination.
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