Saturday, November 28, 2009
Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind
Picture courtesy of PPLD- Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind - 1900's
I have always had a love for this school, it was built in 1874, William Jackson Palmer (founder of Colorado Springs) donated over 300 arces to this school. It still stands and operates today though most of the land has been sold. I had the rare chance to spend a few days there. This is my story.
One Christmas morning, in the late 1950's, I was playing with my presents (a tea set was among them). My father was sitting in his favorite chair watching me.. I looked up and my dad's head slumped to the side, I walked up and gently touched him and told him to wake up, he didn't. My mother and cook (who was my favorite) came in and I told them daddy was sleeping. They called the doctor, who still made house calls
My father had a heart attack, he recovered but the doctor thought it would be better if my parents moved to a better climate. My father loved Colorado Springs, this runs in the Penrose blood-we find a city and its like a comfortable old shoe. For my Uncle Boies it was Philly, Uncle Richard it was New York, for Uncle Francis it was Ireland, for my dad it was Colorado Springs.
So, plans were made, my mother started letting the staff go. She would take them into the kitchen and I would never see them again. I thought that my mother was making them disappear and if I went into that kitchen, she would make me disappear. One day, she asked me to go into the kitchen to say good by to cook. I ignored her and I kept on ignoring her.
She thought something was wrong with me, the doctor was called in. He looked at my ears and noticed my ear canals were much smaller then normal. He thought I might be going deaf, he suggested that my parents take me to the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind. They had more experiance then he and they could help me.
So, a little bag was packed with my new tea set and my dad took my to the school. My room was very bleak but I had a room mate. She was about 8 and her job was to find out if I could hear or not and how much. I had a great time at this school, there were kids my age and we played. It was so much fun and one night I confessed to my roomie why I had been ignoring my mother.
She went to the heads of the school and reported to them, my father came and they told him. He laughed and took me home. When he told my mother, she was pissed. She only got madder when my dad said we were not going to leave Colorado Springs. My father explained to me about the disappearing staff.
So, the staff had to be hired back, some came, some didn't. Cook did and I was very happy. I missed my friends at the Deaf School, so I asked my father if I could go visit my roomie. He came up with a plan to have my roomie come live with us but when he went to the school, he was told she had died. It bummed me out and my dad said it wasn't a good idea for me to ever go back there and I never have.
My mother made me pay for a long time but it was still the best few days I had and I still love that school and the people in it.