A crisis point arrived in my life. For years I have dealt with C.P. and acute deafness quite successfully, leading a hard but interesting life at a time when I had some sort of mobility. The crisis came when I had to deal with serious problems in rearing my child alone, as her father had proved to be an unsuitable parent.
He attacked me and her, and had harassed us. The schools were far from understanding. One even said they would expel her if ever he appeared again on the scene. This happened, and I had to deal with this on my own. The repercussions abounded, making my C.P. far worse than it need be. Consequently I had to put my life on hold for my child, which is every parents duty, if their child is experiencing problems in the world.
Despite the above, I managed to write the story of my life, including my child. The book "Song of the Sea" consisted of poems, pictures and stories. It proved to be a difficult venture, as I used an old typewriter and the photocopiers in the local Libraries and University. My hands, crippled at birth, found it very difficult to co-ordinate with pen and paper. On one occasion some pages fell into "something nasty" on the library floor! The librarians were very understanding and helped to clean me up.
My problems continued. I thought, perhaps, I could get the work published and wrote to the local newspaper. They did not reply. On another occasion I spoke on answer machine to a local disabled newsletter, giving my phone number and address. They did not return my call. What I did find in their magazine was the Cerebral Palsy help line phone number. This I immediately rang, and aired my woes with Richard. He suggested I had a visit from a Scope Social Worker.
Since then I have not looked back. I told the social worker all the things that I and my daughter had been through because of my C.P. and violent people. How it was difficult to get people to understand C.P. and the consequential bullying that my child received when she entered Senior School. Previously, a woman teacher in the last year of Junior School "picked" on my child. On one occasion, this teacher tore up my child's drawing in front of the whole class. This was alien to an earlier happier scene two years back, when my child was praised for her work in front of the whole school by a head teacher in that same school!
Scope was very understanding, and I pointed out that anybody else with C.P. should have access to a Scope social worker when their child is experiencing difficulties at school. As it had happened, even child guidance had not understood my predicament and refused to see my child. Many other factions had the same attitude; it was like hitting my head against a brick wall.
I showed the social my book and poems, and what music I had then written, but much of it I had not heard since the early days of the Wingfield Music Club, now a Trust, for the physically disabled. I was astonished when the social worker said she could raise the funds to purchase me my own computer! She said that I would soon be "Well Away" with my writing at home.
Eighteen months later I was able to purchase a computer that satisfied not only my writing needs but also my artistic and music needs. This certainly made up for all my latter life's problems. I now looked forward to a happier future, despite the fact that I can no longer socialize owing to the deterioration in my condition due to age. Many thanks goes to Scope, it's workers and my friends. Also I wish to thank the various Trusts, and the Scope Groups, who contributed to my purchase, making my dream come true. Certainly, "Life's Storm I Aim to Ride Out".
The Right to a Life.
Out of "Creed, Caste and Class",
Why should I have to fight for my rights.
"Enough," says I, off to Scope I fly!
On their 'life line, Richard and Judy',
My sighs they did not deny,
The right to have my pleas heard.
"We will send you Barbara,
A Scope Social Worker whom we recommend,
To sort out your life time blues and misery".
I showed her my work in progress,
After she had listened to my "wans and woes",
On how my child and I were treated
Throughout the senior school years,
Which did not go away afterwards
But stayed for me to shed more tears,
Threatening to stay a further course
Lasting throughout the future years!
"I will get you a computer, to aid your crippled hands,"
Said Barbara at the end of her visit.
My mouth dropped open,
Disbelieving what I had just heard.
I refused at first to take her statement in.
"Oh, I would love one," I managed to blurt out.
"I wont let you regret it one bit."
With that Barbara left my presence,
Then I put pen, for poems, to more sheets of paper
Throughout the following eighteen months
Barbara painstakingly applied to various trusts,
Raising money on my behalf...
The Scope groups themselves contributed a good bit.
I can now write all my compositions,
Stories, rhyme, music and prose,
Despite my poor ailing body to teach.
What great heights I shall be able to achieve,
Heaven only knows!
Gabrielle Sands pseudonym for Janet Cattier at the time - my mother persuaded me into doing this...
Scope asked me to write an article and poem for their East Anglian Magazine:-