Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Page 96

I'm reading Jewel now.

Here's a description:
The year is 1943 and life is good for Jewel Hilburn, her husband, Leston, and their five children. Although there's a war on, the Mississippi economy is booming, providing plenty of business for the hardworking family. And even the news that eldest son James has enlisted is mitigated by the fact that Jewel, now pushing 40, is pregnant with one last child. Her joy is slightly clouded, however, when her childhood friend Cathedral arrives at the door with a troubling prophecy: "I say unto you that the baby you be carrying be yo' hardship, be yo' test in this world. This be my prophesying unto you, Miss Jewel."

When the child is finally born, it seems that Cathedral's prediction was empty: the baby appears normal in every way. As the months go by, however, Jewel becomes increasingly afraid that something is wrong with little Brenda Kay--she doesn't cry, she doesn't roll over, she's hardly ever awake. Eventually husband and wife take the baby to the doctor and are informed that she is a "Mongolian Idiot," not expected to live past the age of 2. Jewel angrily rebuffs the doctor's suggestion that they institutionalize Brenda Kay. Instead the Hilburns shoulder the burdens--and discover the unexpected joys--of living with a Down's syndrome child child with Down syndrome.
It's on page 96 that the diagnosis is made. It's a good book so far. I was warned about the language used beforehand, which helped. Of course 1943 in Mississippi is not exactly known as the most tolerant time in our history.

Already, I'm seeing how fortunate we are to have had Playette when we did. I couldn't imagine what it would have been like for us back then. I'm looking forward to seeing how Jewel and her family adjust.

I hurt for her when I read the doctor tell her that Brenda Kay was "physically and mentally retarded" and that "she will never progress more than this, than what she is right now."


She was 5 months old.

I mean, when you hear that, what inspires you to even try?

All we know to do is try. In our world, we try to see no limits. BD is at Speech Therapy with Playette at this very moment.

Back then, trying was the exception and institutionalization was the rule.


If someone is interested in reading Choosing Naia, I'd be glad to send it to you as Lisa did to me. If you can pass it on to someone else when you're done, that would be even better.

Next on my Ds-related want-to-read list is Expecting Adam. And then maybe The Memory Keeper's Daughter. I've seen the movie (meh), but I usually like books better so I'll give it a try.

Poor Strange Son. It's like I'm never going to finish that book.


Michelle said...

I'd love to read Choosing Naia if you haven't passed it along yet (and then I'll offer it up on my blog when I'm done!)

Peaches323 said...

"Mongolian Idiot" WTF!!! I am floored.

Ruby's Mom said...

I have the Memory Keepers Daughter
I will send you if you want.