Stories about how I deal with
Cerebral Palsy

This all began when I needed to take a film course to fulfill a requirement for my A.A. degree to graduate from Bakersfield College. The instructor asked us to write a term paper, it had to be comical since the semester was able to comical films. I happened to be getting lunch and the instructor stopped me to ask if I had started my paper yet, I had said no not yet anyway. So he asked if I would be interested in writing about how people view me because of my disability. He also said I had to make it funny.  I had taken an English course previous to the film course, I respected the instructor so I asked him if he would help edit the paper. We would meet once a week until it was finished. To you the true I had fun writing it. I was surprised that it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.

Types Of Cerebral Palsy!

  • Stiff muscles (spasticity)
  • Uncontrollable movements (dyskinesia)
  • Poor balance and coordination (ataxia)
  • Here are some links to different sites for Cerebral Palsy
  •  About Spastic CP   What is Cerebral Palsy 
  • I have Spastic and Ataxia
The Story behind the story!  image
How I type!
Since I'm not able to type with my hands, I use a program called words-plus, which is software that loads onto the computer, and shows a keyboard emulator on screen. How it works is I have a switch that I put in between my knees to squeeze, it activates the light on the screen keyboard. For example, the light scrolls through the letters, and once the light hits what I need it to, then will show what I type. It has a prediction window, so when I see a word, when I see the word I need, it will type it out. It does take time to type, but it's a lot better than what I used to do, which was to use my nose. 

When things seem to be different, it’s hard for people to accept what they don’t normally see in everyday life, especially when people don’t quite understand how to react to it. Take, for instance, my disability, which is Cerebral Palsy better known as “CP”. I have had CP since birth, so it is difficult to know what “normal” is, but my question is does anybody? 

Ever since I can remember, children have been one of the most amusing experiences I have ever come across. Up until I was in fifth grade, I was in schools that had disabled students only, and I did not have to deal too much with children who were not disabled. Only when my Mother would take me shopping with her, did I begin to notice the other children and how they would make their silly little remarks or make faces, which in return, I would have to make goofy faces back at them. Then I was moved into a school where there was one class for the disabled, and all the rest of the classes were filled with “normal” children. Once I was in with children that were able to run, jump and play, all the games that children played at that age. I began to want to be like the children that I had watched. While at recess one day, I decided to get up out of my wheelchair, and I got myself behind the wheelchair so I could use it like a walker. The children would look and stare, but I didn’t care because I wanted to be like them and just have fun like they were. It didn’t go over that well. Some would laugh, and others would make funny faces and try to imitate my every move, but it didn’t bother me. I just went on my way and laughed until one of the aids would come and put me back in my wheelchair. But as soon as they would leave, I would just get back up and try and do it again. 

A few months later, I had one of my annual doctor’s appointments, and that is when they gave me my first real walker. I thought I was hot stuff, until that day when I was walking from a class, and this boy I kind of had a crush on offered to walk me to where ever I was going. I got excited when I get excited, I tend to start to shake; then my nerves get bad which makes it very different to speak, so by the time we got back to class I could not even breath, let alone talk to him. He almost had to give me CPR. 

When I got to high school, the children were just bizarre. At this age in teenagers’ lives, they don’t care about anybody but themselves. Sometimes I felt as though I had a disease, especially with guys. The girls were not that bad; it was more the guys that gave me trouble. For example, it’s hard to get dates when you have this person that shakes every time a cute guy comes along and says “hi”, and it takes all you have not to be nervous and move around uncontrollably. But when all the focus is on not moving and also trying to stay in your wheelchair, then when you try to talk, you lose it all, and the guy you were impressing just walks away. Another perfect example is when a girlfriend of mine knew I liked this guy that helps in homeroom, a classroom for disabled students go when they have problems with other classes or anything else that might happen to pop up.  One time we were watching, a movie, and this guy was sitting in front of my girlfriend and me while watching this movie. Lisa, my girlfriend, decided to tease me about telling him that I liked him. Well, Lisa wasn’t teasing; she told him right then and there. Let’s just say he was a little shocked; he didn’t even look at me for two weeks. I guess he never had a girl with a disability like him before. Some teachers were not quite the best at understanding either. The one that comes to mind was a math teacher; the second I got in his class, he ask me if I could write, of course, I replied no; the next thing I knew, I was out there. That was okay by me because the replacement teacher I had was great; I even got a “B” out of the class. 

There were so many other reactions that I have gotten from different kinds of people. For instance, when I’m at the Valley Plaza, I got some of the funniest glances. I recall this girl that was by me who had this strange look on her face, it was as if she saw an alien from outer space, all the while, still walking to where ever she was going. People, young and old, would look and comment on how I would do things, like if I took too long to get my money out to pay for something. Sometimes when people get impatient, I have even more time to get my money out. That’s what gets their pants or dress in an uproar. Also, there have been times when people will come up to my money for no apparent reason at all. My favorite one was when I was buying a Christmas present for an ex-boyfriend of mine,   and the gentleman offered to pay for the gift just because he wanted to. 

I may have been coping with my disability, but it wasn’t until I got to Bakersfield College that I accepted my disability, but it wasn’t until I got to Bakersfield college that I accepted my disability. B.C. was something new and different than what I was accustomed to in high school, or elementary school. At first, I was a little bit hesitant to go on, but I knew if I didn’t go on, I would just be sitting around the house doing absolutely nothing but watching soaps all day. Not that I don’t watch them anyway, but at least that’s not all that I do. I have learned so much, not just from classes that I have taken, but from people who were in the boat as I am. I was amazed at how many people went to B.C. that had disabilities of some kind or another. I started to meet new people that had the same issues as I did, and I felt good that I wasn’t alone. I also got to know some of the people who worked at the college and that is when I felt more comfortable with my disability. Joyce Kirst, an instructor for the High Tech Center gave me my first job. After working there for a few semesters, she entered me in this contest that had a brand new IBM home computer for the prize. When I won, I had to make a speech in front of twenty or more people. My first thought was Joyce, you had to be kidding, I had never made that kind of speech in my life. I practiced what was going to say for a week. Finally, when I made it, I could not stop; people probably would never shut up. At least I did get over my shyness, even though people probably would like to have seen me a little shyer. 

I began to open up to a whole new area in my life. On the weekends I started staying at a girlfriend’s house, and some of my other friends took us to my first bar, and to say the least, I was astonished at the way that people acted. When we first went in, they were saying “why would they come they come in this bar or something to that effect. When a few hours passed, and everybody had time to get a few drinks down their throats, it started to get exciting. While sitting at our table, people would be dancing and coming up to us to ask if we wanted to dance with them. At first, I was thinking how it would be so funny to see someone in a wheelchair that was a little bit drunk trying to dance. But one of my friends said to me, “Kim”, we can dance just like anyone else, if don’t like me, that’s their problem, not ours. We have just as much right to have fun as anybody else in this bar does. From that night on, I didn’t feel as different from the people that were in the bar. 
     I had my first steady boyfriend when I was in my second year at Bakersfield College. He was a character, me that people with disabilities do not have to sit at home and stare at the wall. Every weekend you would see him either at a party or at a local dance club. If he wasn’t at a party or a bar, he would be out on Chester Avenue cruising with all the teenagers blasting his stereo. You could him coming a mile away. People would stop and stare at what was coming down the street. He wasn’t afraid of anything he got a kick out of people coming up to him and asking about the stereo that he had put on his wheelchair One time he told me that a police officer stopped him for having his stereo up too loud while going down the streets. There were a couple of when I and a girlfriend would go with him. Well, let’s just say I didn’t like to be noticed, more of the background type and watch. 
      I have learned a lot from other people’s reactions toward me; some were good and others were bad. For instance, instance, I’m not able to drive, I take either Get-A-Lift or the city bus. Which I never had an issue with until this one particular Saturday when a friend and her husband wanted me to come to see their apartment, I got ready that morning and got on the city bus. I wasn’t too sure where they lived because I wasn’t too familiar with the south side of Bakersfield, so when I got downtown I wasn’t too sure what bus to take. Once I figured out the route, I was on my way. When I arrived at their apartment, to my surprise, they were not even home. By that time, I was not too happy, I was upset and frustrated that I went all the way over for nothing. I wasn’t sure what time the bus was going to be coming back around, so I went back to the spot I had gotten off. I was angry and hot of course with those combinations my body moves out of control, much more when I am nervous. When I saw the bus coming I tried to get on.  When the bus stopped, the Driver asked me if I wanted on. At first, I wanted to ask him if he was going to the plaza. But because he had trouble understanding me. So another rider told him that he thought I asked if he was going to the plaza, he looked at me and I said, “Yes”. While I was trying to get myself on the bus, the handle that was on my control box had come off of my wheelchair. Of course, I had trouble putting the damn thing back on. When I finally got myself situated, I could hear people talking about how I should not be by myself. This woman sitting across from me kept asking if I knew where I was going and if I knew where I lived 

      While I was in elementary school before we intergraded. A man came to our classroom to talk about a wheelchair football team. He wanted to know if any of us would like to join the team. It was something new and sounded like it could be fun. We would practice on Fridays after school, for me it was a time I got to spend with friends out of school which I wouldn’t have otherwise wouldn’t have done.  I’m not sure how long we had been a team when the coach said that we were going to have a prom and that we all had to have dates. At first, I wasn’t sure who I would go with. One day we were all waiting for the bus to go home from school. Larry and I were sitting on the grass, and that’s when ask him if he would like to go with me to the dance. He said he would like to go if he didn’t have to go in for surgery, I was so excited that was smiling all the way home.
            My Mom took me shopping for a dress. We happen to see a lime green skirt paired with a matching top that had lace going around the whole outfit with a pair of black shoes. Everything was going well until we went to practice the day before the dance. Were all sitting around waiting to start practice when the coach said he just needed to ask if everyone was ready for tomorrow and if we all had dates. All you could hear in the gym was all of us yelling Yeah, but I overheard Larry talking to other people and saying that he was taking someone else. I was crushed. Sissy, a woman that came to help out will saw how upset I was getting. She asked if I was OK, I explained what I heard and that I didn’t know what I was going to do. She hugged me and said that it was going to be fine. I’m not sure what happened, because once the coach found out, he said not to worry and that he would take care of it.

            The next day, My Mom dropped me off at Sissy’s to get ready for the dance. So after Sissy helped me get dressed, we took off for the dance. As we were walking in with my walker, that’s when Larry walked up to me and asked if he could walk me to my seat. In my head, I wanted to scream, but I was nice and let him. I do remember that there was a boy at the table waiting for me to be my date. Although the night wasn’t as I had planned, the rest of the night was fun.
            I’m not sure of the time frame, it might have been a week or so that at school a boy came to me and asked if I would come with him that Larry had something to tell me. Of course, I was curious as to what he may say, so I went with him to see what Larry had to say. Well he was acting so nervous, I just was sitting there waiting for him to speak. When he finally didn’t he said that he liked me. All I was able to do was laugh, it wasn’t probably the best way to handle that situation, but I could not help it. As the bell went off to go back to class, the boy told me I wasn’t being nice. I was walking with my walker so it was hard for me to speak, so I couldn’t explain why I did what did. Do I wish I could go back and do things differently, don’t we all?

A Graduation and a vacation  image
Thursday, January 05, 2023
           Time has a way of slipping by in a blink of an eye. We were fortunate enough to be able to watch and help Meghan grow up. I was so delighted to be an Aunt and was able to help raise her since I wasn’t able to have children of my own. We all were so lucky that Meghan came into our lives. She had and continues to bring joy to our lives. I remember when I gave a bottle to her, Tanice asked me if I wanted to try it. Of course, I said,  “Yes, I’ll try”, and my sister handed me the bottle. It was one of those bottles that you put the bag into the bottle and then you fill with formula. The way the bottle was made, helped me be able to feed her by first laying it on Meghan’s chest, once it was aligned with her chin, I was able to put the bottom of the bottle in my mouth to hold so that I could rest the bottle with my chin while she was drinking her bottle.
As Meghan was growing up, reading was a significant part of her bedtime routine. Mom would read to her, but instead of just reading to her, Mom would read a page then Meghan would read a page. Mom felt that reading to children as early as possible would greatly prepare any child for life. It also helped that she had a few wonderful teachers to help her love the art of reading and comprehending the material of what she was reading. Which I believe that it had helped her throughout her school career. Later, it helped her in her career choice. Once she got older, bath time was something I could help with, and I enjoyed helping Meghan with her bath. She was old enough to take a bath on her own, but still needed help washing up, so I would help her wash her hair. Let me tell you, Meghan was a trooper, I would wash her hair, of course, with my cerebral palsy, and my hands shake, so sometimes I would pull her hair. Believe it or not, she never complained about it. There was a time when I did feel awful. We were all typing to potty train her, so when I would take Meghan to the bathroom, I would try to take her once an hour so that she could get used to the idea of going. Once we were playing and it was time to go to the bathroom, she told me no. I just tried to explain why we had to follow a schedule, but she did not. Of course, I was getting a bit frustrated will her, so I probably said and did what I shouldn’t have done.  I looked at her and said, “Meghan come on, let’s go,” she looked at me and said, “No”.  At this time, I was getting upset and said, “If you don’t, I’m going to paddle your bottom”. Meghan looked at me and said, “No you won’t”.  Well, I took the palm of my hand and pat her bottom. Oh wow, Meghan looked at me with this look like you did that. She wasn’t hurt, just in shock that I did it. From that moment and beyond, she was good to go to the bathroom. They are so many moments that were special with Meghan that I will never forget.
     When Joe was working downtown at the super attendants of schools, he was able to get Meghan into the downtown elementary. Where she had a very good teacher that taught her to read well and believed in giving homework. Which I feel helps Meghan with the foundation of her love for reading. With the understanding and comprehension of reading and how she loves it. Has opened so many doors for her. In her high school years, she was in FFA, which I believe gives kids responsibility to carry throughout their lifetime. 
While Meghan was going to Bakersfield College, she took a few art courses since she loved photography. She enjoyed taking pictures, so when her instructor told the class for extra credit, they could go down to L.A. to go to Paris Photos, which happened to be on the paramount lot. So Mom, Tanice, Meghan, and I took a trip to see the artwork. Meghan was off doing what she needed to do Tanice, Mom, and I was looking around, and oftentimes Mom hangs our purses off the back of my wheelchair I felt her hand which I thought meant that she wanted to grab her purse. It was like she had been frozen, which is not like my Mom. She just saw a man that happened to be on one of my soaps it was so funny that I was bending over laughing. Tanice was saying how crazy we both were. Once Mom got her composer back, she felt bad that I didn’t see him and that she pushed me around trying to show me different TV stars, but I was too busy laughing my head off to notice. 
The week before Meghan went off to a university,  I was going through some health issues that led me to need surgery. I had to spend two or three nights in the hospital. Mom, Tanice, and Meghan spent all day while I was in surgery and that whole day. Of course, Mom stayed that first night. Then Meghan told her Grandma that she would come back after the hockey game and stay overnight so that she could go home to get sleep since she wasn’t able to get any sleep while she was with me in the hospital. The day I got to come home, which was a Saturday, of course, hospitals as one could imagine, the hospital admiration doesn’t move too quickly. I knew they had  another that night so we were trying to get out as soon as possible so that they could go. When the doctor came to release me, they took off to get things from home and get the car close to where Tanice could get me into the car, we were off to the races. Once we got home and I was in bed with Mom at my side. They all were able to go to the hockey game. 
We all knew the day would come when it was time for Meghan to go to college. It took every one of us to either support her financially and supportive to get her there, of course, that is what family does for their own. We all need to band together to help each other when needed. As a family, we all knew it would take all of us to help Meghan go to her choice of school after high school and Bakersfield College. Joe, her Grandpa, which she calls Popo, always told Meghan, he would pay for her to go to a four-year college. I’m not sure why my Brother-in-law Rob and Tanice bought a condo in Las Vegas, which was an excellent move for Meghan. Another way that she was able to go to school was the fact that Popo told her that he had a college fund for her, which made it easier for her to go. Everyone played a role in getting Meghan into college. Not to leave out Meghan herself that worked hard throughout her school career while holding down a job. 
The week before Meghan went off to a university,  I was going through some health issues that led me to need surgery. I had to spend two or three nights in the hospital. Mom, Tanice, and Meghan spent all day while I was in surgery and that whole day. Of course, Mom stayed that first night. Then Meghan told her Grandma that she would stay overnight so that Mom could go home to get sleep since she wasn’t able to sleep in the hospital. A Nurse tried to find a more comfortable chair for her to sit in, but she wasn’t able to find one, so she just bared with what was in the room, like my Mom the night been.  Luckily for my sister Tanice, I could go home that evening. Although, my sister did help me into the car to come home. I know it was hockey season because as soon as we got home, they all went to the game except for Mom. 
I’m not sure why, but I was caught off guard. That following Monday, she left for Las Vegas. I’m not sure why I was shocked by her leaving for Vegas, and I didn’t like to see her go. As my Mom said, it was time for her to go and spread her wings. I’m not sure why Meghan decided to go to Las Vegas University.  She was going to be a teacher.  After looking at the options, special education was the way to go since there would always be a need for teachers. It’s a career she could go wherever she likes and have a great job.            
             As I get older, it has become much more difficult to go places due to my body breaking down from overuse of my bones, so without help. it’s been harder for me to get around like I used to because I have overused my bones. So over the years, I have become more dependent on others. For instance, if I need to go anywhere, someone has to lift me into the car. It has been an adjustment because of how I used to be. So when we found out that Meghan was going to graduate in December, of course, we all were so excited for her knowing how hard she had worked to get a diploma while holding down jobs. My Mom commented that she didn’t know any other kid that a parent could send their kid to Las Vegas and do so well. Of course, Meghan is not the type to party, she’s responsible and that’s why she already has a teaching job at a school for the mentally disabled. She’s been teaching for some time. Meghan has a dog name Jov, she takes him to the dog park once in a while. She happened to meet a woman who taught at a special education school. Meghan got talking to her about school and other things and explained what she was going to school for. The woman said Meghan possibly be able to apply for a teaching position at the same school. Of course, Meghan had some idea of what to expect from talking to her Grandma about me and what she went through with my situation going to a special education school and all it tells. Fortunately, when she went to a job fair, with resumes in hand, and found that she had three options waiting for her, one of the three schools happened to be the same school that the woman in the park worked at.
Two weeks before Christmas, Mom and I followed Rob and Tanice to Las Vegas to see Meghan graduate from LVU. We spent almost a week there since that Meghan lives in a condo that Rob had invested in which made it nice for Meghan not to have to pay rent somewhere. We stay at a hotel since the condo has stairs which would be difficult, so Mom and I stayed at a hotel, which was very nice. I was kind of concerned about getting in and out of the car every day because I usually get sore after getting in once in a while. Thank goodness for my sister, Tanice was able to pick me up to get me into the car every day that we were there. I had a great time, Rob, my Brother-in-law, drove us everywhere. We went to the strip a few times, the newer part which has a lot of shops like the Coke store and the Hershey store and others. Was decided to try different cokes that were made in all the countries in the world. I think Rob was surprised that I tried them all, there were a few that they could tell by my face, I didn’t like we all laughed and agreed. That night, they asked me if I wanted to go somewhere else to get out. I just couldn’t do it, so Rob took us up and down the strip acting like a tour guide telling us where we were, he even showed us the restaurant Hell’s Kitchen is filmed. It was fun. The only thing I didn’t do was, I’m not sure why, but there is always next time.
On the day of the graduation, where later in the afternoon we all went to the college to watch our baby switch to a full flitch adult even though she’s been an adult for some time now, which is hard to believe.

 There was a grand opening at a store downtown, Joe and Tanice went to see what it was all about. While they were there, they entered a contest to win a pens oil race car built for kids. Lucky enough, they pulled Tanice’s name. Of course, when they brought the car home, all the neighborhood kids that we hung around with since we moved here. We have almost five acres that my great Grandma gave to us, so we have a field in front of our house. Ronnie, who has been one of our neighbors, offered to drive over his tractor to make a track for all the kids to drive this little race car around in this field.     

       The next day we all went back out to drive the car again. I once again tried to get my Mom and Joe to let me drive this car, they finally broke down and let me drive the car. I was so excited that I was going to get to drive the car. Once Joe put me in the car, I took a hold of the wheel with both hands and put one foot on the gas the other on the break. It was going really well. I got out so the others could take their turn. I may have had one or two more chances before what happens will happen. The last time I drove the car, I started out good but for some reason, my hands let go, I wasn’t able to grasp the wheel. Of course that meant that I lost control of the car because I still had my foot on the gas. There was a bob wire fence that surrounded our property and that’s where I ended up. Well at least the front of the car. I wasn’t hurt, the car wasn’t hurt, but it did break because of all the weight of us kids. At least that’s what they told me.    

      When I went to high school, I and a few others needed assistance eating our lunch. Due to the circumstances, they felt it would be best to have a couple of people to assist us in eating in the classroom for a while; to make us feel more comfortable. Everything seemed all right until Jason Wheeler wanted to join the other students in the cafeteria. Of course, we all followed Jason individually since we all wanted to eat lunch in the cafeteria. The students assisting us didn’t want to continue doing the job, which I’m not sure why, I can speculate, but I could not say for sure. Lisa was a girl who came to South High after school began and as far as I knew she seemed to be quiet and shy. Maxine was like a school mother to all of us, if any of us needed any help, she would be there when we needed her. So, when the opportunity came for me to have someone assist me in eating that is how I met one of my best friends. It took a while for Lisa to feel comfortable enough to feel like she could speak freely to me, it was because of her background and what she had told me as to why she was put in a how when they found one, she had MD. I don’t think her parents could not or would not deal with Lisa’s situation. I felt she had a hard childhood. I liked to talk and get to know someone while they were helping me, so I would try to get to know her better. As time went by, Lisa started to be open with me, and that’s when we started to hang out after lunch. I knew that Lisa moved back home from a group home because her parents learned that she had MD which is an awful disability that slowly takes over the body. I didn’t know she had a disability referred to as MD at first. I did notice that she had a little trouble with her balance while she walked, but I wasn’t sure why. After some time, I went to spend the weekend at her house, at that time they were living in Taft which is a little way out of town. Shortly after that Lisa and her mom moved to town. I’m not sure how long after, but her mom got married and moved to Hawaii. Instead of taking Lisa with her, because of school and other things that were going on in each of their lives. That was why her mom set her up in an apartment. By this time, Lisa was using a wheelchair to get around, especially in the bathroom with a big shower. The apartment was nice, it was designed for wheelchair use so everything was with that in mind. When I visited, I loved to use her shower because it was big and had bars that I could hold on to. I know Lisa thought I wanted to be clean or just crazy. When Maxine came to pick us up to drive us to school, Lisa commented to Maxine, I must have liked to be clean because I took a shower every chance I got. Of course, it was high school, so we all know there is always going to be some drama, especially with girlfriends. When I went to South High, a school was deemed for the students who were physically and learning disabilities due to the flat grounds so that it would be easy to get around. Of course, we all took the same P.E. class, and every month we would watch a movie in the classroom. Those who had a class after that and were doing well in the classes that they were supposed to attend could stay and watch the rest of the movie. Lisa and I were sitting together teasing and joking around. She knew I kind of had a crush on a boy who was a student aid in the next-period class. Lisa said she likes you and he heard. I was so embarrassed that I put my head down so I wouldn’t have to see the look on his face. I was so upset at Lisa that I could not even talk to her. Days went by, he would not even look at me. I thought if I asked another friend to tell him it was a joke that I didn’t like him that way, he would go back and treat me like he did before. No, he didn’t, whenever he would hold the door for us, he would look for a way to avoid looking at me. I happened to be going into my locker and I found an envelope that had an invitation to Lisa’s graduation, that’s when I knew I was being ridiculous and needed my friend back. I didn’t go to her graduation since it was that evening. But we became great friends again.  There have been lots of times that Lisa has been there for me, so when I was able to be there for her, I was more than glad too. It’s kind of crazy. Sometimes she would lose her balance which would cause her to fall, and I would need to get the hoist to help her back into her wheelchair. Another time was when she fell out of her bed. She would call me into her room. I would find that she would be half off her bed stuck and she would look at me as she rolled her eyes to say well I did it again. I would crawl over to her to push her back in bed. Of course, we both were laughing so hard that it took us longer to get her back in bed. It was little things that made a friendship like our work. Sometimes it would be hard to read how Lisa was feeling. Sometimes when Mom dropped me off, I would tell Mom she could be in a bad mood. So, when we got to the apartment, I would say to Mom, just don’t say too much. Of course, Mom went in and acted like Mom was at a party. I would watch Lisa’s face to see how she would react. Once I noticed that she had a big grin on her face, I knew she was great. And could she not, Mom has a way able her that people can’t help but smile and laugh. Lisa and I always went somewhere either with other friends or with each other. We had some crazy moments; some were crazier than others. I believe it was my twenty-second birthday. Tanice, my sister threw me a party at a bowling alley that had a bar. She invited a lot of people. Of course, everyone was taking turns buying me drinks, one after another, so I wasn’t feeling any pain, because we were drunk off our asses. Lisa and I both were pounding on a table and saying, “No one is paying attention to me”, I’m sure it was a sight to see. Here are two disabled women sitting at a table drunk and surrounded by people yelling and carrying on like two crazy people that don’t know what they are doing. We often went to bars on Saturday nights to have a good time and to be with other people. Well, there was a time that I happened to not eat and only had a few cokes before we all went out that night. That night, I had a few drinks which were called Blue Hawaii. Come to realize it wasn’t a good idea. I got sick all over the bar's table. My other friend Marilyn helped me outside. While we were waiting for some people, she knew to give me a ride back to Lisa’s apartment, Marilyn was trying to hold my head up with my hair. As someone was assisting me in a car, I recall a voice telling me not to get sick in their car, they gave me a small bucket so if I should get sick, please use that and not the floor of the car. They took me to Lisa’s apartment. That's when Lisa took over taking care of me. That is when she told and guided me by telling me to take a bath. Thank goodness she had a bath chair that lifted me up and down into the tub. When I was done, it lifted me back and down to get to the floor. By that time, I was sober enough to dress and get myself to bed.

     There were some other strange moments, such as we were going back to Lisa's place, one of the ways there is an adult bookstore. Lisa wanted to go in and look around. Of course, being the scary cat that I was to go into those kinds of places, I think I would have been better off going in because when I stayed outside under the lights to wait for Lisa to come out, cars were passing by, which one of the cars had a few guys in one truck calling me names such pervert. It felt so odd because I didn’t even go in. There was a similar time that happened. Except there were a few other people with us. We all went downtown to a bar, and on the way back, Lisa noticed that her wheelchair was running out of power. Guess where we happened to be? Right by a strip club. Of course, I didn’t want to go in, so I stayed outside. I heard this guy saying hello to me, I recognized the voice, it was a man I knew from the camp. I was a little surprised and embarrassed, I explained why I was there. Then he said I should go look in the bookstore, I thought he just wanted to get me out of the eliminated outside, so I started to go in, and my eyes must have been as big as the wheels on my chair. As I started to turn my wheelchair in the bookstore halfway in the doorway, I backed my wheelchair up and then went right back outside to wait for Lisa and the others. I’m not sure who took Lisa home, but we made it home. Lisa was always looking out for me; it seemed as though she knew what I was feeling. I happened to meet a guy that came out here from Texas. Boy, I feel that I was in love. We talked about marriage and things and kids, of course, I wasn’t aware of what he was doing for extra income. What I was told was that he would go around to different mailboxes and somehow get people’s checking. That’s probably how he bought my Christmas present, who knows. Anyway, I think it was the day before New Year’s Eve and I was over Lisa’s planning what we were going to do. I believe that it was the night that Lisa got a phone call from Tim which is the name of the I was dating, his roommate called Lisa saying that Tim was gone. Lisa and I both replied, “Where “. All I heard was he went back home to Texas. Of course, we both were in shock. So, I asked if he and Harvy could come over to explain what was happening. When they arrived, to be honest, I don’t remember what was even said. Harvy took me for a car ride to help clear my mind, but I don’t remember even talking or asking why, he just let me look out the window. After a while, he asked if I was ready to go back and I nodded my head yes, and he took me back.  The next day Lisa asked me if I wanted to go next door because we knew the guy was having a party. She thought it had taken my mind off Tim and what had happened in the last twenty-four hours, she made sure if I wanted to go, just give her a look and we would be out and be back in a flash. We did go and I was trying to enjoy the party, I believe we ended up staying for an hour or more. I was looking around, and people were having a great time. I just couldn’t. Lisa looked at me and knew it was time to go. We told ourselves home and before we each went to bed, we looked at each other and said, “Happy New Year”. No matter what goes on within your life, the world does go on. Time went by and had stayed in my little bubble getting over Tim, which wasn’t worth my time. I finally went back over to Lisa’s again. I did notice that things with Lisa were getting worse, she told me that it helped her when I came over because she felt safe to get out of her chair to sit on the sofa. I encouraged her to do so because I thought it would be good for her. I felt it was important to feel independent for as long as she possibly could. Time went by we both met boyfriends. From time to time, her boyfriend would bring Lisa over to my house, Lisa moved to her boyfriend’s house for one reason or another. I think some of them were for the support. One morning, we woke up to snow on the ground of Bakersfield California, which rarely happens here. Meghan wasn’t that old; my mom had dressed her to play in the snow. I was sitting in the doorway of our house watching Meghan play. I don’t remember seeing Lisa playing in looking like she was having fun. I think that was the last time I saw her. I heard that she had an enlarged heart. I’m not sure how long she had it, I feel it was there longer than they realized. She passed away shortly after. It was difficult to lose her, it was losing a part of the family. I will always remember what we shared all the great times, not some great times. 

The Lessons She Had Taught Me and Also Being A Great Friend

Marilyn image
Marilyn, An Friend Of Mine
When I was a baby, my parents thought that there was something seriously wrong because I wasn’t able to roll over, sit, crawl or let alone start to stand. So of course, they decided to take me to a doctor. As soon as he held me up, he asked Mom to look at my legs and how they crossed. He explained that I had cerebral palsy, and that it may mean that she will need to care for me all her life. Well, Mom was so relieved that I was going to be okay, she took me over to my grandparents’ house to show what happened at that doctor’s and explained what the doctor told her. She even showed how my legs crossed and emphasized that I would be okay. I did learn to crawl and do small things, but for the most part my Mom and others took care of me up until I was ten or so. I was able to learn to do things such as drinking out of a straw and pushing a walker. I learned how to do things that could make my life a little easier. It was during school when I met Marilyn. She also had cerebral palsy and we became close friends. It was to the point that some people would even think we were sisters because of our similarities. We liked playing together and oftentimes I would spend time over at her house. The first time I went over to Marilyn’s house I overheard her Mom say, if Kim needs any help, it's up to you to help her. In my mind I thought if Marilyn could dress herself, then why couldn't I? So from that moment on, I dressed myself the best that I could, even if it took me an extra hour or more to do it. It was thanks to Marilyn that I wanted to be more independent and try to do different things for myself.
There were so many instances that I was so amazed by her. I remember a time when we had gone into her kitchen to get something to drink, I was wondering if her Mom was going to come help us. No, Marilyn walked to the refrigerator and took out the carton of milk and two cans of pepsi, then she poured them together. To my surprise, I liked it. We often sat in her room just talking about boys and what we would do when we both turned twenty-one. We also shared thoughts of having our own apartment and how we could go out to bars, meeting new people, especially new boys. When we were in high school, Marilyn had a manual wheelchair and I had an electric wheelchair. So what she would do is hang on to the back of my wheelchair so I could pull her wherever we needed to go. Most of the kids that saw us thought, ‘there goes those twins again’. Marilyn’s family was always really kind to me. I had really long hair and I had thought about getting it cut before. But somehow my Mom was able to make me feel like I didn’t want to cut my hair. So when I found out that Pat, Marilyn’s Mom, was a hairdresser, I talked with my Mom and cut my hair. Grant you, I didn’t cut the back at first, I had her feather the sides and the top. That lasted for a while, then I had her cut the back into a bob hairstyle. Pat was a very nice person, she would have given you the shirt off her back if you needed it.
Marilyn and I had a lot of fun together. Such as the time we decided to go out to a bar called Roxannes; it was a country western bar that had a dance area. I had been there a few times before and always had a good time. One of my cousins was staying with us and was talking to my Mom thinking she could be of help to us in case we needed it. So Mom thought that it would be okay for us to go and if we did need some help, she would be there. Mom drove my cousin and me to the bar and Marilyn had her Mom drop her off. In the meantime, as we were waiting for Marilyn, my cousin had some drinks. I was waiting for Marilyn before starting to drink. Well, by the time Marilyn got there, my cousin already had too much to drink. When Marilyn came, she asked me where my cousin was and I said that she had gone to the bathroom. We were talking about ordering drinks, but before we decided to order, Marilyn thought she would go see what was keeping my cousin. When she went to the bathroom, Marilyn found her passed out in a stall. She then got out of her wheelchair to crawl under the bathroom stall to unlock the door. Marilyn managed to get my cousin back to the table. Marilyn had to find someone to call my Mom since this all took place before we had cell phones. Once Mom got there and assumed Marilyn was more intoxicated than she actually was. All Mom thought of was how Marilyn took valium, something we both took to help control our shakiness. While Mom was pushing and pulling Marilyn to the car, she was kind of scolding Marilyn for drinking too much. Marilyn and I both were trying to tell Mom that it wasn’t Marilyn. That is when she finally looked up and noticed that my cousin was barely able to walk to the car. So Mom took Marilyn home without her even getting a drink.
Now, when I sometimes wake up in the morning, I have some songs in my head that Marilyn would break out singing. One of the songs was Bad Boys, What Are You Going to Do When They Come for You. The other one was my favorite, which was Country Roads Take Me Home by John Denver. I would love to think she’s home now with her family and friends, doing things she may not have been able to do here on earth

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Maria Lemley A Friend of Mine image
     Maria and I met when we were in grade school and became friends. I’m not sure when it began, but I started to go over to her house every Friday to just hangout. Jan, her Mom was always so nice to spend time with us to make sure we had fun. I do recall a moment when we were in Maria’s backyard, something was wrong with her electric wheelchair; it kept going around in circles. Here was Jan trying to reach for the switch while chasing the wheelchair around. While this was going on, we were laughing so hard that we all were crying. Of course Jan had to call someone to fix it, so that gave us time to calm down. After time went by, Maria and I started going to the movies. I remember a time when we were deciding which movie we wanted to see. It was the movie Road House because we both had a crush on Patrick Swayz. I’ll be honest, I had a crush on Sam Eliot also, so I didn’t care what it was about, I just knew there were two good looking guys and we both came out with big grins on our faces.
When Maria and her family decided to move to Colorado. Jan threw a farewell party for Maria’s classroom. I wasn’t too happy about it. So when Jan later on tried to find a picture to put in a locket for me, she couldn’t find one picture without me crying. So we both had a picture with me crying and probably thinking this girl’s crazy.
When Maria and her family moved back to Bakersfield when Maria graduated from high school. She began going to Bakersfield College, which is where I found out that she was back in town. I remember that she needed some help with math, I’m not really sure why I got the job especially when I’m not great with math. Maria and her Mom gave me a chance. I would go to her house and try to figure out how to explain math when I wasn't that good myself. It did help me, she had a math program on her computer and it helped me more than I helped her. To completely understand the situation, Maria had cerebral palsy and one of the effects was not having the ability to communicate, so she had a board on her tray with the alphabet, so that she could spell out the words that she needed to use so she could get what she needed and wanted. This was before we had communication devices, if they were really low technology. Not like today that now you’re able to have a communication device practically in your back pocket. It’s not quite as simple for Maria and I because of our CP, but at least you get the point. Going back to what I was going to say. I believe it was around the same time. Maria and I were waiting for our bus to go back to her house. I noticed that she was looking at me with a look of concern on her face. I had explained that I would give the driver five minutes more, then I would go call the Get-A-Lift to see what time they would be there. I just didn’t want to leave and they came while I was in the office they would be driving in. Oftentimes, I would go to call to see where they were, while I was calling, they would come and go. After we got to her house, I had learned that Maria wasn’t really happy with me. She thought I was mad at her. And I said “no not at all”. I am sorry that you felt that way. Of course after we talked, we went and studied our math.
I do remember a time when Maria’s parents went out of town. Jan and John asked my Mom to come sit with Maria for the weekend so that they would feel comfortable for them and Maria as well. Of course I went with my Mom. We all had fun except when Maria had to use the bathroom, so Mom took her to help Maria into the bathroom. Somehow, Mom had Maria end up in Mom’s lap. I was in the doorway waiting for them to finish, so when it happened we all started laughing. Here was Mom holding Maria and trying not to laugh so she tried to pick her up so she could reposition Maria to lift her back up to sit her on the toilet which all was successful . I often wondered if Maria was thinking “these girls are crazy”!
John and Jan bought a three wheeler, we used to have a big field in the back of our property. So they came over to try it out and to give me a ride. I believe John took the bike for a ride first so he would know what to expect. He came back to put me on the bike with him, he tied a soft robe to put around us so I would not fall when he was driving. Of course, when you’re going up and down in a field that was full of dirt roads and has lots of bumpy hills that others had ridden before. And having a great time. You don’t expect to tip over backwards. John fell on his back, I fell on him. So he had to untie us so he could get the bike back up right, once he did that and got me back on the bike, we headed back to the house. Other than the fall, I had a blast. Another time was when John and Jan took Maria and me to Las Vegas. I’m not sure what the reason was, but I felt lucky to be invited to go along, which I was so elated about going with Maria. Since there were two of us in wheelchairs, each of them took one of us to play in the casino. Jan took Maria to play slots and John took me to play black jack, it was so much fun. Thinking back now, I’m pretty sure we went in November, because on the way home, Jan was reading to us the ballot so we all understood what we were voted for.
I was saddened to find out that Maria had cancer. Sometimes I wonder why things like cancer or other illnesses would take someone like that who already had a life that was difficult, but I suppose that’s up to God and what you believe in. Life is so precious and short. That is one thing about Facebook that I do appropriate, which is people can keep informed with what's going on with each other without being too worried about not infringing on their privacy. I would check Facebook on a daily basis so that I could keep up to date with what was happening with Maria and everyone around her. I knew it would be so hard on her parents. Jan would put pictures up on Facebook, especially the one with her looking up at her Dad, which was so sweet. It was too hard for me to hold back the tears.
My Mom asked me if I would like for her to take me to the funeral, I looked at my Mom to say that I don’t think I could. I realize out of respect, I probably should have gone; it’s just I’m not good at going to funeral’s. The day of the funeral, I was looking around to see what was on television and I came across the mini-series of north and south. I knew that Maria loved that series, so when I watched it all, I thought to myself, this one's for you!
On my mind
Sometimes I wonder how we, the American people, let this beautiful country get into the mess we are in today. So many things could be the problem. Our children, our society, but we all have some blame to share. I don't know when we lost family values, but we want to return to being kind and compassionate towards our neighbors.
Technology has been a terrific thing, it has made my life easier, especially for other people like me who have physical disabilities. The biggest would be communicating with family and friends to be able to talk to my doctor or refill my medication, which makes me feel a little independent. Of course, with all the good sides to everything, there's a bad side to technology. People for the most part are good, but there are people out there who make it difficult because they want to use it as a weapon to hurt people by getting their information to either use it against you or try to earn your trust. I do like AI, I use it to help with writing, no matter if it’s an article or I’m emailing even on Facebook, it has helped me sound better. As many know, it can cause chaos in people's lives. That is why you need to make up your own mind and understand what is being said to make your own decision.