Special Gathering Stories

Books and articles written for and by the mentally challenged community

Archive for June, 2008

The Elder Son–Chapter 5

By E. Williams

This book began on June 24, to begin at Chapter 1, click here.

Janet and I had always been good students.  I tried hard in school because I knew it would please Mom and Dad.  The Bible said that whatever you do, you should do with all your might.  I wanted to please Jesus, too.

It was the rule that homework had to be done right after dinner, before Janet and I could do anything else.  We had done it together on the dining room table.  This worked out very well for me, because If I had questions, I could ask Janet.  She would always know the answers.

But now it seemed that Janet didn’t have much homework.  She said she had done it in school, or her teachers didn’t give any.  She made a face if I asked her for help, and she spent most of her time in her room with the door locked.  I couldn’t talk to her.  It seemed as if she didn’t like me any more.

The principal of the school called Dad one night.  “I’m sorry to bother you at home,” he said.  “I’m worried about Janet.  I’ve sent several notes home asking you to come in and talk to me, but you’ve never answered.”

“I haven’t gotten any notes,”  Dad said.  He sounded puzzled.  “Is something wrong?”

“Janet’s grades have dropped.  She’s not turning in her homework and when I try to talk to her, she won’t give me any answers.  She was supposed to make up the work she missed when she was sick, but she hasn’t done it.”

“Janet hasn’t been sick,”  Dad said.  “She’s been in school every day this year.”

“She’s been out six days in the last three weeks. The teacher said that she’s always brought a note from home signed by her mother.”



Elder Son–Chapter 4

By E. Williams

(This book began on June 24.  You may want to begin reading at Chapter 1)

“What happened, Nina?”  Mom asked.  “Why are you crying?”

I couldn’t tell her all of it.  I couldn’t tell her Janet was mad because I caught her smoking a cigarette.

“Janet wants me to knock before I go into her room, Mom.  She says she needs a place to be alone.”

Mom laughed.  “Is that all?  That’s natural, dear.  There’s a big change in girls in the middle teen years. Janet’s becoming more independent.  She’s getting ready to make a change from being Mama’s little girl to a woman who’ll be able to stand on her own feet.  You’ll feel the same way as you get older.”

I might want more privacy when I get older, I thought, but you’ll never catch me smoking a cigarette.  I thought about the pictures I’d seen at school.  The tissue in a normal lung was pink.  A heavy smoker had a black scarred lung.  A girl would have to be crazy to hurt her body like that.

I knew Janet kept on smoking.  She was good at hiding it, but we shared the same bathroom.  I smelled the smoke more than once.  I tried to talk to her again about how bad for her health the habit could be.

“Stop bugging me, Nina,” she said.  “I’m going to run my own life and I don’t need any help.”

Should I talk to Mom and Dad about it?  I didn’t know what to do.  When my brother, Ron, came home from Bible college for Thanksgiving, I tried to get an answer.

“Ron,”  I said, “if you know someone who was doing something wrong would you tell their parents?”

“That’s a hard question, honey.  I guess it would depend on who they were and what they were doing.  Do you want to tell me about it?”

I really did want to tell him about Janet, but somehow I couldn’t be a tattletale.  “No,” I said.  “Not right now.  Maybe, I will later.”

The Elder Son–Chapter 3

I couldn’t believe Janet would smoke a cigarette.  I had never heard Mom or Day say we couldn’t smoke.  It was just taken for granted that it was a thing a Christian boy or girl wouldn’t do.

Janet didn’t even seem sorry or ashamed.  “It’s no big deal,” she said.  “I just wanted to try one and see what it was like.”

“Where did you get cigarettes?  You can’t buy them until you’re older.”

“Gary gave them to me.”

Gary was the son of old friends of Mom and Dad who went to our church.  He had belonged to our youth group until the last year or so.  He told everyone that since he was working part time to buy a car he didn’t have time for church parties any more.

He had always been Janet’s special friend.  Now that she was sixteen, she would be allowed to date him for school affairs, although she would have a strict curfew, a time when she would have to be home at night.

“But Janet!”  I said.  “Gary knows that’s against the law!  Besides, you know it isn’t good for you.”

“Mind your own business, Nina!  And another thing, I wish you’d knock before you come into my room.  I’m getting older and I need a little place where I can be alone.  And don’t you dare tell Mom or Dad about this or you’ll be sorry.”

I stared at her, trying to find a reason for her mean words.  This wasn’t Janet.

“I wouldn’t ever tell on you,”  I said slowly.  “You know that.  I’m sorry.  I’ll knock the next time.”

I went down to the kitchen.  My feelings were hurt and I couldn’t help crying a little.  Mom noticed at once, of course.

The Elder Son–Chapter 2

This book began on June 24.  You will want to go there to start this book.

by E. Williams

I remembered the years we had all camped out in the mountains by a lake.  We’d had such fun hiking and climbing, and Dad had taught us to fish.  The next year we’d gone to the beach and played in the surf and looked for seashells.

Even when we stayed home, we had good times.  The church was the center of our lives, and we all believed in Jesus.

I hadn’t taken all my blessings for granted, either.  Every night I had thanked God in my prayers for such wonderful parents and for a brother like Ron and a sister like Janet.

She is only fifteen months older than I am.  Until the trouble started, I’d always thought her the perfect big sister.  We had gone to the same school, been in the same youth group and sang in the junior choir at church.  We had shared toys when we were little and traded clothes as we grew older. We had never had a bad fight.

I tried to remember when Janet had started to change.  The day after her sixteenth birthday party was the first time I had noticed anything wrong.  If there were earlier signs, our whole family had missed them.

I had needed help with a math problem, and I opened her door to see if she were there.  Even though her window was open, I smelled the smoke before I saw her.

“Something’s burning,” I said, and then I saw the cigarette in an ash tray on her dresser.  “Janet, are you smoking?”


The Elder Son–Chapter 1

Today we begin a new book written by E. Williams.  Enjoy!

“I hate her!” I said.  “Why do you let her come back here? You know she’ll only cause trouble again, and I’m sick and tired of it!”

“Nina, honey!  Don’t talk like that!  Janet’s your sister and she needs your love and help.  We’ve got to…”

I knew it was a bad thing to do, but I grabbed my book bag and went out the door without letting Mom finish.  I knew what she was going to say.  I’d heard it over and over for the last year.

I was too early for school.  No one else was at the bus stop yet.  I always cried when I was mad.  I got out a tissue and wiped the tears away and thought about what I had done.  Half of my mind was still angry with my mother, but the other half was ashamed.  I had never talked to her like that before.

You’re supposed to be a good Christian girl, I said to myself.  You always go to church and read the Bible and tell other kids about Jesus.  What would they think if they heard you scream at your mom like that?  She’s the best mom in the world too.  You know that.

I don’t care, I answered, with the part of me that was still angry.  She’s got to see that I’m her daughter, too; and what I want matters sometimes.  But it’s always Janet, Janet, Janet!  It isn’t fair!

Why, God?  Why did You let this happen to us.  We were such a close and happy family.  Once I read a verse in Psalms, where David said, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places.”  I had always thought God had set my life in a pleasant place, too.  My mom and dad were such good Christians.  My brother, Ron, was going to Bible college to study to be a minister.  Why had God let so much sorrow come to us.  Didn’t it pay to try to serve Him?

I sat down on the bench to wait for the school bus and let my mind go back to the happy times.  I’d thought we were the perfect family; Dad, Mom, my brother, Ron, my sister, Janet and myself.  We’d done everything together.

Tiers bring tears reprint

The Special Gathering Weblog has included an important article regarding your placement in the tier system.  While this is not an advocacy page, we have included it because it is so important to your future well-being.  Go there; show your parents or care giver.  Make a copy and give it to your support-coordinator.

Reflections from Sam

Sam loves opera and eating pizza

Sam loves opera and eating pizza

I like my job working with Rockwell at Easter Seals very much.  I love to work the computer.  I like typing a lot. 

Diane comes to Easter Seals for exercise classes on Tuesday and Thursday and Friday.  There is a money class and an arts and cralfts class.  Sometimes during our break times we watch movies.

Dear Barbara Mitchell helps us with Brevard County Recreation department.

I have a good life.