Special Gathering Stories

Books and articles written for and by the mentally challenged community

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Circle of Chalk–Chapter 4

By E. Williams

(Chapter 1 began on June 4.  To read the complete story, begin on that date.)

I took Betty upstairs to my room to get her settled.  She dragged one foot a little when she walked.  She came upstairs slowly, putting bother feet on each step.  “Pretty room,” she said.

“This is your bed.  You can use this dresser.”  I started to unpack her suitcase.  But she took the things from my hands.

“I do it,” she said.  I watcher her foldl her clothes carefully and put them away in neat piles.

“At least, you’re not messy,” I said.  I thought about my own tumbled dresser drawers and decided to do a little straightening when I had time.

“Look, Betty.”  I took a chalk and drew a line on the carpet around my bed, my desk, dressing table and chest of drawers.  “This is my side of the room.  Don’t go over this line.  Don’t touch any on my things.  Do you understand?”

Betty nodded.  “All right, Leah.  I not touch your things.  I not go over line.  You not come my side.  You not touch my things.”

This wasn’t exactly what I had intended, but it sounded fair enough. “Come on, then.  Let’s go downstairs.  I have to help get dinner.”


Circle of Chalk–Chapter 2

(Chapter 1 began on June 4.  To read the complete story, begin on that date.)

By E. Williams

“Tell her how you feel about it,” Tammy always says.  She’s my best friend.  What Tammy doesn’t understand is that Mom really believes I’m totally glad to help whenever I’m needed.  Mom has this great opinion of me, and I can’t seem to find a way to tell her I’m not all that big hearted.

She was on the phone when I came home from school.  I listened a little, and I knew I was in for it again.

“I’ll come right over and get her, Enid.  Don’t you worry about a thing!  She can sleep in Leah’s room.  That way, she won’t be alone.  Leah will be glad to have the company and we’ll take great care of her.  You just put your mind on getting well.  You know we’ll all be praying that God will be with you through the operation.”

She hung up the phone and turned to me.  “That was Enid Matthews, honey.  She’s go to go to the hospital right away.  She doesn’t have anyone to take care of her daughter.  I’m going after her now.”

“Mom!” I stared at her, unable to believe my ears. “Mom, Betty Matthews is retarded!  You can’t let her stay here.  There are places for people like that…”

My voice trailed away when I saw the look in Mom’s eyes.  She doesn’t often get mad, but when she does her eyes can shoot flames.

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that, Leah,  Betty is a sweet girl who just happens to have Down’s Syndrome.  She has feelings just like you do, and I expect you to treat her with the utmost courtesy.”

Mom grabbed her purse and went out th door in a rush.  I sank down on a chair by the kitchen table and groaned.


Circle of Chalk–Chapter 1

By E. Williams

My mom is a great person, but she has this one big fault.  Every time she hears about anyone in trouble she thinks she has to do something to help.

No one in our whole church has visited more hospitals, sat by more sickbeds, carried more meals to others, hunted up more clothing for those in need…I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

My problem with all this isn’t that she neglects our family for others.  She would never do that.  What she does is get the whole family involved.  She gets Dad to fix cars.  He does the plumbing and carpentry work.  She gets Richy, my 16 year old brother, to mow lawns, take care of pets and help move furniture.

I’m the one she calls on to do babysitting and run errands.  I didn’t mind when I was young; but I’m 15 now.  I want time to myself and time to hang out with my friends.  I’m not mean.  I don’t mind helping people if they let me know in advance so that I can fit them into my schedule. But with Mom everything is always an emergency.

She’s forever taking in people who need a bed for a night or two and have nowhere else to go.  We have a room in the attic she calls the “prophet’s chamber.” Yet, somehow the overflow always ends up sleeping in my room because I have twin beds.  I’ve spent a lot of time and most of my allowance fixing up my room.  I want to be able to enjoy it alone or with my friends.  The ones I choose.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.