I lived it.
An excerpt that tells a piece of my story…
I returned to my place to be the next person in line to be seated. “Is your name Ellen Wedemeyer?” she asked. I nodded, too afraid to speak. “Then,” she continued, “you will be having a seat next to Miss Wilson, won’t you?” I walked slowly, giving her enough time to figure out who I was, because as Christian and I had learned, it was far more embarrassing to have the teacher realize she was going to move you, after you had put all of your new school supplies into your desk. Just as I pulled out my chair, Mrs. Verlingeri said, “On second thought, Miss Wedemeyer, just stand over there for a moment.”
The whole class was staring at me and some were whispering. I looked right at Christian because I knew he would be the only one in the room who would understand what I was feeling. The time came for “L” and Mrs. Verlingeri did the same thing to Christian that she had just done to me. We knew we didn’t fit in. We knew there was something different about us and although we didn’t understand what it was, we knew the teachers all seemed to know. The plan to teach us was simple. Sit them next to each other and have them “work together.”
Christian made his way over to stand next to me, after Mrs. Verlingeri barked at him. We stood there side-by-side, standing as the others either sat or had their name called. We stood there giving each other looks that said “It’s ok, it’s all going to be ok.” “I’m here for you and you are here for me.” Just as my eyes began to fill with tears, I felt Christian take my hand. We had already figured out that if we were going to survive being “special,” we needed to lean on each other and we were only eight years old.
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