Volume 2, Issue 10, page 5

("Our Hidden Children," continued from p. 3)

brought to the House on Martha Avenut every
school day. Private individuals dedicate them-
selves and their cars to getting the children
to and from school.

The children bring their lunch baskets.
There's no cafeteria in the Development Center.
They would find even the simplest one an in-
comprehensible maze.

"It is time for lunch, children," says
the principal. "It is time for lunch." Every
teacher carefully enunciates every word. There
is hope that just one word, in any sentence,
if repeated often enough, may be retained by
one or two of the children; may even be re-

It is clear that every child has his
place at a given table. The same tables must
be moved to the same places for each luncheon.
There is always the attempt to establish a
routine, a pattern. The routine trains. This
pace at this table is for this child. If he
is led there enough times he may go there
eventually without being led or drawn or

The children, some of them, find it amus-
ing. They laugh, scuffle, push. In some of
the mongoloids is a seeming desire to help.
But a mongoloid may be strong of arms. He may
push too hard. Another mongoloid, pushed, may
push back--harder. There can be no relaxing of
vigilance. There may be no mind here, even in
the aggregate, but there is always emotion.
The emotion does not lessen with the growing
of the day; it increases, threatening to ex-

There seem to be classes in eating. Some
of the smaller boys and girls--boys at their
tables, girls at their tables--may eat alone.
They have been here longest. They have mas-
tered routine, the pattern. They get their
lunch boxes from a closet themselves, take
them to their tables. They have been taught
to know their own.

Two teachers supervise the lunch in the
two main rooms. But now a third room, and a
fourth, are seen. The third is just beyond
the second. It's a kitchen, with tables, sink,
chairs, cupboards. The fourth room, to the
left of the second, is closed. It is kept
closed. Children go in there with a teacher,
possibly to be taught the techniques of the

"Our newest ones," says the principal,
"are learning to eat. If you'd care to observe

Georgie of the eternal bib is here. All
his life he will, most likely, eat under sup-
ervision. But he seems contented enough.

George is being trained to know his name,
to respond to it. He is being trained to know
that the bottle contains milk.

"Georgie, do you want some milk?"

The teacher pours milk into Georgie's
plastic cup. He will drink it without help,
save for the bib. There is something unfin-
ished in his mouth, in his throat. There was
something unfinished in his legs so that he
wears braces on them. But he can't wear braces
on the inside of his mouth, in his throat.

He bites off much of his sandwich. He
holds it in his left hand, while he thrusts
the bite deeper into his mouth. He tilts his
head back, like a bird. He has trouble chew-
ing. He aids his chewing with the fingers of
his right hand, all of them, thrust deeply in-
to his mouth, among the food. He seems to time
the movements of his fingers to the movements
of his jaws so he won't bite his fingers. He
must have learned that himself...

But no, he bites his fingers. The visitor
sees him do it, but Georgie seems not to know.
Moistly masticated bread sticks to the roof of
Georgie's mouth, and to his teeth. He points
to it, his mouth wide open. It amuses him.
But none at this table, save the teacher and
the visitor, pays the slightest attention.

No child at this learning table selects
his own sandwiches, apples, dessert, drink,
whatever the parents have sent. The teacher
uses the lunchbox, the food, bottles, chairs,
table, everything, as a stepping stone to

"Everything has to be worked out," she
says to the visitor, enunciating as if the
visitor were Georgie, or Teresa, or Lissa.
"There's no textbook. No syllabus. Every
night at home we plan the next day. But we
have to guess what may happen among people who
are unpredictable within their limits, and
we're more than likely to guess wrong."

Queer bits of mimicry are noted in the
two main rooms, after all the training of new-
comers has been explained. All are "newcomers"
who haven't yet responded to training. The
mongoloid boy, 15 or 16 years of age, sits at
the window, eating. He chooses his own food.
But for his face he would seem normal. But the
eyes...the nose...the small mouth...there are
signs. His hands are pudgy, but fairly sure.
He coordinates well, with spoons, ice cream
cups, paper plates. But he tries to help. He
pushes others around, mongoloids and cerebral
palsy victims, and teachers have to restrain

The visitor can't forget how the lunch
started, but he almost did. When all the boxes
were ready on the table, the principal said:

"Fold your hands! Fold your hands!"

Most folded their hands--but not Lissa,
not Georgie, not the naturally stubborn boy,
not Teresa.

"God is good!" murmured the principal,
very clearly, loudly.

"God is good!" repeated the children, the
voices of those who could not speak words min-
gling unintelligibly with those whose words
sounded like those the principal had spoken.

"And God is true!" said the principal.

"And God is true! " they parroted fervently.

"Amen! Amen!" they all said together.

God must indeed be good and true that He
gave the four dedicated teachers to the small
ones in the House on Martha Avenue. He was
good, too, to the parents of these children
that He gave them these children to learn by,
to make spiritual progress by. He great
trusted those parents, most of whom merited
the trust. But some did not, do not...for not
all "parents" are blood relatives. All, all,
are relatives of these children, for no two
people alive, who meet, are "worse than 50th

"Now," says the principal, "clean up the
tables. It's time for Terry's birthday cake."

They clean up, busily, without actually
cleaning much. When this is done, and before
the cake comes out, they sing "Happy Birth-
day". It sounds about as it does when any
other children sing it, except, possibl that
only the teachers enunciate clearly. If they
don't sing, only the tune is recognizable.

(To be continued in the April issue.)


Europe suffers its worst winter storms of
the 20th Century. And Russian, British, and
American "Pandoras" continue shooting off their
big bombs (and their bigger mouths).

If a jet plane, whizzing by at a speed
faster than sound, should set up shock waves
that damage your home, the House Armed Ser-
vices Committee has some advice for you to
follow before you file a complaint: Check the
amount and type of damage, then run out and
identify the aircraft so that you can make out
the proper blanks. The 60-plus-mile-an-hour
plane, meanwhile, will stop and wait while you
follow these instructions, no doubt.

Add "Born 30 Years Too Late" items: An
Oklahoma City boy, flying his kite, found him-
self afoul of a utility firm for tangling with
their power lines, and an air transport com-
plained he was endangering plane traffic.