Volume 3, Issue 2, page 8

could Egli rej ected, cast off. Does she? There
is no way., ust now, of knowing, for it is
time for the visitor to go.
Just why is Hester here in the house on
Martha Avenue? Among children who have virtually no vocabulary she has a fairly large
one. Among children who have little idea about
keeping their bodies neat, she is the neatest.
Among children who seem unaware of dirt, she
is scrupulously clean.

Hester is a little eight-year-old who has
such nice manners, has been trained at home.
But she deliberately spills her milk on the
table and on the floor when the principal
fails to pay her enough attention. She calls
attention to the spilled milk. She gets napkins and begins to clean up.
"Clear the table and put the wet napkins in
the wastebasket," the principal tells Hester.

This seems a complex command for a mongoloid. She does it fast. Not because there is
any hurry. Not because she fears the principal.a It seems natural for her to move fast.
And as she executes each detail she looks at
the principal. She isn't looking for approval;
at least it doesn't seem so, but for something
more to do.
"Now gather up the lunch palls and put
them on the other table," says the principal.

The lunch pails are, generally, of a shape
and size. They can be placed quite evenly side
by side. Hester places the first one, squares
its end with the edge of the table. She does
this without apparent thought. She brings the
second pail. She doesn't take one in each hand
but takes them one at a time. Each one is
squared with the edge of the table and its
neighboring lunch pail.

Hester is not satisfied with the way the
principal fastened the hasps which close one
of the lunch pails. She unfastens them both --
and can't fasten them again! The little girl
who automatically, swiftly, squares the lunch
pails so precisely is unable to snap the simplest hasps, and all she has to do is exert a
little pressure on them. Was it mind that
squared the lunch pails? If not, what was it?
Hester does one task. She looks to the
principal for another one. The principal must
keep Hester busy, swiftly busy, or Hester will
busy herself at something most unprofitable to
everybody concerned. The principal can herself
be busy, all the time, just assigning tasks to
Hester. Is this what Hester wishes? If so,
why? With what does she care?
Hester tires one, just to watch her. Her
feverish activity never ceases, even when there
is nothing obvious to do. Bester takes blocks
out of a box and stacks them somewhere. Then
she moves the box . Then she restores the blocks
to the box . Then she finds something else to do.
"Shall I sing. . ." the principal names a
song. Hester nods, and the teacher sings. The
children are expected to understand the song
and follow it with pantomime. It requires them
to touch their eyes, ears, nose., mouth, shoes.

Rebecca touches her nose, ears, eyes -- but
always a little late, and Hester has less patience than the principal. She grabs Rebecca's
hands and forces them to touch the proper
places. Rebecca looks rebellious, and her expression is unmistakable.

While singing, the principal turns her
back very briefly on the two children, and
Hester quickly slaps Rebecca on the left cheek.
She does it with a deft drawing motion, as if
she had been trained by a clever boxer to deliver such a blow. It's the kind of a blow a
boxer uses when he deliberately cuts his opponent's skin. Rebecca blinks, but doesn t
a T 1. .. 4 1I
cry. She may cry when she is scolded, if she
ever is, or if she is hungry -- which she always
seemssto be -- and there is no food. But if she
is hurt in any way by Hester's blow she doesn't show it. She reaches for Hester. Not hs
hug her, but to retaliate. She clutches, and
Hester -- feeling Rebecca''s voiceless ire, and
showing fear that Rebecca lacks -- puts her hand
against the cheek and tries to rub out what
she did, whatever it was, when she slapped Rebecca! There is no mistaking it: Hester moves
to correct something she now knows is wrong,
and knew was wrong when she did it.

Rebecca brushes away Hester's hand. She
accepts no voiceless apology. And if she were
not such a little mite, she would take more
direct, more forcible action; so says her expression of face and eyes.

Something, surely, can be done with Hester. Her large vocabulary, her busy, skillful
hands, her eagerness to do things, her desire
to be noticed for what she does -- or for any
reason -- dangles more strings than any teacher
has time to pull!
"I thought, or someone told me," says the
visitor, "that mongoloids were throwbacks to
some ancient Mongoloid ancestry."
The principal shakes her head.

The name comes from the appearance of
the eyes," she says. "It comes from the apparent slanting of the eyes. Then, the face suggests the Oriental, the brow. Have you noticed
the shape of the mouth, much alike in each
mongoloid? That the hands are square? And that
most of them allow their tongues to protrude?"
The protruding tongue, especially," says
the visitor. "What causes it?"
"The mongoloid tongue is almost uniformly
too big for the mouth," says the principal.
If we don't train them to keep their tongues
in their mouths, they hang them out. They're
logical about it, and the tongues ABE too big,
and fat, and round..."
But what is Hester's future? She is pretty,
if she keeps her tongue tucked into her mouth.
Will some normal man want to marry her some
day? Will some subnormal man want to marry
her? And if she marries, what will her offspring be? Is there hope that a mongoloid of
Hester's type, who can be effectively trained
if not educated, can be a woman?
This is no concern of the teachers in the
house on Martha Avenue. Their concern is to do
their best for Hester, that she may do the
best for herself.

Hester is the only mongoloid disclosed by
exhaustive research into her family. Hundreds
of thousands approximately like her -- as like
her as normal people are like one another --
exist in the United States.

Parents can' t know in advance. They can
never be sure. The mongoloid results from the
complete conception of ovum and sperm that
wasn't, one or the other or both, quite complete. The lack of completion, occurring in
just one conception -- some lightning-flashmomentary lack, or withholding on the part of
either parent who may have no urge to withhold -- omits a little here in the embryo, fails
to collect it in the foetus, omits a little
there in the mind of the child-to-be, and a
mongoloid is born.

And to look at the mongoloid, especially
a "superior" one like Hester, is to stand
appalled at how little has been left out to
cause so great a lack in the child, and the
adult who will remain a child forever.

Every human being must help to find the
answer for Hester.

She is a racial responsibility.
(To be continued in the June issue.)
May, 1956