Wednesday, May 20, 1998

just transferred to Springer

I'll start by saying a little about myself: I am autistic as a result of an oxygen deficiency at birth. Due to my learning disabilities, my parents had trouble finding a school for me when I was younger; every place I went to would kick me out after a few weeks. I was eventually taken in by a special education program called the Morgan Center. Because most of its curriculum was very basic, I had missed out on many learning opportunities during my six years there.

However, my parents were able to arrange for me to participate in a regular math class at Springer Elementary School starting in 5th grade. That went very well, so we did the same for this school year. It wasn't long before I was cleared to take additional classes at Springer. After numerous meetings with school officials, my parents finally managed to convince them that I could handle a normal learning environment. That was one of the most important milestones in my life.

So back on topic: I "graduated" from the Morgan Center yesterday afternoon, and this was my first day as a full-time student at Springer. It definitely feels great to be a normal kid again. I'm also extremely lucky to have a teacher as kind as Mrs. Carrie; she's very understanding of my situation and always gives me the help I need. The workload is indeed a lot heavier, but I'm sure it's nothing I can't handle.

From what I've heard, I was the only "student" of the Morgan Center to switch back to a regular school. You could say I'm a pioneer; this accomplishment is certainly one I'm proud of. On the other hand, I'm going to miss all of my friends, especially Brian, Drew and Chelsea, as well as all the teachers there. One thing I'll never forget is Cheryl's sense of humor; our head teacher always knew how to turn a bad day into a good one. It was also sad to say goodbye to the folks that work in Jim's afternoon program. The people of the Morgan Center will always hold a special place in my heart, and I hope to visit them sometime. :-)

Thursday, May 7, 1998

our house got hit by a tornado!

You probably won't believe this, but my house was hit by a tornado three days ago. That's right - a tornado in California of all places!

This tornado was one of the two that struck the Bay Area; the other touched down in Sunnyvale, my old hometown. This was an incredibly rare occurrence, considering that twisters are almost non-existent in California. They were luckily nowhere as powerful as those in the Midwest, but at least I can now tell people that I've been in a tornado before!

It started out like a normal Tuesday afternoon. I had just finished a session with my English tutor, and Mom was walking her to the door when the wind picked up. We didn't think much of it at first because sudden gusts are not uncommon at this time of the year.

However, the wind soon become unusually strong, and we sensed something was not right. It wasn't long before we heard things crashing outside. That was certainly not a good sign. Just then, the wind subsided almost as suddenly as it had begun. Mom then went outside to investigate and realized our gas was leaking!

It turned out a section of our neighbor Gen's roof had struck our gas meter and ruptured it. Fearing an explosion, Mom and I rushed into another neighbor's garage for cover. I know we kind of went into somebody else's house without asking, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have minded given the circumstances. In any case, this was a very bad situation; had the gas ignited, our house and all of our possessions would likely be gone.

Much to our relief, a Good Samaritan managed to shut off the gas for us. Damn, that guy's brave. Mom ran back into the house to get him a box of chocolates as a token of gratitude, but he was nowhere to be seen. Strangely enough, none of our neighbors knew who he was either, only that he was some sort of construction worker. I'd say he was definitely a guardian angel.

The tornado had knocked out the power in the area, but it was restored for most homes by the following day. We were without electricity for a longer period of time because our power line had suffered extensive damage, hence why I couldn't post this earlier. But I guess the most important thing is that our house is still in one piece. :-)