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Friends in my life

Catherine Evans

During my early days at school I was often laughed at because I wore glasses and had problems with my speech. I had to wear glasses because I suffer from keratoconus and also had problems with my speech as I also suffer from congenital cerebellar syndrome. I did not speak much at infant school. I remember having bubble gum stuck in my hair. I found primary school better than infant school. At primary school I made a life-long friend; her name is Heather. She helped me a lot. She used to come over to dinner and we still send each other cards.

As a schoolchild I also used to play with a neighbour, a girl named Maria. We used to play in the house a lot as I was frightened to mix because of my problems. Eventually I had speech lessons but I still found it difficult to make friends.

As a young adult I went to two senior schools. I had a lot to do with the church at this time and used to go to youth clubs. At this time my best friend, Heather, was still about. As I became older I managed to mix more and even used to 'party a bit'. I worked in a hotel for a while where I remember the stairs which were nerve racking. People were often rude. I had one good friend but I did a lot of walking on my own on the beach which was near the hotel.

I also worked in a hospital in Sidcup for about eighteen months. I made a good few friends there. I also had a job preparing food in a school where the staff were friendly.

Eventually I moved to a residential home where I had my own flat and met a man who was very friendly and we had a good relationship. Unfortunately after a period of time I met someone else who caused me a great deal of trouble but I did have friends; one particular person who was blind. He used to listen to me and my problems. He helped me out of this situation.

At this time I liked to help other disabled people as my view at the time and still is, is that we should all be treated the same, as we all have some sort of talent which we should use. Mine is writing, faith in God and helping others if I can.

I moved to another residential home where staff were very nice. I had plenty of friends. It was at this stage of my life that I met my present husband. I had plenty of friends to discuss problems etc at this time.

I had a good friend called Billy at this time who helped me resolve various problems that arose over my relationship with my future husband.

Eventually I married. We tried to live together in our own bungalow but this became too difficult, so we moved to Drayton Wood. In summary I felt that I have friends but as I have a husband I am lucky and I miss him when we are not together.

On the whole I miss family more than friends.

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About the Group

If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:

Liz Tilley 
Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

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