Mad at School, Still in Love Broadly

Stephen Kuusisto, Letters to Borges

I used to get mad at my school. Legally blind in the 11th grade I needed the boy next to me to explain the chalkboard scribbles in Chemistry class. The instructor turned around and said that we must be gay. You can imagine the laughter. I ran from the room in a spout of brain blood. Yes I used to get mad at my school. I think of the graduate professors who said if I was blind I shouldn’t be in their classes and who I had to threaten with lawsuits. Disability is no picnic in education. I used to get mad at my school. University. High School. Kindergarten.

Now inclusiveness is under attack by the Trump administration. “Hey Kid, you can’t have a service dog.” “You can’t have any assistance.” “Let’s build charter schools and see that the disabled don’t get in!”

I just cannot shake memories or forget that progress for the disabled who seek education is still provisional.


Assorted thoughts on the blog this morning. Lots of talk about Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hears Club Band and it’s fiftieth anniversary.

Fifty years ago today my father and I were driving together to New Hampshire from Albany, NY. I was 12 and inordinately in love with the Beatles. We were heading north and west on route 9 when radio station WPTR elected to play the entire album. My father had been disdainful of the lads from Liverpool but at about fifteen minutes in, he said, “I like this a lot.” Of course it was the British dance hall influence that McCartney and Lennon were playing off of. There was wit in the lyrics. And plenty of melody. A willingness to be broadly human. At the end of his life my dad said it was the Beatles who brought down the Soviet Union and not Reagan.


Leaping. I just watched the rapper Ice Cube school Bill Maher about why white people can’t use the “N” word. That is, they can’t use it if they want to be human.

Which leads me to express my feeling that Americans are now not only fighting for their democracy, but they’re also fighting for decency. It’s hard to do when sneering has become the lingua franca. Just look at a photo of Eric Trump.


Last thought, morning. “Lovely Rita Meter Maid” is a great song.


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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