I rolled over this morning and noticed it on the floor, an old VHS tape, “Educating Peter” scribbled on the label.
I really should shove that in the box, I thought, rolling back the other way to avoid morning and the inevitable ouslaught in the wake of a vacation.
Or, I suppose, I could watch it.
Last summer — or maybe it was two summers ago — I started this collection. I was at an impasse with writing about Sophie, and when I find it hard to write I always fall back reporting (old trick, when your paycheck depends on your ability to produce journalism or some semblance). So I started gathering material in the form of any and all pop culture references to Down syndrome.
I bid on all kinds of things on eBay — dolls made to look like they had DS, and “tintype” photos from the early 20th century, of beautifully dressed children (always children, I guess no one lived to adulthood, or was photographically desirable by the time they reached it) with DS.
I didn’t win any of those, but I did wind up with a box of DVDs, VHS tapes, books, magazines and other stuff. My memory’s a little hazy, because I haven’t really opened the box since I started the collection.
It taunts me, from under a cabinet in my bedroom, and a few weeks ago I put the cardboard box inside a plastic Rubbermaid. Sort of like wearing two condoms, I guess. OK, the truth is that I’m scared of that box. Inside (as far as I recall) are the first season of “Life Goes On” (the infamous show starring that guy named Corky) and a lot of childrens books about DS I should probably show Annabelle and a lot of quasi-educational stuff I guess I should read.
But my coping mechanism (one of them, anyway) since Sophie was born has been to live in the moment with her, rather than look beyond her to others with DS, for clues. It’s tempting, which is why I stare at Megan, the bag girl at Safeway, and watch the other little girl at Sophie’s future school, the super smart girl who’s a year older.
And I keep telling myself I’ll open that box. Part of the reason for starting this blog was to force myself to start writing about the contents, item by item, rather than just amassing them. Anyhow, now the box is full, so I’ve got to do something. Start a new one?
Earlier this summer, a dear friend offered me an old copy of “Educating Peter” (a seminal documentary from a while ago, long ago enough that when the kid — portrayed in this doc as a grade schooler — finished high school, they made “Graduating Peter,” which Ray made the mistake of watching, at my urging, when Sophie was very young. It’s depressing; I hear EP is very good, though) and I took it, telling her I’d put it in my box. In a hurry, I left it in a pile next to the box, behind some suitcases.
Those suitcases went on vacation, revealing the tape. Maybe I’ll watch it, to avoid opening the box to try to cram it in.
Or maybe I’ll get on eBay and see what’s for sale.