Brian Gage


Years ago, we exchanged mail about my experiences with blindness and the Survivors Club. This letter only touches on that. While reading book 3 of Ravenswood, I was reminded of another event. While attending UBC in Vancouver, I lived in Place Vanier residence, a large, lovely complex close to the main university annex. One fellow on our ground floor was confined to a wheelchair due to childhood polio. At that time, I had a girlfriend who had been a premature birth, receiving too much oxygen which damaged her retinas. Peggy knew another congenitally blind girl who was somewhat bitter, and often unsociable, even abrupt. Speculation was that she had been abused at what our group often called Jericho Hill Jail for the Deaf and Blind. That school was eventually investigated, then closed, many students provided financial reparations for years of abuse, both physical, sexual and mental inflicted on them, much like we hear about with children in residential schools. Fortunately for my girlfriend Peggy, she lived at home in the area and only went to Jericho Hill for classes until entering grade 11 in a regular high school.
Curiously, the other blind young woman mentioned was in first year university at the same time as my girlfriend Peggy. I had two pprevious years experience canvassing residence buildings for volunteer readers. In those years, 1969 to 1972, there were numerous blind students staying at Place Vanier. This young woman was introduced to my paralyzed floor-fellow when he volunteered to be one of her readers. Surprising all of us, in a very short time, the two became inseparable. I was informmed by sighted friends that her miserable expression was gone, and his features graced by smiles. She often seemed to be glowing, especially when, with his verbal aid, she pushed his wheelchair to supper at the common building dining room. Fortunately, Place Vanier was wheelchair accessible and they encountered no problems. All indications were that a romantic relationship had developed. Now, so many decades later, I can’t remember their names, but do hope the relationship continued and gave them much joy.
As you can see, as with your Survivor Club stories, the Ravenswood series touched a cord in my own life. Many thanks for your delightful tales.

Affectionate Regards, Brian

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