Sunday, September 23, 2007

OCT./NOV 1992- I CAN'T DRIVE 55!!!!!!!! (Sammy Hagar, 1984)

As I have mentioned in a previous post, before graduating high school I was hooked up with someone from vocational rehabilitation services in Tulsa, Ok. They helped and informed me about getting services due to my FA. Like helping me to get Social Security disability benefits, training for a job, and driving lessons! I was not aware that there was anything out there that would allow me to drive a vehicle. I always thought I would just be the female scrub hangin’ out of the passengers side of my best friend’s ride (Shout out to the group TLC, I love that song)!! I signed up for this right away. I think my parent's were not very optimistic on this one, but they supported my decision. The biggest obstacles that were in my way were the fact that the driving school was 2 hours away, and a month long. The driving school was held at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond Oklahoma. The vocational rehabilitation would financially pay for me to have a helper stay with me, for room and board for me and my helper to stay at UCO during that month, and for the driving classes. Now I just had to figure out who my helper would be. Needing someone for the middle of October to the middle of November is a hard time frame to try and get someone. And it was only for a month. I asked several people, and finally my friend Crystal from high school said she would go with me. Crystal and I never really hung out with one another outside of school. I had all four years of Spanish class with her. She was my amiga!!

My Mom and Dad followed Crystal and I to UCO, and they helped us to get unpacked. I seemed to have brought everything but the kitchen sink while Crystal brought everything from the boy band New Kids on the Block (sheets, comforter, pillow cases, u name it she had it)! We stayed in the accessible dorms. Because the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) had just became law earlier that year the dorms were far from being perfectly accessible, and still have quite a few barriers to overcome. There was actually only one hallway of accessible dorms there. They were coed. There were not many people living in them though. The first person we met was a gentleman named Jason who lived across the hall. He was an actual student, and in a power wheelchair. I do not recall what his disability was. He lived alone, and seemed to know everyone. He took us in under his wing, showed us around, and introduced us to other folks. He became our best friend while we were there. A funny moment was that every weekday during 11 a.m. he would watch the soap opera All My Children, and I would watch Young and the Restless. Crystal watched All My Children as well, and would go to his room and watch it with him. I could hear them screaming and hollering at the TV! Eating in the cafeteria with a bunch of strangers was intimidating at first. We were shy, and would have only small salads like we were on a first date! It did not take long to warm up to the other students, make friends, and eat normal! Everyone was so nice. Crystal and I were getting to live the college life for a month! No parents, no curfew! My parents were never strict or anything, but it was a grown-up feeling I had. I did run into a couple of peeps that went to school there that I knew. Small world! I also got to hang out with some peeps from MDA summer camp. One of them of course was a firefighter named Scott and his daughter. Another one was my Diva Jen (! We had actually visited on a couple of different occasions. It was so good to see her. Because of our living distance we did not get to visit very much (we now live in different state's so it is even harder). Because UCO was closer for her to get to we took advantage of it. I had a blast being there! Normally Crystal and I would go home on the weekends.
Below is a photo of Crystal (Top row: 2nd on left, blue-green top), Alicia (Sitting far left, friend from class, i talk about her a lot in the next post), me (in wheelchair), and Jason (to my right). From the first week we were there we went w/ Jason to his Christian group meetings. They were all wonderful people.

To find out what happened in driving school you must check the next post. Did I run over anybody? Did I wreck the vehicle? Did I pass the drivers test? I have been working on this for several days (my voice dictation has not been cooperating), and figure instead of letting you read it all at once I will put it in 2 parts. I have already started writing about driving school so it should not take long (cross your fingers).

What was your first experience like living away from your parents or being away from them for a good period of time?

Thank you for taking the time to read, MISS S


Fish said...

Hey there girl,
how are you? Sorry I didnt write, but you can be sure I visit your blog.
And I am waiting to read the following of this story.

It's a hard question for me to answer, since I was alone most of my life. I lost my father on new years evening 1984, and since than things kind of rolled down hill. I never had, what you would call a home, so I dont know what to say.I can say this: Family is whoever loves you, so if you are with your friends, you are home.

MISS S said...

You r so right Fish. Friends r family. In a lot of cases friends r more than family !! Thanks for sharing.

Thanks also for visiting.

~*Magnificent Mel*~ said...

What a cool beginning to a story! I remember you driving, but it's cool to hear how it all came about. My first away from home experience was camp at age 5 or 6! I never even called home!! That freaked my mom out of course and she called the camp and they made me call home. I probably wouldn't have otherwise. That's not quite the same as college, but going to the retreat back in May sort of was for me. There weren't really any rules so I felt in charge of/responsible for myself. It is a great feeling!

Louanna said...

Keep up the good work.

Crystal Moses said...

I never knew you had a blog Stephanie or that you wrote about this or that you had a picture of me!!!! I love you La Rey. I remember walking you to classes all four years at Webster & I was honored to attend driving school with you that summer. Knowing you has made my life so much more compassionate and understanding. You will always have a special place in my heart and my mind is full of wonderful memories of high school and UCO. I love you. Cryse

MISS S said...

OMG, I cannot believe it is you Crystal! How did you find out about my blog? My blog was something I started in 2007 and I stopped writing in it in 2009! I wanted to write about my life with my disability as I feel like God gave me a story to tell. I was writing it in chronological order, however I do have plans to get back to it. Life has gotten in the way, and I have not been promoting it on Facebook because I have not been adding posts yet. One of my good friends that lives in Chicago use to write a fashion blog on here, and I followed it. She kept encouraging me to write my own blog, so that is what I did. Writing is very therapeutic for me and I need to get back to it. You have helped to give me the motivation again! Also, when I wrote this I did not have a scanner so my dad would take me to the library to scan my pictures, so I had to be selective about what to put on their. Now that I have a scanner I need to add some more! Thank you for taking the time to read!