Thursday, February 4, 2010

Adrian brought joy to my Mum

The year that my Mum died of cancer, Anne, Adrian and I went back to England to see her. My Mum was bedridden and, when her medication was working, quite lucid. One afternoon, after watching either Carpet Bowling or "Come Dancing" with her, (both shows my Mother enjoyed), Adrian began prompting us to tell her stories about him when he was a little boy. These stories, tragic as they were when they happened, brought tears of laughter to my Mum's eyes.

To promt us, Adrian would give a one word descriptor for the story. The first prompt was SHOWERS.

A few years earlier on another trip back to England we had to take Adrian to a hospital emergancy ward since we thought he had taken some of my brother's travel sickness pills. The hospital decided to keep him overnight for observation. We did warn the hospital that on an earlier visit to the Red Lake Hospital staff had found it necessary to cover his crib with a net so he could not get out. "Don't you worry," was the response. When we returned the next morning we were asked to take him home as soon as possible. The ward had had enough of the chaos Adrian caused. A last straw was when he went into the shower area, turned them all on and was only rescued from there at the cost of a nurse becoming soaking wet.

The next prompt was TRAIN.

One summer we all went to Kingston, Ontario and camped at the lakeshore there while I took a summer course. (Julian took Grade 10 typing, Nathan went to soccer camp, Adrian to the Special Ed teachers' course as a student for them to work with, and Anne worked on a correspondence course.) One weekend we decided to go to Montreal by train, the non-stop Rapido. About an hour into the trip, the train made an unscheduled emergency stop after Adrian pulled the emergency handle as he tried to find a washroom. In the inquest that followed, Julian, who wore the same coloured shirt as Adrian, was pointed out as the culprit. "It was not me! It was my brother." Threats and mutterings from the train crew about fines never came to anything.

The next prompt was WASHING MACHINE.

Again we were camping, this time in Haliburton, Ontario, while Adrian went to a behaviour modification camp operatated by the Geneva Centre for Autism. Before we left Haliburton, we all went to a laundromat to wash and dry clothes since it was about two weeks or more since we had left home in Red Lake. Anne had just finished folding the drying as I brought Adrain and the other boys into the laundromat. As she picked up the load, Adrian pulled on a door of a front loading washing machine, it sprang open, and hot soapy water and clothes gushed out, soaking everything in sight. Anne's parting words as we hurridly left, were: "Its just Adrian."

The last prompt was TRUCK.

One summer night at midnight (why all these were summer events I do not know) I was wakened by a phone call from the Royal Canadian Legion where a dance was being held. "Come right over. Your ticket was drawn and you won the truck." It took some convincing before I dressed and went over. True enough, the truck was mine. Over the next few days I negotiated with the Ford dealer and managed to trade the truck for an eight seater Econoline van, available as a trade from a dealer in Selkirk, Manitoba, six to eight hours away. One Saturday I took Adrian with me to the Red Lake dealer, picked up the truck, drove it home and parked it at the top of my driveway. I took the keys with me, left Adrian in the truck and went inside to get the stuff we were taking with us to Selkirk. When I returned I saw the brand new truck backing down my steep driveway, door open and brushing the trees as it accelerated down. It came to a halt at the bottom of the drive with the driver's door almost ripped off. Adrian had somehow put the truck into neutral and gravity had done the rest.

The truck was still the property of the dealer and covered by his insurance. Six weeks later Adrian and I completed the trip to Selkirk to pick up the van, receiving it for the newly repaired and shiny truck.

The memory of my Mother's laughter at these stories is still with me. I am very thankful for Adrian's memory and sense of humour.


  1. Having spent many hours in "Brite-Vu" with Adrian - these stories are, as Anne said - It's just Adrian! I can see him in my mind - standing in front of that emergency handle, thinking to himself, with his head slightly tilted to the side.
    I have great memories of those hours - my 'spares' were much better spent in BriteVu than in the study hall doing nothing!!

  2. Anne was right in remembering that you worked with Adrian. Thanks for your memories too.