I’m sometimes asked to tell my most embarassing moment and I can’t think of anything. I think we tend to put those thoughts out of our mind. I’ve been reminiscing with my college friends lately and we’ve shared some funny and embarassing experiences.
We were all enrolled in a course called Mental Retardation Counselling. I’m sorry if that startles many of you. It’s almost like swearing now, but my diploma verifies that was, indeed, the name at the time. I was trained to work with people who have special needs. In the late seventies, many individuals lived in large institutions so we were trained in nursing, pharmacology, first aid, behaviour management and other classes that prepared us for that environment. We had to relocate twice in sixteen months to do internships in two facilities. I had moved to Toronto for school in September and in November we were expected to find living accommodations in Cobourg, a small town a two hour train ride away. Since it was a six week placement and we were not being paid and in fact, paying tuition, all we could afford was a rooming house. There were seven of us and the landlady, Mrs. McDonald crowded us into two bedrooms. Our beds were wall to wall, four in one room and three in another. That would have been bad enough but she had a little dog who had fleas. We were chewed every night in our beds. Mrs. McDonald spent her days drinking in the parlour with her flea infested pooch. We laugh about it now but it wasn’t really the ideal situation.
My friend, Debbie said this, “Just think, all those experiences have made us who we are today ! Strong, resilient, flexible with a good sense of humor! Except now we have higher standards ! I don’t think any of us would set foot in Mrs. McDonald’s house today!”.
All the reminiscing triggered another memory from our second internship. This one was for six months. We had walked down the street to do our laundry at the local laundromat. It was only a few blocks away. On the way home carrying green plastic garbage bags full of (luckily) clean clothes, one bag broke. Out spilled all our underwear onto the sidewalk, right beside a few people standing at a bus stop! I’m not even sure how we managed to gather it all up or where we put it to get it home but there were two very embarrassed girls that day!
Debbie is right! We are strong, resilient, flexible with a good sense of humor because of the crazy times we had together. We have also made lifelong friends.