Wednesday, April 3, 2013


When I arrived at SRVS on 2/26, I was surprised to see workmen swarming the building. Over that weekend, a pipe had burst, flooding many of the learning center classrooms. As a result, classes were meeting in the art room, movie room, and gathering room. I found Denita's class working in the kitchen, and asked if she'd like to tell me a story this week.

We settled in an unused corner of the cafeteria. I told her about the project and then realized I didn’t really know her, had only met her when I went to pick up Rosalyn the week before. So I introduced myself, but she said she remembered me from art classes the year before.

Denita didn’t say much, but grabbed a piece of paper and started writing. She can make letters really well, but they don’t spell commonly recognized words. She kept writing the same “word” over and over, and would tell me what it meant. I couldn’t really understand her though, because I had no sense of the context of her story. I started asking her what she liked watching on TV, because Clifton wrote about Animorphs, or if she liked superheroes, because Rosalyn wrote about Superman. She said she liked “Usher” and started writing “Eushr” over and over. Hopefully when I work with her again, I’ll learn to understand her more, like I’ve been able to do with many of the other clients I’ve worked with.

Once I figured out she was saying Usher, I asked if she had seen him in concert before. She said she had, and bought a t-shirt. I asked if she could draw him, and she did. Then I asked if she wanted to draw him onstage, so she drew bright scribbles of stage lights, then his face.

When she finished writing about Usher, she took paper and folded it into quarters. After she folded several sheets of paper, I showed her how you could put two together and it looked like a little book. She had been using crayons, taking them out and leaving them on the table as she used them. I said she laid them out like a rainbow, so she started drawing rainbows on the pages she had folded together. She made about four “rainbow books” before it was lunch time and we had to finish.

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