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Christmas Vacation

After Christmas vacation, a teacher asked her small pupils to write an account of how they spent their holidays. One youngster wrote about a visit to his grandparents in a life-care community for retired folks:

“We always spend Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa,” he said. They used to live here in a big red house, but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Florida.

“They live in a place with a lot of retarded people. They live in tin huts. They ride big three wheel tricycles. They go to a big building they call a wrecked hall but it is fixed now. They play games there and do exercises, but they don’t do them very good. There is a swimming pool and they go to it and just stand there in the water with their hats on. I guess they don’t know how to swim.

“My grandma used to bake cookies and stuff. But I guess she forgot how. Nobody cooks—they all go out to fast food restaurants.

“As you come into the park, there is a doll house with a man sitting in it. He watches all day, so they can’t get out without him seeing them. They wear badges with their names on them. I guess they don’t know who they are.

“My Grandpa and Grandma worked hard all their lives and earned their retardment. I wish they would move back home but I guess the man in the doll house won’t let them out.”

Eric W. Johnson, Humorous Stories About the Human Condition (Prometheus Books), quoted in Bits & Pieces, January 5, 1995, pp. 5-6