Story by Roger Dean Kiser (Author)
Yesterday I purchased a ‘Hope Chest’ for my Granddaughter, Chelsey. My wife, Judy had been on me for quite some time to try and build one so that Chelsey would have a place to keep her special mementos. Not as young and active as I once was I decided to purchase a cedar chest. After we got the chest home I took down an old cardboard box which I had been using to store things in that I thought she might like to have when she got older. Near the bottom of the box was the first draft of my book “Orphan”. It was about twenty years old and I started to thumb through the pages to see what all I had hand written along the borders.
In one section I happened across a page where I had written about inviting a group of handicapped children to spend several hours at my TrampolineOne center. I remember telephoning the school and suggesting that they bring the children out to the center for several hours at no charge. As I did not open the center until 11:00 am. It was agreed that they would bring the children out at about 9:00 am. That would give them about two hours of jump time.
Well, the children came in several large busses. They were loaded into their wheel chairs and rolled into the center. That was an experience that I will never forget. Fifteen or twenty children which looked somewhat like little zombies. Not a sound and not much movement coming from any of them.
I had twelve trampolines which were all built ground level. Soon there was a motionless child lying on each of the trampolines. They just laid there not moving a muscle. Some were missing arms and some legs. Some were not missing any limps at all. Still they just sat and laid there motionless and silent.
“ALL RIGHT. LET’S TRY AND HOLD DOWN ON THE NOISE OUT THERE,” I said over the microphone.
Several of the teachers laughed and continued to walk around the area. Still none of the handicapped children moved a muscle, Not one made a sound. I walked out of the booth and I took my shoes off. I walked up to ‘TrampolineOne number one’ and I walked out onto the mat where a child was laying. I stood over his head and I gave a little bounce. Just enough for the child to be bounced off the mat about an inch or two. All at once the child screamed and began to laugh uncontrollably. All the teachers came running over to the trampoline to see what had happened. I was told by one of the teachers that the child on TrampolineOne number one had never spoken a word or even made a sound his entire life. The remainder of the time was spent with the teachers standing over the children and gently bouncing them from one side of the trampoline to the other. All you could hear was the sound of children screaming and laughing at the top of their little voices, as though they were on a roller-coaster ride to hell.
When time was up and the children were taken off the trampolines the sounds that the children were making where not those of crying, but of wailing.
There were many happy drooling little distorted faces leaving that day. There were bouncing little heads, and arms and legs. Whatever could possibly be moved was now moving. What I remember most from that experience is that I had always thought that I was just too busy to take the time to do something important for someone else. I guess that was a day that I found a way to do something important for someone else in the world. Not during my “busy time” but during my own ‘private time’. And we all have just a little of that which we could share with the world if we really wanted to.
To know more about the Author: The Books and Stories of Roger Dean Kiser