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Sarah Finley shares a story about her childhood friend Aaron.

Submitted by Sarah Finley; 11/08
This entry relates to the past.
Categories: Favorite person, Unforgettable Experiences.

I seem to have a terrible memory these days. I guess age has taken a toll on me at this great age of 15, but there is one person from my childhood that I will always remember: my kindergarten companion Aaron. Aaron and I both had our disabilities.  Aaron had autism, as well as being physically handicapped.  For me, well you could say I was a difficult child—to put it mildly.  I had temper-tantrums several times a week, I didn’t get along very well with my classmates, and nothing could keep me happy.  One thing that I did love was to read.  I took what basic learning we received in preschool and kindergarten and practiced every day, in effect teaching myself to read.   Aaron was my favorite person to practice with.  I would read him my favorite children’s series, Amelia Bedelia at least once every day, along with any other book I could get my hands on.  It was my greatest joy to see the happiness on his face when we would read together, and it will remain one of my favorite childhood memories.  Unfortunately, after kindergarten I didn’t see much of Aaron anymore, but his friendship will have a lasting effect on my life.  My love of reading is one way he has helped me.  It’s taken me very far in school, and I like to think of myself as an accomplished student now because of it.  But the most important way Aaron has affected my life is the way I see people with mental disabilities such as autism.  Some may view people like Aaron as stupid and mindless, someone to be ridiculed, but I know better.  I know they’re amazing people to be around once you get to know them a little.  They have a very hard time in life, and doing something so simple such as reading to them, and knowing that it makes them so happy is one of the most wonderful feelings I can think of.  I will never, EVER, forget Aaron and all that he has done for me. 

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