Sunday, October 12, 2008

Barber Shop and Metro (Myers) Street Center

After a few years the work with the school system got to be more than I could do so I looked for other options. I had a chance to open a new barber shop on Moores Chapel Road when Jones Hardware opened. The rent was very low and I thought I could get another barber full time and this would allow me to work as I could. After about a year I could see that this was not working for me.

Gerald Harvey, a good friend I met at Harding High School had taken the job as principal of Metro(Myers Street) Center. He called me and said that one of his teachers had to be gone for four days and asked if would I help him out and be the substitute for the four days. I could not turn my good friend Gerald down so I said yes. I went to work my first day at the Niven’s Center on Nivens Rd. where the older children met. I arrived early and I prepared for the time working with the students. After the buses dropped off the students, they arrived to class. At this time in my life I don’t think I had ever seen retarded children. Here I was with about twenty students and I did not know what to do so I went into the bathroom and prayed telling God to help me get through this day. I was sure I would have to let Gerald get someone else tomorrow since I was unsure if I could make it for even one day. I got through the day and really enjoyed working with the students. In fact, that night I could not sleep because I was looking forward of going back the next day. Gerald wanted to open a vocational class at Metro Center in the old Second Ward School building. He wanted me to come and get it started. The time at Metro Center was the most rewarding time of my life. I had no training working with the mentally retarded children so I did not know that they were not supposed to be able to do a lot of things. I treated them just like anyone else and found out with the right help they could do almost anything I needed them to do. We started out building dog and bird houses. It went so well that we started building small utility buildings and I designed the process so that the students did most of the work. It was not long that, with the right kind of jigs, the students could complete over 99% of the building. I was able to get every one of the children in all of the classes to do some kind of work on the projects. This led to having a basketball team and then sixteen went through driver’s education classes and earned their drivers licenses.  Listen to me tell this story.

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