Listen

By Ella Gordon

My grandmother was from the “old school” – children were to listen.  You were to listen to what your elders said, instead of voicing your opinion.  This worked for me, but not for my brother, Larry. 

My grandmother told him numerous times not to leave our front yard without telling her.  Did he listen?  No.  A few minutes after my grandmother told him not to leave the yard without telling her, and she went back into the house, I would see Larry’s shirttail flying in the wind, as he rounded the corner of the dirt road that led from our house.  As a matter of fact, Larry did not listen as an adult.  One year when my uncle, who picked fruit in New York, seasonally, was returning to Florida, my brother refused to return home to Florida with him.  His failure to listen led to many years of homelessness, psychiatric confinement, and institutionalization. 

As I had thought in my early years of observing my brother and how he reacted to authority, I said that he was crazy.  Much later in life a psychiatrist confirmed that Larry was Schizophrenic.

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