Wed 7 Dec 2005
I went to the Carlisle house with Jenny and Justin. I entered the house and Peanut immediately came up to me and asked us our names. I remembered her from last time; she was always extremely friendly and inquisitive. Peanut then asked me to go in the other room with her to put up Christmas decorations. She showed Jenny and me the storage room where all the decorations were kept. We brought over one set of lights and started to tape them on the window. Peanut distributed the tape and talked about President Bush. She seemed to know quite a bit about what was going on between the US and Iraq, she talked fluidly about current bombings and talks between the countries. When I asked her what she thought President Bush, she let out a long high-pitched laugh. She said she hated him; but quickly said she just wished the whole world would just get along. Then Peanut got some Christmas cards and wrote one for Jenny and then one for me. Then, I went in the kitchen with her and she introduced to me two of her friends. They all talked about Christmas, and how they love pumpkin pie. Next, i went out with Peanut to keep her company while she smoked. She talked about a Christmas poem she had written. It was all about peace on earth and equality to all people. She said she didnt like Christmas because it reminded her about how everyone is fighting around the world. When it got too cold, we went inside and sat on the couches and talked to her friend Ed. When I told her I was from Japan, she became very interested and asked me all sorts of questions about the government in Japan. Then, she wrote a Christmas card and told me to give it to the Prime Minister. Christy then came and talked to us about this guy Matt who “she was hot for”. Apparently he drives the bus that Peanut takes everyday and Christy gave some chocolates and a note with hearts all over it for Peanut to give to him. I had class at 3 oclock so i told them I had to leave. Peanut gave me a huge hug and said please come back soon, I like you.
This experience at Carlisle House was a lot of fun. When I first walked into the house, I was definitely nervous. I looked around and it seemed like everyone was just sitting on the couches and doing nothing. When Peanut came up to me, I felt relieved. She reminded me of a kind grandmother. She kind of took me under her wing and showed me around. When we were talking while putting up Christmas lights, the conversation was extremely interested. I was very impressed that she knew so much about the news, apparently, she watches it every night. She kept on making comments about how she just hoped everyone would just get along and be treated as equal. It made me sad when she said that because I thought she might have been indirectly referring to the way that she may feel that she is treated unequal to others. When Christy was talking about the boy that she thought was “hot”, I felt like I was gossiping with one of my friends. She looks very young, she is probably in her early 20’s, and everyone else in the house seemed much older. But apparently, Matt is younger then most of the people. It was very cute when she talked about him and how she gave him little presents, apparently you can find love at the Carlisle House. It was really cute.
When Peanut was talking about inequality, I thought about almost everything we had discussed in class this semester. I especially thought about all the essays we had read in Extraordinary Bodies, about the stereotypes tied to having mentally or physically disabilities. After having talked with a lot of the people at Carlisle House, I realized that they all have something to say. A lot of them are compassionate and kind; I do not know how many times I was offered a piece of pie or a cup of coffee. The previous notions of the “circus freaks” where people with disabilities are scary or beastly were definitely not present from my experience at the Carlisle House. All the people that I talked with could carry on a normal conversation, even about things I had no idea about, such as politics. The stigma that mentally disabled people are unable to participate in a “normal” society is definitely not correct.