By Cecilia Rice
This is often the tale of the Rice relatives, and of Liza, their critically mentally-retarded eldest daughter. it is a tale approximately what it used to be like transforming into up in a wide, rowdy family without end within the thrall of this unknowable, unreachable baby. whilst she was once small Cecilia continually believed Liza wouldn't live to tell the tale to maturity, that she might by no means be her “problem.” yet she did continue to exist. With heat, knowledge and humor, Cecilia unearths how her kin got here to consider “the Liza challenge” as their very own and the way, in the course of the passing of time and a mysterious means of reputation and forgiveness, their fears and resentment became fierce loyalty and abiding love. this is often greater than a memoir concerning the problems, demanding situations, and infrequent rewards that include taking good care of a disabled baby.
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Extra resources for Always Liza to Me: A Memoir for My Silent Sister
Mum still felt sorry for what Elizabeth had done to him and I was able to help Mum with bottles and feeds without having to take it in turns to nurse the baby. When I was sick of that I could run around with Julian in the backyard. 32 d e pa r t u r e s He could ride Margaret’s tricycle and we made some deliciously black-looking mud pies. Margaret made out that she had a great time in hospital. Later she revealed that her throat thumped with pain and she missed Mum. She slept in a high bed in a corridor ward filled with sunlight next to one other girl and got to eat jelly and icecream for every meal.
Thump! It was awful to see Elizabeth hurting 42 school herself and we couldn’t understand it. Our parents explained that she was doing it out of frustration because she couldn’t tell us if she was unhappy or in pain the way we could. The smearing of excrement also resumed. Often it would be in her fingernails and she would smell. If she wiped it on us we would wash our hands, but it seemed to stay with us for the rest of the day. She would bite, pull hair and scratch whoever came close. And still she would dig her nails into our flesh and not release, even when we screamed in pain.
There was also a twin great-uncle and aunt, and two sets of twin great-great uncles and aunts. All his siblings had lots of children too. We knew our family tree thoroughly, our second cousins and first cousins once removed. Elizabeth was the first and only retarded one. I used to think that we got the bad luck for the whole clan until I grew up and realised that there was bad luck scattered, but hidden, all over the place. 37 6. school In January 1964 Elizabeth started at a special school. Each morning an aqua-green bus with the words ‘Eurella House School for Subnormal Children’ would come and pick her up and drop her home in the afternoon.
Always Liza to Me: A Memoir for My Silent Sister by Cecilia Rice