1974 Doodle: The Springtime of my ID

Terry Anderson Doodle Artwork 1974

Going through some old memorabilia recently I came across this doodle I did in 1974. The reason I know it was '74 is because on the back of the yellow paper the drawing is on are the figures 4.50x40. This was the rate of pay I was receiving working at a Center in Arlington Virginia which served the Developmentally Disabled. I was in charge of a group of about 8-12 individuals aged late 20's through early 40's whose impairments ranged from brain injured, Down's syndrome, autism, to other mentally and emotionally challenged people, some of whom wore helmets in case of seizure.

I was tasked with physically and cognitively stimulating them in any way I could, and so I exercised, played games with them, and took them for rides in the Center's van for many months without notable success before one day discovering a nearby recreation center. Wandering in I spoke with a kindly attendant who told me of an unused spare room they had with a trampoline in it. Using that trampoline was for my group like the movie Awakening.

My charges Loved it, seemingly never tiring of jumping up and down, doing sitouts, making joyful noises as they experienced weightlessness and the exhilaration of leaving the ground for the first time in their lives. I can still see the euphoria and excitement in the eyes of Bette Grimes, an autistic lady in her 40's who rarely spoke, as she waited her turn and then climbed onto the miraculous trampoline. It was a wondrous spring and fall for them and a privilege I've never forgotten that I was able to be a part of my groups lives during that time.

The doodle, which calls itself The Springtime of my ID, most likely represents my fragile state of mind as I tried with great trepidation to embark on a career in a helping profession, struggling to advance armed with the wrong degree, hitting ceiling after ceiling, not yet able to retool by going back to school. I was following my heart towards an aim which was present within me but whose exact path forward would for many years remain hidden from my sight.