'This river winding, script' by Claude Rimmer

Our lives are like a map of this river winding.

"Cripple, senseless, mental, spastic, subnormal, cripple, spastic, idiot."

A journey that varies wherever we go. Different people with different attitudes. Some can greet you. Others turn their heads away.

You meet different people; have different experiences on different parts of your river: bad times, good times, exciting opportunities. Always hoping that we will share each other's experiences. Different places that you reach for.

I remember the ice cream man in his ice cream van. The music playing to let people know he's around. The music playing until the people come out, asking for wafers, lollies and cornets.

I was first in the queue. I couldn't reach the window so I wore my sister's high heeled shoes. I felt big in her shoes because everyone called me Titch.

They said I'd never grow up. It is something they used to say to people with learning difficulties. The teacher, she put a label on me "BACKWARD", holding me back, pinning me down with a name. The playground attendant always watching me.

But, when my sister watched me, I could go out of the gate, wear her shoes to make me tall.

Why do I remember the ice cream man after all this time.

My dad would tie the gate so I couldn't get out. My family, too over-protective they were. The specialist saying I'd never grow up. Putting me behind, making me believe him. The other children stopping my freedom by pushing me out and making me different. And it is only communication. It is all I ever really wanted people to do, us meeting equally, people reaching, people trying to meet each other half way.

When I went to school I had the symbol of the snake and of the torch, on my cap and on my blazer.

For me, the torch stood for epilepsy, the flame for the heat in my head.

The snake was for falling down in a fit.

If I wanted a symbol now I would choose the ladder and the fist. The ladder to show I am climbing up, that I am climbing to the top, and the fist for the power, the strength I am getting for myself, as I grip the ladder and go up and up and up.

Romance is a love story. Two in love, putting arms around each together and kiss. Man and a woman. I'd like them to be me and Brenda, because we love each other, but we don't have romance like in a book, no mountains, no sunsets.

I'd like to give her a flower, but I have no money. Go out for a meal, but I can't afford it. Nice wine, champagne, talk together, but my mum would have to think about it. I have to wait for her to say yes, but I've never asked her.

I just wait and see. I wait for the lottery. I wait for freedom. I wait for love.

Names. "No!". Knock down the wall. There's people on one side and people on the other. We can't see each other.

"Dumb, idiot, backwards, mental, subhuman". Knock down, knock down, knock down. A wall can stop you doing things, like jobs, like schools, like your own home, like children and marriage.

Attitudes. Knock down, knock down, knock down. A wall is there to ignore us. They must wake up and see what's around them.

"Staff, attitudes, specialists, bosses, parents". Knock down, knock down, knock down. They have to face what they have been ignoring. The world would be a happier place. Everyone would know each other.

Freedom! "No! Control." Freedom! Knock down, knock down, knock down. I would really would love to be around to see that happen.

Our lives are like a map of this river winding. A journey which varies wherever we go. You meet different people, have different experiences on different parts of your river: bad times, good times, exciting opportunities. Different places that you reach for. Different people with different attitudes, feelings.

Support each other. Show respect for our differences. So far up the river, into the sea, there is a bridge all of us will cross. Where everyone will meet up. And we are all reaching for that bridge, along the winding river.