Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Reality of the Time

I’ve recently been addicted to a cable TV show called Mad Men. It’s new season will start mid-Summer, so I have been making my way through all the previous seasons on Blu-ray. Here’s what the Mad Men website has to say about the show:

Set in 1960s New York, the sexy, stylized and provocative AMC drama Mad Men follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell. The latest season of the show takes place in 1963.

The Premise: The series revolves around the conflicted world of Don Draper (Hamm), the biggest ad man (and ladies man) in the business, and his colleagues at the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency. As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels. The series also depicts authentically the roles of men and women in this era while exploring the true human nature beneath the guise of 1960s traditional family values.

It was that part about “1960’s traditional family values” that first interested me. Think Leave it to Beaver or Ozzie and Harriet…what I didn’t see in the show, however, was anyone with a disability. And I very clearly remember that about the late 60’s when I was growing up.

There was never a student with a disability in any of my classes at school. I never saw people with disabilities in the community or in church. Where I did see two young men with disabilities was in the home of one of my parent’s friends.

Mr. Lamden was a pharmacist and his wife was a stay-at-home wife and mother. Their two sons, both teens at the time, and both with severe cerebral palsy, lived one neighborhood over from us. While I would sometimes see Mr. Lamden at the drugstore, I never saw Mrs. Lamden or her two sons unless we visited their home.

I so clearly remember how excited the boys were to have young visitors like my brother and me. Their smiles would explode as soon as we walked into the room, and though they couldn’t speak, the sounds they made were obviously (at least to me) happy sounds. We entertained each other just by existing in the same room together, and I could read the disappointment on their faces when it was time for my family to leave.

I remember wondering, even though I was young, why the boys didn’t go to school – why their parents didn’t take them to the park or the beach. I wondered what they did to pass the day, and if they were happy and content with their lives. I imagined that they wanted more but didn’t know how to tell their parents.

I believe that those two Lamden sons were the reason my heart for advocacy was born. Even though my world is now filled with people of all abilities, I long to know what ever happened to the Lamden boys, and I so wish I could tell them ‘Thank you’.

1 comment:

Azaera said...

Aww that's so touching. All I remember about blind people growing up (not all disabled people though) was one of our students at my highschool who was legally blind always did the whole -I can't see so I'm going to feel around and if I "accidentally" touch your boobs then oops my bad- trick.