Published by VOICE Magazine (Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International in September of 1987.
Following my birth on October 11th, 1954, doctors did not give my
parents very good news. I had suffered a birth defect in my
central nervous system, and predictions of what my life would
be like included hyperactivity, mental retardation, and the possibility
of being an epileptic.
This wasn't a very optimistic outlook, but God had His plans. As it
turned out, I wasn't retarded, and never had any seizures, but I did
suffer from hyperactivity, which created social and emotional problems
later in life.
A person who suffers from hyperactivity feels the neeed for abnormal
quanities of motor behavior. Hopefully, he can learn to channel
this nervous energy into activities such as play, baseball,
basketball, hide-and-go-seek, etc., but it doesn't always work.
My body would often display abnormal forms of motor such as "gyrations."
This is when a hyperactive child jumps up and down and waves his
hands all over. Bobbing back and forth sitting , or swaying back
and forth standing up, are also forms of abnormal behavior
associated with hyperactivity.
Other kids would look and wonder what was the matter with me. This
often brought cruel imitations and laughter at my expense. At night
I would bang my head on the pillow before I went to sleep. While
other people counted sheep, I'd bang my head.
Other exptressions of hyperactivity include talking to oneself.
Hyperactive people feel the need to engage in converation, so when
there's nobody around they talk to themselves.
My early childhood was also plagued by a learning disability. It was
very hard for me to stay put in my seat and pay attention in class
and do my work. So I didn't quite get through the first grade.
I was put in what they call junior second, which is half way
between first and second grade.
To complicate things further, junior second was taught by a woman
who was to old to be teaching small children. She acted mean towards
the class, which proved to be to much for me, so my parents pulled
out of school.
For the remainder of the year I had a teacher
come to my house. Aside from that, I watched cartoons. That was
one of the best ways to keep me out of mischeif until I could return
to school the next year. When I returned, I was place in a class
with the educationally handicapped (EMR).
My teacher in EMR was Mr. Crum. I had him for second and third
grade (I was already 10 years old in the third grade). Mr. Crum
did a lot for me in the two years I was with him. When I started
the fourth grade I was back in regular classes and out of EMR. From
there my learning capabilities improved with work. But I tell you
it was a long way from EMR to being an honor student in my freshman
and sophmore years of college! Praise the Lord!
However, other problems crept in--emotional problems. I felt (and still
do at times) the need to get attention for myself. Back then I felt
crying was a good way. But I learned that when I did it, it did not
get me the kind of attention I wanted. The need for attention, in
combination with having to take a lot of prescribed "downers"
to curb my hyperactivity, then produced a lot of emotional problems
which reached a peak in the middle of the sixth grade. After losing
the respect of classmates who could not understand this problem,
I worked hard to curb it.
Prior to starting junior high my emotions were completely under
control--at least most of the time. But junior high began the worse
phase of my life. Adolescense as you probably know, begins the
so-called age where boys and girls are separated from the "nerds">.
A lot of my adolescent classmates had no idea that those emotional
problems existed, but I still had the problem of my birth defect.
Teenagers can react cruelly to something like this, so I was the
target of a lot of verbal abuse by my classmates at Trident Jr. High.
They would try and egg me on to do things that would make me make
a fool of myself and get me in trouble.
Soon my self esteem crumbled and I felt that the only way I could get people to respect me was to give in and make an idiot of myself. One time I did something stupid just so others could have some amusement I was in the junior high marching band and a couple of the band members tried to egg me on to do a marching demonstration for the whole camous. Well, I felt hopeless as usual, and began marching. Some spectators laft, one yelled out, "Hey kid, are you retatrded?" My reply was, "No, they are." Then a third guy looked at me with pity and said, "What in the devil are you doing that for?" To this day I respect him for asking me that question, but I felt so helpless and draine of self esteem, I just couldn't give him an answer.
As the kids continued to verbally abuse me by calling me names like
"Retard" or "Wierdo" and get amusement at my expense, my
self confidence and my social life almost crumbled completely.
I lived in Anaheim for 15 years when my dad got a promotion and
we relocated to Sacramento. During my last day at Trident, a fellow
saxophonist in the band said "We're going to miss you Billy," in a mocking
tone, which really meant "Your leaving is the best thing that could
happen to us."
I had set a record for the 50 yard dash in the 8th grade, 6.3 seconds.
I was one of the fastest runners in the 8th grade.That did get me
some respect from the kids. If it wasn't for that, I would have
really been in the soup socially, even more than I already was.
When the family moved to Fair Oaks, which is a uburb of Sacramento,
I finished up junior high at Will Rogers Intermediate School. Before long
things were right back where I finished of at Trident, only worse.
I was malisciously lead on by members of the opposite sex. But in
addition to that came physical abuse as well, particularly from some
This carried over into my freshman year in high school. Things more or less
remined the same until I met one person who accepted me just the way I
was, handicap or no handicap; problems or no problems. That was Jesus
Christ. After I accepted him, things began to change.
I was in a high school group at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church.
Jesus accepts people no matter what they look like, no matter their
handicap, He accepts everybody the same. When I accepted him, I was a
new person, and a new being. And because the personality of Christ
exists in all those who accept Him as Lord and Savior, I was loved and
accepted by people in that high school group. Christ was changing my life.
I hadn't, however, accepted the fact that I was being changed totally.
I felt the change was only restricted to the confines of that fllowship group.
In later years, the Lord sought to make me aware that He was able to change my
life no matter what the circumstances. It took high school popularity
to make me realize that my life was totally changed no matter what
During the summer of 1971 my dad got another job offer yo work for
the "feds" in Washington DC. My Junior Year brought me to Thomas
S. Wootton High School. I worked hard and took pride in being manager of the
wrestling team. Mr. Loudenberg, the football coach, took a liking to me and
asked me to be track manager, and later, manager for football. At the
Spring Sports Banquet at school, it was announced by Coach Loudenberg
that I was going to be the first three letter manager in the history of the
school after football season.
The coaching staff gained a huge amount of respect for me. When the so called
"jock clique" saw that, they grew to like me very much. Then
the cheerleaders and pom pom girls followed suit. In November of 1973,
I was the first three letter manager. Prior to that, I acquired high school
popularity. I was a senior by then, and my family had to move back to
Southern California in the middle of my senior year.
When I moved to Southern California to finish my senior year
at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, I received a multitude of letters
from atheletes, cheerleaders, popm pom girls letting me know
how much I was missed at Thomas S. Wootton. It was arranged then that
I could return to Thamas S. Wootton and go through the graduation ceremony there.
That became my alma mater. I was announced along with the Valedictorian and the
Top Ten in the class, as being the Most Improved Student in the
Class of 1974.
All this time the Lord was working in me to acknowledge that he was
changing my life, I was a backslider and was turning my back on Him.
But even though we sometimes turn our backs on Him, God never gives up on us.
Hebrews 13:5 says, "I will never leave you or forsake you."
The Lord stuck with me.
My parents and I had been told by advisors in High School that I could never
make it in college. But Phillipians 4:13 says "I can do all things
in Christ who strengthens me." I not only went to college, I received
good marks, graduating in August of 1979.
In the Fall of 1974, I rededicated my life to Christ, and have been growing in
His Word and His Spirit ever since. I have become increasingly more
well liked wherever I go. Jesus has made a strong difference in my life, and
He can do the same for anyone who is suffering from ill treatment
because their only crime is being slightly different, or there is a handicap.
There are many teens out there who are hurting and suffering the same way
I did because of something they have no control over.
But the Lord can change their lives the same way he changed mine. We
need to lift these people up in prayer continually and let them
know what Jesus can do.
AUTHORS NOTES: This article was published in September of 1987, 8 years
before I was officially dianosed with Tourette Syndrome. I did not ;earn
that I had Tourette Syndrome until the Summer of 1995. The gyrations
mentioned in this article are actually called Motor and Vocal Tics.
When this article was published 15 years ago, The Publishers and Editors of
VOICE Magazine said I can have this article re-published later on if I want,
which is why I am able to post in on my website.
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