|I was born Nov. 30, 1938, in Pine Springs, Ontario. My name is David
Russell Johnson (Russell after my Dad). I have two brothers and three
sisters. One brother and one sister are younger than I.
When I was born
the doctors believed I would not live beyond two years. Then they changed
it to twelve years.
My family moved to Minden Ontario, when I was about three years old. It
was in Minden that my Dad bought a piano and I learned to play simple
tunes by hitting the keys with my whole hand. When I was 10 my Dad let me
drive his truck around our yard. I have always loved mechanical things.
My father owned and worked in a sawmill in the Minden area but he had
to close it down. When he was offered a job in Sault Ste Marie we moved
there. I was twelve years old at the time and Sault Ste Marie was a big
city to me. Sault Ste Marie was where I first went to school.
I was 14 and in grade one, bigger and older than everyone in my class but
I learned to read and write. I attended elementary school in the
Sault for seven years but eventually the math became too difficult for me
so I dropped out of school.
After dropping out of school I lived and worked at The Davey Home, ( a
senior citizens home) which was a half our bus ride from my parents house.
This is where I learned to drive a tractor, a truck, cut the grass and
operate the snow blower. With the encouragement of my brother-in-law, I
learned how to ride a moped, then a 90 Honda. When I sold the Honda, I
bought my first car with the help of my family.
I lived and worked at the Davy Home for 23 years. During this time I
became a friend with a man who had cerebral palsy. I helped him get around
in his wheelchair when he needed someone to take him out to special
When I was 44 years old I decided to leave the Davey Home and go to a
Home Support Program sponsored by the March of Dimes. I learned how to
repair small electrical things like lamps, radios and toasters with the
March of Dimes.
My feet have always given me problems. I must soak them every night.
Shoes that fit are difficult to find. Runners are the most comfortable
shoes for me. Until I was about 40 years old, putting my shoes and
stockings on without help was almost impossible. Now I can put my
own stockings on with the aid of a plastic apparatus, which has straps. I
can fasten my shoes too because there is Velcro in place of laces.
I became eligible, at 46, to live in a small apartment at Community
Living in Algoma. This is where I still live, doing all my own cooking,
shopping, cleaning and dressing myself. Although life has been
hard because of my affliction I am seldom sick.
The biggest highlight of my life was getting my drivers license and
buying my car. I enjoy the freedom of driving (walking is not easy) I have
a small trailer for camping that I pull with my car. There are many lakes
in this area and camping is good. This summer, July 2004, I spent
one-week holidays with a group from Community Living, at cottages on the
shore of Lake Superior. We had a good time.
I few years ago I flew to Halifax, Nova Scotia to visit my brother Al.
I have also been to Ottawa and Montreal to visit Helen.
Of my three sisters, Dorothy and Vera live here in Sault Ste Marie.
Elgin, the baby of our family, also lives in the Sault.
Whenever my car needs fixing I know that I can count on Dorothy and my
brother-in-law Bill to help me with the repairs. Elgin is only a phone
call away if I need something for my apartment that I canít manage myself.
It is a pleasure to be part of Teeterís Page and I thank you very much for
all your work.
PS - I always believed that I was the only person in
the world who looked like this. I wanted so very much to see another
person who I could identify with, on Teeter's page I have found many.
Thank you so much.