An Autistic Winnie and Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

One of the Pooh-like people I have ever met and our experiences together!

I had encountered hundreds of Pooh-like people in my life, all like my mom/ The Queen of them all! They all are cute and innocent, and those with cute, chubby faces feel better about their physical states. One of the top Winnies throughout my history is Caity Keidel, a girl my age with severe ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). She was always kind, yet was extremely forgettable in class. Surprisingly, she was less hyper than most ADHD victims. Perhaps her mind was full of racing thoughts about happy cartoons, stressful assignments, sad losses of long ago, and fierce, yet necessary, plans for mean people. Don’t worry, most people understood and respected this disabled Winnie.

 

In drama one class of freshmen year, it was our first high school elective ever. Mrs. Lombardo adored all her students, including ones with adorable, fat faces—plus a bit deformed looking for Keidel the Pooh. Later in that 5th period, we had to choose at least one student for a multi-person short play. We picked “The Tooth Hurts,” a comedy about one tooth fairy teaching a youngster about that magical responsibility. Leon/ myself struggled to maintain a successful job as the invisible guy and his head fairy tried to help my nerve wrecking, but also gentle, attitude. It ended with her privately phone calling the Boogs/ Boogie Man.

“Boogs! How are you? Have I got a deal for you!”

 

The last group act included us with two seniors who appeared autistic as well, this time with scenes from “The Odd Couple”. One looked more on the Asperger’s side (Katelyn Walters) and other more normal, though still resembling a little ADHD (Courtney Allen). The other Winnie/ Katelyn was always cuddly and friendly with neat attitude, loving hugs, and huge smile on her big face. I portrayed “He-zus” (Jesus); Winnie Keidel did Celcily Pigeon; Winnie Walters played Gwendolyn Pigeon; and Allen was casted as a female Vinnie. Throughout rehearsals and the performance, we all acted like argumentized, bickering individuals, except me. Mine, like I was in real life, had an unruffled, quiet personality. “My fiancée left me last month!,” my character said in the most gentle voice possible.

Both Winnies always spoke so clear and loud with their vocals, showed you autism can still make you an artistic person. The ADHD Winnie always loved acting no matter what she did. You could cast her in one-line roles or the main star. She loved it just the same; good thing we had world history together after this semester class finished.

 

During Christmas break that year, I watched one of the oldest classics ever made, “Dracula’s Daughter”. It was about a misunderstood vampire who wanted to be human or be free of evil forever. I felt for her and Gloria Holden, who played the dazzling countess. This 1936 masterpiece was lesser known due to other hits around that time, including ‘Dracula” 1931 and “Frankenstein”. The vampire lady made me think of Caity who was a mix of her and Pooh Bare. Along with Winnie qualities, she also had a bit of a fuzzy gothic side when speaking about serious things and unhappy with mean or insensitive people around her. Winnie the Pooh’s Daughter was definitely one of my most struggling and sweetest friends ever!

 

After world history and becoming sophomores at last, we took drama two, a year-long class this time. Winnie Walters and Allen left, though several bright seniors were around us in anything drama-related. For plays we performed together, we did the famous fairytale called “The Golden Goose”. Everyone, even Sue Lombardo, participated in acting for a lot of kindergarten through second graders when fully prepared. I was Count Jester and she played one of the servants for Princess Crybaby. Jester played horribly with a whistle and drums to hopefully make her smile, sent to the dungeon immediately! Melody O’Neal laughed out of acting about enslaving people who would never ever be handcuffed in her book. Lucky Winnie got to just say simple lines as, “Simply Simpleton!,” with others and not be tortured at all.

I received an A in class while she received one as well!

 

During second semester, we did another class play named “How to Eat Like a Child”. Despite being teenagers, we had to act like whinny, funny, and energetic children. I know, how ridiculous! Still, like her, I always loved my roles no matter what. This one would be acted with people from Midland’s ESA (Educational Services Agency), which included low-formed autistic people. Some in it at Midland High got to act with drama two class. Despite feeling sad about Piglet, who literally said five words in his lifespan, couldn’t join, it was a spectacular experience. The scenes I played with her included “How to Torture Your Sister” and finale/ “We Refuse to Fall Asleep”. Laughingly, I could not believe I had to say such mean things to one of the greatest people of MHS! I also felt the same toward the other girls who got abused by the boys in class and agency. Everyone in the ESA, including Piglet, got to see the whole thing and loved it. His facial expression may have mostly looked dull all the time, yet when charming moments occurred, he was highly happy. Kim and Tina “Winnie,” his two paras, got to comment for him to me while coincidently with Keidel. “That was a great performance, Jonathan!,” congratulated Winnie Biggs.

“You did a spectacular job!”

“Thank you, you two!”
Caity knew they meant the same for her even though she barely knew them and vice versa.

 

One of the agency students was David Ginther, fully blown autistic older brother of Scott, very similar to Piglet. Caity had an understanding, but bumpy relationship with him everywhere. Thank goodness I always got along with that fierce, but cautious, student! As she would put, “In point of view of fantasies, I am an enchantress using my magic powers to evoke that evil wizard off the face of my life!”
Poor Winnie, all sad with dealing with that brute in physics and English classes. For some reason, he didn’t dare harm me with a “39 ½ inch pole”. I guess it was because I shared his disability, had a low-functioning brother, and treated him kindly all the time. He would shout, “You are an annoying little twerp who I can’t stand sitting by everyday!”

“Get over it, Scott!”

“FINE!”

Those issues for him were understandable for freshmen year, sophomore maybe.

 

Junior year came, and while being a part of drama second semester, it was all about college prep now! Caity was not your brightest student when it came to core classes, though she mildly did well with writing and reading. Aside with plays, I had zero classes with her, though she did have my teachers at different points. Most of the first semester time was with smiles and waves in the halls. After finally making through more than halfway, I got to meet in class at last.

 

This time, while cheery as usual about acting, I also thought of Scott Ginther the Beast (as in that Disney flick). I knew he was good really, yet speaking Christian, I had to deal with school, more socialization, and how he tortured innocents as Winnie. Thankfully, he never did drama with us and got to peacefully do the entire class without a fuss. She did a group act without me included, and while giving her best, didn’t greatly do well. Her voice was stellar, yet her memorization was off a lot. Forgetting lines for a “Sherlock Holmes” short was shocking, one of the most legendary people in history. All of the junior stress and his wild ways definitely messed with her mind. Other students, such as Allie Williams, truly made it more bearable for her, and also warm and fuzzy for ones like myself. Kristen Leny, who acted with her and also an Aspie, had some same academic struggles, showed in their performance. No need to worry: they definitely passed and still thought out generous Delta Community College.

 

For the final big play in drama class prior to Sue retiring, we did “Rapunzel”. I got the opportunity to play the head male, her father—absolutely an honor for her last class hurrah! Winnie did one of several witches for the head one. After six weeks of rehearsal, we were ready to perform for five to eight-year-olds again at Adams Elementary School. All rehearsals were a struggle, especially Caity and a few others forgetting their lines every time. Still, she maintained a good attitude after feeling nervous about how her mentor thought of not exactly memorizing dialogue and movements. Others and I stood by her side to at least secretly cheer her on! My wife/ Natalie Schwartz and I loved how she and every other witch redeemed themselves in the end for especially Rapunzel/ Emma Moore. Queen Winnie got to see the performance with Owl, right by our house after all. They could tell I was a stellar and so was the Winnie; my sister/ Owl even felt a warm feeling when seeing her and never even met prior.

 

One more act was required to do well this semester, and I managed to find a play with her, Maddie Mammel, and Bella View. After acting with the head witch, a sidekick, and townsfolk, performing scenes from “The Secret Garden” would go splendidly. Keidel was Mary Lennox; Bella as Martha Sowerby; Maddie as female Dickon Sowerby; and Christopher Robin as Sir Colin Craven. With half the time to rehearse as “Rapunzel,” we went to work right away. After nice practices even when forgetting a few lines, we finally performed in the little theatre for exam time. “When they said you were coming from India, I thought you were going to be a native,” said Bella.

Her Eeyore/ old donkey personality still boomed merrily when acting, and Maddie was the exact same way throughout. “Are you making this magic?,” asked Colin.

“No, you are.”

[indicates his chest]

“It’s like the whole universe is in here.”

Speaking and movements as moving from stage left to center front went on and on for almost 15 minutes.

Finally, Mary cried out, “Curtain!,” as all actors say when finishing a play.

 

When graded, Mrs. L and every other audience member clapped proudly and forthwith with comments. After hearing likeable as, “All of you sounded clear and memorized your lines!,” Sue gave the final verdict.

“After judging your entire performance over all…”

My mind raced with fear and anxiety, with a bit of joy for comfort. “This is by far the best play all of you have ever done!”
Hallelujah! We both got good grades again, another A for me! While her grades overall did not match my National Honors Society work, she still made it and somehow knew our last performance together was best for last.

 

For Scott, he respected her more after stressful junior year was over. Really did like her all along! As for the rest of high school, Winnie would occasionally spend lunches with me and others and got to spend another major moment when leaving drama club senior year. Seniors could make up their own awards for another friend their age: “Winnie the Pooh’s Daughter Award”. I said a short speech for the award. “This friend of mine is a very nice person and always like Winnie the Pooh, in a cute and good way. Plus, Dracula’s Daughter from a 1930s film and ‘Hotel Transylvania’. I am proud to present Caitlyn Keidel the Winnie the Pooh’s Daughter Award!”

For her, “This individual is one of the nicest people I have ever met and deserves to be recognized with an award. He really is a great guy when you get to know him. I give Jonathan Young the kindest actor award!”

We walked up to one another when giving our certificate awards in front of hundreds at the drama banquet. Even after Midland High School, we continued to speak via email and would always remain great friends no matter what happened to that autistic Winnie and me. All hail all of the Winnies and our Queen Winnie!


Submitted: December 10, 2018

© Copyright 2021 JonathanSluty. All rights reserved.

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