Friday, April 4, 2008

Jemma Leech Will Take Your Breath Away

A Hawarden Grove Christmas
By Jemma Leech

I remember in London the winters were warm and wet. No snow or ice, just rainy gumboot-puddled walks in Brockwell Park, while the summer-packed paddling pool filled of its own accord with rainwater, autumn leaves and rainbows of crisp bags.
We disappeared in the secret garden underneath palisades of sleeping creeping clematis and wisteria, swapping the dry dark with the wet light as we trailed the paving maze to the fishpond at its heart.
Blackbirds waded in patches of newly dug earth, taking worms from the mud as an avocet might from a turning tide-bare beach. A robin called to me from the crumbling wall, saying 'spring will be here soon, believe me, believe me.' His red chest puffed out with pride as he sang me a song of love and fidelity. Flattery became him as I cried at his song, and he flew off knowing I'd believed in his truth. From the far end of the garden, I heard him begin his flirtation again with another open heart.
From the top of the hill in the park we had watched fireworks break out all across the city that Fifth of November, as if in domino from common to common. But on that Christmas Day the mist had come down, the park was an island and we were cut off from the mass of humanity beyond the mist. It was just me, my brother and sister, and our weary parents inhaling the fog like perfume on a cloud of silage steam grateful for the relief it brought from the stench of London. That mist-bound land was our kingdom that day, and I was its princess, adorned with a crown of diamond drips and drops, soon dried by the warmth of our terraced palace on Hawarden Grove.

Jemma Leech is a ten year old girl from Wales via London, who moved to Houston with her family.  She wrote this essay for a contest and won, beating 1600 other kids for the grand prize.
Even more amazing is that Jemma has cerebral palsy and writes on a computer with a xylophone stick.
Tomorrow I'll post her autobiography, written when she was only eight.
I was feeling kind of cheated out of life today. Until I saw this little girl with her mom on the news tonight. She is the embodiment of hope. I haven't stopped smiling since I started reading about her.


screaminremo303 said...

I was feeling pretty good about myself for learning to bake bread from scratch, until now.


salemslot9 said...

you actually saw her
on tv
does she speak
as she writes, too?

I remember reading
John Lennon was so proud
when he baked his first loaf of bread
he took a picture of it

robingrg2 said...

She was featured on GMA and was also this weeks person of the week on ABC News with Charles Gibson.  My son, who's a fifth grader here in Houston, was watching GMA with me and saw the story.  He already knew all about her because they had talked about her in school.  I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of this amazing girl in the weeks and months to come.  Wouldn't surprise me at all if Oprah does a show about her.

Robin in Texas

jevanslink said...

Note to Salemslot:

Jemma has severe cerebral palsy.  She can't speak at all.  Her movements are herky jerky.  She has a computer that can speak for her.  When she presses the keys with her xylophone stick.  Read the next entry to find out how she feels locked inside her broken body.  

Mrs. L

gaboatman said...

Mrs. L
Now you've got me smiling too.  There is a new hope on the horizon that I cannot name or describe, but I am beaming at the prospect of hearing more from this young soul, wise way beyond her years.  thanks!
Sam said...

I also have Cerebral Palsy and would like to be pen pals with Jemma. I would like to send Jemma a message saying how much I was impressed by her writing and life story. I wrote a book about life with Cerebral Palsy, and I would like to share that with Jemma. Can you please put me in touch with her?

Bob Segalman, Ph.D.

suzypwr said...

Impressive :-)