Blane Beckwith

Blane Beckwith

blane beckwithI was born on December 22, 1955, in a small town in Pennsylvania named Corry.  I grew up in an even smaller town named Bear Lake.  There were only about 300 people living in Bear Lake at that time.

My mother and father were both typical working-class people who tried very hard to provide their three sons (Theodore a.k.a. Ted, me, and Mark) with everything they needed to have a good life.

The fact that Mark and I were born with a genetic condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) did not make it easier for either one of my parents or our brother Ted. Despite our disability, Mark and I were treated equally in every respect possible.  Our parents taught us that we were just as entitled to enjoy life as everyone else.  They raised us to be strong and independent.  They never discouraged us from from pursuing anything that we wanted to achieve.

My education began at age five, when I attended Bear Lake school.  Bear Lake school was a one school house with one teacher, Mrs. Morton.  She was a great teacher who always made me feel just like any other kid, despite the fact that I was the only one in a wheelchair. Even though there were four different grades, 1-4, Mrs. Morton always maintained strict order in the classroom.

After I was finished with the 4th grade, the highest level which was offered at Bear Lake, I attended Columbus Elementary school, which was about five miles from Bear Lake.  I spent two productive years there before moving on to Corry Area High School.

It was at this point that my life began to get very interesting, not to mention stressful.  I was the 1st disabled person in a wheelchair to attend Corry Area High School. After high school, since there were no accessible college campuses in Pennsylvania, until they passed legislation that required colleges to be accessible, I really did not do much, except go places with my brother Ted.

After Edinboro State College became wheelchair accessible, in 1976, I started college in 1977. I attended college there until 1980, until I moved to Berkeley, California. I did not attend any more college until 1994, when I became a student At Vista Community College, here in Berkeley. I graduated in 2006, with both an Associates Degree in English and an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts.

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