17 Years Since Cats

Steven was watching one of his junior school videos on Sunday. This one was from 2000 and his class were doing Cats.

I find watching them unbearably sad.

There were seven kids in the class.

Steven played The Rum Tum Tugger.

Mr Mistophelees is in the supported living place round the corner from us where everyone is in bed by 7pm.

Mungo Jerry died in 2010 of an impaction.

Rumpleteezer’s parents died a few years ago & she was moved to a residential home in the Midlands.

Skimbleshanks has been in a secure unit on the south coast since 2011. He was moved there a couple of weeks after Steven’s court case. Same care team.

Old Deuteronomy and Jennie Any Dots have disappeared off the radar.

At one point during the video, the camera pans round the audience and we parents are singing and clapping like crazy.

We were proud.

And we didn’t know a bloody thing.



As Steven would say when he does his impersonation of Bill Hislop in Muriel’s Wedding, “Strewth, what a coincidence”.

Trolling round the shops this morning I bumped into one of Steven’s old classroom assistants from senior school. We didn’t have long to chat as she was on her way to “the Chinese herbalist with my bladder” (she said I could write that). But the good news is she told me that Jennie Any Dots is still living and thriving in the borough.

2 out of 7.

9 thoughts on “17 Years Since Cats”

  1. […] watch his son’s old school shows any more: not because Steven is gone, but because so many of his classmates are.  I thought of 1,453 other Southern Health families who, over the last four years, have suddenly […]

  2. It is why parents, of sons and daughters still at school, without any/much involvement by LA’s, should be looking around at what happens when our children hit eighteen.

    An adult too soon, our sons and daughters start to fall into the pit ,and no matter how hard we try we can become powerless to prevent it.

    I have tried to have this conversation with parents of younger children. Some seem to see us, oldies, as somehow different from them. Or perhaps they see all and occupied by the now, the future is just too scary to look in the face ?

    But without this recognition of the darkness to come,.other children’s lives will become as Steven’s friends have become. .

    For mums and dads get older too – and become more tired and more anxious.

    Older families live in constant fear of the people paid only to help and support us and our sons and daughters.

    More life and energy is needed now, when isolated in numbers in a dogma dangerous ‘community’ institution,.or are locked away …miles away ….our sons and daughters are now totally at the whim of a deaf and blind ….absolute power.

    Change it.

    For your boy and your girl.

  3. I won’t say like, because it’s too sad. I fear one aspect and unintended consequence of the old belief that people with learning disabilities died young, has meant that nobody planned too much about how to provide a decent life for those who lived. There were a few isolated developments by concerned individuals, but nothing that ever made it over into mainstream provision. As a result of this and all the financial/privatisation shenanigans, things have just reverted to the awful old institutional model.

  4. As others have said, so sad and heartbreaking. In my work I see a lot of parents who keep their children at home until they (the parents) die. With the poor quality of some of the provision (another dehumanising word in the wrong context) out there, you can’t blame them. However, if they start looking while they are relatively healthy, they can have more control over what happens to their children, and hopefully find a good place for them to live.

    1. Yes, but care homes change all the time. What might be a decent place to live now, might be unsuitable in six months time. Managers, staff,residents, budgets, constantly change and not always for the better. So, a good place to live is impossible to be sure of.

  5. Children with autism, Down’s syndrome etc. often ‘disappear’ once they reach adulthood. Really, really sad.

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