An Isolated World of His Own Creation

Frank B. Withrow - The Dawn Patrol

Andrew was a loner who lived in his own world with very little interactions with other children in either the dormitory or the classroom. He was a tall, skinny, awkward kid. He had a talent for drawing. He created a whole world of his own in his drawings. In fact, his most expressive communication came through his drawings.

When he was about twelve or thirteen he began drawing elaborate cartoons including his own language. His most elaborate efforts were of a semi-Roman type of society. He spent hours drawing these detailed cartoons of his imaginary world. He had observed the mechanical aspect of the buildings that made up the school campus, and in some of his drawings he had elaborate electrical and plumbing systems.

Andrew was not a good student, but he did like words. He was not an athletic or outdoors fellow. He did not like to go to the Boy Scout camp. One camping trip I heard him conjugating verbs. I am not going to camp, I will not got to camp, I shall not go to camp, etc. in the back of the bus on the way to camp. We were a little late getting to the campsite and pitching our tents. Consequently, it was dark by the time the boys started their fires and began cooking their meals. I was excited because Andrew was one of the first to sit down and start eating. However, when I approached him I realized he had not been able to start his campfire and was eating his food raw.

Andrew had a marvelous eye and could draw things with amazing details. If he was interested in a machine, he could draw it with all the rivets, and I felt if I counted them they would be accurate.

Andrew did not like his formal art class, but preferred to live in his own art world. I am confident that he could have used his talent if we had been able to control it. I do not know what happened to Andrew, but I have often wondered what he would have done with computer based art programs.

Andrew had a hearing loss, but was content to live in an isolated world of his own creation. I was a graduate student at the time. It would have been informative if we had been able to decode the language he created for his Roman characters in his elaborate cartoons. I wonder if he continued his artwork as he grew into adulthood. Today the computer gives us new tools to reach difficult learners like Andrew.

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