For many of us, the fall season means cooler temperatures, beautiful foliage, Halloween, getting drunk, and of course…pumpkin-carving.
Not so in Kingston, where Lisa Beasley’s special education students have created a whole new twist on this age-old pastime. The switch was made, in part, due to a less-than-successful pumpkin-carving session in 2008.
“We tried the pumpkin-carving thing last year,” said Beasley. “In retrospect, 14 retarded children running around with knives shouldn’t have seemed like a good idea…I mean ‘duh,’ right? We lost a few eyes, some hair, and had to deal with some pretty significant scarring. I mean poor little Albert over there looks like he got kicked in the face by a donkey, and now his left eye-brow won’t grow back. Anyways, they really don’t know the difference. Carving, hammering, reading, zebras, mommy, toast, pointy, Canada, the sun ….those are all the same things to them.”
Watching 3 year old Jaime Ferris flail away wildly at the class pumpkin, you wouldn’t take her for a first-time pumpkin hammerer. She guides each blow with almost machine-like precision, as if possessed by some innate force of nature, driving her plastic hammer further into its target with each swing.
“Meow?,” asked Ferris. “Bam bam bam…b…ba…bam…bam…bunkin bammy bam bam…baaaaaaaaaaaaam.”