Strangers in our own country

Today we travelled approximately 2 hours away from our home. Nothing major, we were going to have the kids measured up for cooling vests and, as one size does not fit all, we decided to go and have it done by the people making them. The trip was great, listening to kids excited in the back as we drove through short tunnels and under huge bridges and alongside an Airport.  We saw massive diggers shifting the dirt at road works and the odd cow and horse in paddocks along the way.

At our destination, we met the wonderful people who were going to make the vests for the boys and the kids had fun, running around the three door exits which were superbly placed in a circle.  We were only there for about 1/2 an hour and they then pointed out the nearest maccas so we could grab a quick snack before returning home.

It was at MacDonald’s where I noticed for the first time in a long time, how people stare. At first I thought it was just due to the fact we had 4 kids who look like two sets of twins. Then, as I looked at faces staring at our kids, I realised it was their appearance. There were plenty other large families there.

These faces were staring at the three skinny white boys with white hair and “scary” pointy teeth. They were staring at Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia’s trade mark differences.

Three young girls struck me the most, they were unaccompanied by the looks of it, and they were eating as the kids ran in to the playground.

As my children ran past, I saw how they stopped mid-bite and looked, first at the boys and then at each other, half-eaten burger and chips still hanging from their mouths. They seemed mesmerised. Every time one of the boys ran past they would turn in unison and stare after him, slowly chewing their food as they went. Not a word was spoken between them, as they ate the rest of their food. They then picked up their rubbish, walked out, almost backwards, still looking and were gone.

I don’t know, I didn’t feel angry or anything. I felt a strange detachment as I started to analyse how the girls must have felt, having their “haunt” invaded by four strange children (strange as in not from their area) who actually looked even more strange. I realised that had we been as dark as the night itself, or white as ghosts, they would have stared just as much.

I realised, we have a long road ahead of us, educating and learning to accept differences in all. The ripples on this pond are getting out there, all of you are helping them spread with your knowledge. 

With Love & Support,

Tarja Kelly

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2 Responses to “Strangers in our own country”


  1. 1 Ros Kean 22/04/2010 at 7:00 pm

    I can absolutely relate to the staring as I am constantly noticing people doing just when I am out and about with my son. James has just turned 17 and like your boys he has Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia. It’s just one more thing these kids will always have to deal with but it makes me as his mum feel so angry that some people can be so tactless. I remember when he was just a little guy about two years old and I heard that some older kids in the neighbourhood were calling him the vampire baby because of him only having four pointed teeth. In a way it must help your boys to have each other as I know James often feels like he’s the only person on the planet with ectodermal dysplasia.

  2. 2 skip hire High Wycombe 22/07/2013 at 2:56 am

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