For now I too am an old artist. Ever searching for relevant meaning and purpose for my art expression, just as I searched a lifetime ago when my son was born. Now I am an old father, coping with my own advancing disability. Now I am an old man, having spent half his life caring for a son with a disability. My son has his own life these days and I’m left with many mixed feelings of regret and melancholy. Why couldn’t I have fared better during my life path fulfillment? My art seems adequate enough. The writing of this article stirs my emotions deeply as this chapter of my life really began on the 28th of September, 1994 when my little boy was only 6. On that day in September I received a letter from Exceptional Parent magazine saying that they would NOT be able to use the suggested article I had submitted at that time. It was an article about a story, my son’s story. Pillowdown is an allegorical adventure tale with cute illustrated characters, where all the players and events directly represent non-fiction counterparts and events analogous to my son’s medical condition. My son’s condition? Spina bifida. The story’s full name? Pillowdown, the Mystical Country. The telling of this story began 23 years ago, the conception of it even sooner. I have been given permission by EP magazine to resume telling it to you now. My journey has gone full circle, arriving here, at my last stop. Movement has many applications and definitions; did I arrive too late at my scheduled destination for anyone to greet me? Or give ear to my message?


The overall theme of Pillowdown, The Mystical Country is movement. The evil Spinasaurus personifies the terrifying & crippling effects spina bifida can inflict upon children. Nuro the Bumplebeast represents the gifted neurosurgeons that intervene with precise corrective procedures on children improving their mobility functions. Movement. Pure Zolden shoes represent the event my son experienced at three years old. When AFO’s were first placed on his legs, my son miraculously leaped up and ran around the kitchen dinner table releasing pent up desire for movement! It was amazing, thrilling the heart. For since birth he had only creeped. The Pillowdown Birds on Mt. Roonwren represent the freedom that movement can give to the human spirit, loving angels living on a higher plain and giving gifts to all those below. The luxurious pillows and featherbeds represent security and safety. Roonwren Mountain represents comfort and solace after heartbreak and loss. Home. Pillowdown, The Mystical Country is a short chapter book with illustrations. It has 10 more chapters about the length of the first

C H A P T E R  O N E

Pillowdown Birds & Roonwren Mountain

Once upon a feather, in a place with perfect weather, far away but not so long ago, at least the wise men tell me so, there was a land known as Pillowdown. Pillowdown was a mystical place of peace and harmony. Pure sparkling lakes and rivers flowed around and through Pillowdown, finally finding their way to Roonwren Mountain. A myriad of exotic and rare animals flourished in this land, not the least of which was the DinosaurDragons. Near the base of Roonwren Mountain was the small quaint village of Pillowdown the Town, the capital of Pillowdown the Nation.

Pillowdown Nation,

Pillowdown Tribe,

So proud to live,

So proud, here’s why!

Their village was renowned in many distant lands for its fine, fluffy and luxurious

featherbeds and pillows that were made there. This village was the pride and commerce center of the Pillowdown Nation. These pillows and feather beds were made with the subtle feathers from the Pillowdown bird. These miraculous birds lived high atop the Peak of Roonwren Mountain. Their feathers made them so fluffy they could roll up and down the mountainside like insane yo-yo’s and never be injured! Their prehensile tail feathers could grasp and hold to a branch or rock and stretch like a rubber band. Once a Pillowdown bird began yoyoing up and down this way it could yo-yo for hours, even days. Every time Pillowdown birds would yo-yo some of their feathers were knocked loose and fell out, making room for the new ones that grew back almost instantly. Many of the children from Pillowdown town would go upon the mountainside and collect these wondrously fluffy gifts that were used as down for the pillows and feather beds that were made there. This is how the name “Pillowdown” came to be.