The Scene: Interior of suburban family home. A mother is cleaning out the closet in her office. Storage boxes – some opened, some closed – surround her where she is seated cross-legged on the floor. She holds several papers in her hand and emits a chuckle as she reads things that her autistic son has said over the years. He started putting two words together at age five and gradually, with time and therapy, increased. She marvels at his progression from “Green is in the finger,” said at age 6 when he noticed green paint under his fingernails, to “If it gets too cold or too warm, then I would call out for you,” said at age 10 while his bathwater was running. But his lifelong interest in geography and history produced some of his most memorable quotations. The mother laughs as she discovers her scribbled notes from when her son wondered, at age 8, “Does Canada speak Leafish?” as well as the following discussion that took place three years ago, at age 12:
Son: Would it be offensive if I was Adolf Hitler for Halloween?
Mother: Probably to some people.
Son: What about Japanese Naval General Isoroku Yamamoto?
Mother: The one who bombed Pearl Harbor?!
Son [pauses, considering]: Mussolini?