Paid another visit to Dorothy last night at her nursing home/rehab facility. No great change from last time, which is a bit of good and a bit of not so good.
The good? She's still sharp as a tack and enjoys a nice chat with a visitor. Many stories passed back and forth (most of which were about family members and would require so much investment of time, on your part, before getting to the point of them, that they would give you about as much value as a checking account at Bank Of America, which is to say you'd hardly have any interest and your capital would be eaten away gradually until you finally end with less than you started, but I will relate one, after a bit.)
The bad? No upgrade in her, physically, so she's still confined to bed. She may have lost a pound or two, though it's hard to tell. But she wasn't really expecting to be up and running a marathon, so no more disappointment for her than was already in this situation. Her spirits are pretty good.
You have a lot to do with that, of course.
Once again, I was overwhelmed by the wonderful cards, letters, photos, drawings, and other thoughtful things sent to Dorothy by you fine folks. Listing all of you by name would seem to be the least I could do, but I feel it would end less than satisfactorily for some. A few items had no name on them, and I'm fairly certain the envelopes they came in somehow became lost in a general clean-up by a nurse or aide. Rest assured, though, that Dorothy is delighted with everything she's received. Her vision is not great, but the nurses read everything to her and she can see quite well enough to enjoy the many photos and drawings of cats. She can't write very well, between the vision problems and the arthritis, otherwise she'd no doubt send a few "thank you" notes herself. She feels quite the celebrity, from all the mail, and she asked me to be sure I expressed her heartfelt thanks for everything!
(If you'd like to send a card or letter or what-have-you, here's the address:
Dorothy Luff, Room 103
c/o Milford Care & Rehabilitation
10 Veterans Memorial Drive
Milford, MA 01757-2900
If I've somehow lost you - thanks for getting this far without knowing what's going on! - more detail is HERE.)
So, I promised you a story. Here it is.
In Boston, there are a small number of schools that, while funded by the government and nominally open to all students, require passage of an entrance examination for a student to attend. The most prestigious of these is the Latin Academy.
Nowadays, it is one facility, for both male and female students, but during my school years, and Dorothy's, there were separate schools for boys and girls. I mention myself in this because both Dorothy and I passed the examinations for entrance, albeit 30 years apart, and we both went to our respective Latin schools. And I found out, last night, that our success and happiness while ensconced at those institutions was similar.
We both hated the place.
I've detailed my angst about the joint before, and if you want to read a whole bunch of kvetching about school, you could go HERE. This is Dorothy's tale, though, so I'll limit talk, here, about my stupid school years.
As I say, Dorothy truly hated the place. It wasn't because of a lack of smarts on her part, or because of a hatred of school in general. A few years following this story, Dorothy graduated college with a masters degree in education and she spent many years teaching. It was just Latin School itself she abhorred. She felt the other students were snooty and looked down at her (while not poor, Dorothy's family wasn't rich, either, and Latin School, at that time, did tend to attract more kids from well-to-do families, for whatever sociological reasons.) So, for the only time in her academic career, she disliked where she was and her grades suffered as a result.
She sorely wanted out. However, it was a prestigious achievement for an Irish-Catholic girl, of that day and age, to be able to attend such an old and august school, so she feared asking her parents for permission to transfer. Instead, she decided it best to take matters into her own hands and then tell them about it only after it was a fait accompli.
Dorothy steeled her nerves while riding the trolley to school, some 35 or 40 minutes from Roslindale to the part of Boston where Latin was located. She had planned her lies carefully. All that remained was to say them and hope they worked as she wished.
Upon arrival at school, she went to see the principal. When he inquired as to why she was there, Dorothy said that she and her parents had had a good long discussion last night and they had tearfully informed her that they didn't have the money to send her to college, so there seemed little use in her remaining in a college-prep school such as Girl's Latin. All things considered, they thought it best for Dorothy to transfer to her local high school, Roslindale High, to finish her education, gaining the sorts of skills needed for an office job or a future role as a homemaker.
Since Dorothy's grades at Latin weren't stellar, the principal didn't put up a big fight to convince her to stay. He asked her if she had a letter from her parents. Dorothy said she did, then made a big show out of searching through her book bag for it. She played at being distraught, maybe shed a tear or two, and told him she must have lost it on the trolley.
(At this point in the telling, Dorothy confessed admiration of her own theatrical skills and mused that maybe she should have pursued a career in acting.)
The principal bought it. He told her he'd get the ball rolling on her transfer.
A couple of days later, the papers were all signed and delivered. Dorothy was enrolled in Roslindale High. So, unbeknownst to her parents, she started attending classes there instead of at Latin.
It didn't take long for her folks to find out. One day, during recess or lunch, Dorothy was walking down the street with some of her new classmates when her father came driving by. Spotting Dorothy, he pulled over and asked her what the hell she was doing there in Roslindale at this time of day. Dorothy spilled the beans. She explained her hatred of her former school, and assured him she still had every intention of pursuing higher education. Luckily, her dad saw the sense in her actions (especially when Dorothy explained that, since Latin was such a tough school in comparison with Roslindale High, her grades, when transferred, were upped at least full step in most cases, pulling her from near the bottom at Latin to near the top at her new school.)
I'll be visiting with Dorothy again, sometime soon, and I'll keep you up-to-date. Again, thanks so much for brightening her days with your mail. You've made us both happy.
Soon, with more better stuff.