Dorothy told me a short story during my last visit with her. I'm going to share it with you. First, though, I'd like to thank you again for all of the wonderful mail she's received. You folks are the best! Although she really isn't up to sending personal replies to each of you, she is definitely getting a great boost from your thoughtfulness. Every time I read aloud from one of the cards or letters, or ask her about one of the stuffed cats, a big smile makes itself at home on her face. I'll repeat the address again, in case anyone else wishes to join in:
Dorothy Luff, Room 103
c/o Milford Care & Rehabilitation
10 Veterans Memorial Drive
Milford, MA 01757-2900
(For more background on Dorothy, please go HERE.)
OK, here's the story.
When Dorothy was born, her older sister, Patty, found herself unable to pronounce "Dorothy". After unsuccessfully trying to wrap her tongue around the name, she instead took to calling her "Dolly Ann". That name stuck, and it became what her immediate family called her. Nobody ever called her "Dorothy". Since her older sister called her "Dolly Ann", that's what Dorothy was known as when she went to school for the first time, too.
After a few years, her family moved from their original home to The White City Apartments, on Hyde Park Avenue in Boston.
(At one time, three apartments in that building were occupied by my family members. I'm not sure, but I think there were 10 apartments altogether and 13 of my family roaming around. You couldn't swing a dead cat by the tail and not hit a Sullivan family member, if that's your idea of fun.)
As a result of the move, Dorothy enrolled in a new school. On her first day in class, the teacher was calling the roll.
"Dorothy? Are you here? Please answer "Present!""
The teacher once more called out, "Dorothy?"
Dorothy turned in her seat in the first row and, like everyone else in class, looked around the room for the missing student.
Since nobody answered, the teacher moved on. After calling all of the names on her list, every student in the room had been accounted for... except Dorothy.
Teacher: "You haven't answered, little girl. What's your name?"
Dorothy: "Dolly Ann!"
Seeing no "Dolly Ann" on her sheet, the teacher asked...
"What's your last name, Dolly Ann?"
"Luff? Let's see... Luff... I have a "Dorothy Luff" here. Are you Dorothy?!?"
Realizing she was, Dorothy meekly said "yes".
With great embarrassment, it dawned on Dorothy that, on her first day in a new school, she had given everyone the impression that she was so dumb she didn't even know her own name. It took a while to live that down.
Soon, with more better stuff.