Let's use this page to mention how we are demonstrating Wellesley's motto, Non ministrari, sed ministrare. To add an item, please send copy to our web guru Sigi Olson Lindo (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Dotty Hindels Brown's Blog about Retirement
Dotty spearheaded the class survey as part of our 45th Reunion Record Book. She has a very interesting blog on dealing with retirement. Here is the link: www.unretiring.blogspot.com. Be sure to read her recent blog posting on Becky McCandlish Burckmyer's talk at our reunion conversation. (Posted May 15, 2012)
Two offerings from MJ Levine (posted 3/21/08). The first is the script of her talk at the panel discussion on "The Third Third" of our lives at our 40th reunion last June. The second is a description of her work with Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association.
TO THE CLASS OF 1967: THE THIRD THIRD: How odd to think of life in the Third Third. My Mom is now 92 and going strong. Does that mean she is in the Fourth Third of her life? That statement is what encourages me to say that life is a journey, which can have no planned destination. At least that is how it looks to me as I reflect over my first Two Thirds. I graduated from Wellesley and went to work for a company that was developing computers. I thought I knew where I was going and planned a career path. Two years later I was on a flight and met a man with whom I fell in love. Six months later we were married and I had moved from Dallas, where my company was located, to Chattanooga and shortly thereafter found myself pregnant with Jim, my first son. I didn't even have time to go job hunting. Even if I had, there was nothing in Chattanooga like what I was doing and in 1970, no one was hiring a pregnant woman. Four years later, I was the mother of Matthew, my second son, and a daughter Margaret. I spent the next 20 years raising kids (never gave another thought to computers!). I suffered my first depression when I sent my oldest off to college. All three graduated from college and were on their own career paths and I thought I had it made! Then six months after graduating Margaret called us from Memphis, where she was in a bank training program, to say she had a violent headache. She was in too much pain to even call a doctor or 911. To make a long story very short, she had a brain tumor and was operated on three days later. All should have gone well, but she had trouble in the ICU after the surgery and ended up with an anoxic brain injury. And I had my second episode of depression. After 5 months in the hospital in Memphis (2 in a coma), 10 months in a Rehab hospital in Chattanooga and 5 months in a higher level facility in Durham, North Carolina, she came home totally physically disabled. We were fortunate to have full time caregivers, but I was in charge if they didn't show up. A year and a half later she died. Five years later I had another depression. I didn't know how much the stress had taken out of me or how much I missed her. Somehow I thought that I had gotten past it all. But your body is affected by your emotions, and my body let me know that that I needed something else. I have been in therapy, partially to deal with my loss, but even more so to become more aware of who I am and my own worth. Somehow despite a lengthy resume of volunteer activities, I seem to think that I have done nothing with my life. Did Wellesley so prepare us for success that we missed out on happiness with things we enjoy? For several years I could not read books, and I had always been an avid reader. I am at a stage of not wanting to do anything and yet missing all of the things that I have really loved like my weaving, knitting, and golf. I don't seem to put value in these things when I see so many of you with great jobs. I don't know why I compare myself to others so frequently. Each of us is an individual. My loss of Margaret has affected me in ways I don't understand. Recently I have begun reading the diaries she dictated to her psychologist during her year and a half. They were given to me by the Rehab facility. I realize how much I miss her and how much of me was in her. I am beginning to come to grips with some of these issues. I have felt guilty at times at the relief I felt when she died and I wasn't on call 24 hours a day. I need to realize that there was nothing wrong with feeling this way. What do I see coming up? Hopefully, I will come to see all of the good things about myself. I have worked on my marriage relationship, which has often been strained. We have even mourned differently and not talked about it. But, 38 years later, we are still married, and I am still trying to come to terms with what I haven't done. I don't know how many of you read Doz Delori's piece in our class notes a couple of years ago. I felt very connected to what she was saying about feeling ordinary. What I consider ordinary may be extra ordinary to someone else. My goal for this Third Third is to accept the choices I have made and not let my inability to do it all interfere with my life. I hope that I can spend the next years not worrying about what I haven't done and enjoying what I do. I do know that we cannot predict a straight path. I have picked up joys and sorrows along the way and have dropped others off. Hopefully, with good friends and better feelings about myself, I will weather the storms and enjoy the tranquility to come.
MJ Levine's Work with the Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association
For the last several years, I have been involved with the Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association. As many of you know, my daughter, Margaret, had a brain injury. I was totally unprepared and had never talked with anyone who had had one, although I have since learned that even a concussion is a brain injury. Hers was from a post-surgical problem, but many are from bike and auto accidents. One of our prevention tools is reminding people to wear bike helmets. CABIA provides support and answers for survivors and their families. The Support Group was so important to Margaret. She could be with others with similar and different injuries. Everyone was there to help each other. Caregivers can learn things that will help. Because many people have no idea how devastating a brain injury is, there is not much money available for this organization so, in addition to letting the survivors know we are here, fund raising is a part of our task. We have had to provide a heater for a survivor with no money and have aided in helping install a ramp so a survivor could get into his house. We were lucky that we were able to afford help and had the stamina to fight with the insurance company for continued rehab, but many people don't have an idea how to do these things. I recommend the book In an Instant by Lee and Bob Woodruff to give you an idea of how devastating a brain injury is. He was the ABC anchor who was injured in Iraq. They are now doing a lot of PR for brain injury and have established a foundation. It is quite a good read as well.
Rhoda Trooboff writes about her work as a Child Protection Mediator for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (posted 3/18/08).
In DC, mediation is a court-mandated step in the legal process for all cases of child neglect and abuse that aren't handed over to the criminal system. Mediation's goals are: (1) to help participants develop case plans to identify what's best for the child and what will help heal families in crisis, (2) to provide a calm, non-judgmental, informal environment in which participants can clarify and negotiate the legal aspects of these very fraught cases, and (3) to save courtroom time that would otherwise be spent on the other two goals. So every week or two I co-chair a mediation session -- a confidential roundtable discussion with parents, their lawyers, social workers, the child's guardian ad litem, and the assistant attorney general responsible for the legal aspects of the case. It's a chance to do some peace-making in a fractured world.