Rhonda, 1972, Dallas, Texas
was the year Rhonda was in school at Texas. She is ready for the drive
through traffic here. Her wheelchair is safely in the trunk. These were
the years when she had the good fortune to have a very talented young
teacher. The woman seemed like a girl herself because she was so very
young. Her age in years had nothing to do with her skills as a teacher. It
was amazing how she worked through little problems so easily. A teacher
before her had complained about Rhonda not being able to keep the pencil
in her hand. She fussed that she was having to continually pick the pencil
up when it was dropped. The teacher Rhonda now had, simply tied the pencil
to a string and the string to Rhonda's wrist. Other teachers complained
that Rhonda couldn't hold paper down because she only had the use of one
hand. This bright, thinking, little woman simply taped the paper to the
desk with masking tape so it would not slip.
When there was a racial
problem the teacher saw to it that Rhonda had a notebook with a picture of
the then youthful Michael Jackson, who, by the way, Rhonda loved. This
immediately sealed her good relationships with that girl in her class who
before had been ready to pick on her. They were all at once fast friends
in their mutual admiration for the star.
There was a girl who came
from a very poor family and for some reason she was so glad to get to be
Rhonda's friend. She was with her constantly seeing to her physical needs.
When Christmas came around, we saw it as an opportunity to do something
for the little girl, but knowing Texas people can be so proud we first
asked the teacher what would the girl accept.
"She needs a coat!" The
teacher told them without hesitation.
When the little girl opened
her package to see, the new coat there never will be a way we can forget
how grateful she was for the gift.
At the end of the year the
teacher wrote a letter to go into Rhonda's file. It was short and simply
said, "Rhonda has been a joy and I appreciate having had her. Her mother
drove her to class, daily."
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