The Soap Opera Dallas
Rhonda and I sat across
from Mrs. Graves, principal at this new junior high school. She was past
the bloom of youth but had such a calm and capable bearing to make us
completely comfortable. There was an easy commanding way in her
personality and it was obvious her days must have been filled with
helping people. Rhonda’s wheelchair didn’t seem to bother her in the
least. We discussed one and another topic regarding Rhonda’s ability to
function in a school like hers.
I fully expected to have
to go home and come back, but not so. Mrs. Graves called an aide into
the room and we visited for a while about Rhonda’s special needs. She
was willing to do what was necessary to get started. Finally Mrs. Graves
called one of the students into her office.
The girl, who was
Rhonda’s age, looked to be healthy in every way. She was quite shabby in
her appearance though. There were no shoes upon her feet, the t-shirt
she was wearing had "Annie Green Springs Wine," lettered across it. The
girl-child had a pleasant personality even though she was a bit quiet
and reserved. The quick smile she gave to Rhonda seemed to light up her
"Marcy will be taking
Rhonda to her classes and can stay with her to see she has any help
needed." Mrs. Graves was matter of fact, as if she had already done this
many times and I knew that couldn’t have been so. My thinking was a
little guarded on the appearance of the girl appointed to be Rhonda’s
caretaker but the lady in charge was so competent there was no room for
discussion on the matter.
"We have on duty a nurse
too, and she will be helping Rhonda."
The principal reassured
me and must have sensed my uncertainty.
"When would you like for
me to bring Rhonda to school." I asked.
"Well, if you don’t mind,
we would like for her to start immediately." Mrs. Graves was ready to
accept the challenge. "In a few days, if you wish, it would be good to
make a visit to meet her teachers and go from class to class with her
just so you can get an idea of what her schedule will be. A nurse is on
duty too, and she will be helping Rhonda."
With these assurances I
was satisfied all was well as far as my daughter’s care was concerned.
I did just that but,
right away, could see there was no need for me to be there. Annie Green
Springs had everything under control and the two girls quickly became
Later on the labeled
shirt was gone and it was replaced with a cute, fashionable blouse. She
wasn’t wearing shoes yet but she did have a pair of flip-flop thongs on
her feet. Instead of her loose oily looking hair hanging about her face
it was now shining clean and caught up into a pony tail held there by a
faddish tie. Something about her taking care of Rhonda had changed her
personality from one of a retiring, shy person to an outgoing, smiling,
friendly teen-age girl.
Today the two girls went
giggling down the hall as I slipped out the door. Rhonda was in her
chair and the girl was bending over to whisper into her ear something
only the two of them could share.
Driving back and forth
morning and evening to deliver and pick the two up was something I
enjoyed. I drove over a road beside the legendary house where the
evening sitcom, Dallas, was filmed. I saw the property when it had
falling down fences and was unpainted to the time it was back to the
shining place it must have once been. Natalie Duncan and her husband,
who was a contractor, were working on it. She had a son. He went to
school with Mark and I became acquainted with her during the times we
waited for our sons and visited.
The curving road I
traveled morning and evening to deliver and pick up the kids wound
through the new mansions where Arabian stallions stood on the lawns
obediently dressed in their coats.
I enjoyed watching a
hired hand paint the miles of white fences only with a brush but,
finally to be seen with a spray gun to whip out the job with ease.
The Donahoes, my
landlords, were growers and in production as a large farm. I believe,
the show Dallas, the story, was really about them. Certainly, the names
of the actors and the real family agreed. There was Bud, Bill, the
Mother, Mrs. Donahoe herself, who favored Bell in the show. Patsy, Bud’s
wife, was as perky as J.R.’s wife in the movie. I became acquainted with
them and enjoyed their hospitality much like family.
It was a wonderful world
full of new experiences and all because we were doing our best to find
schooling for our children.