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Donna Flood
Finding Heart
Rhonda, 1972, Dallas, Texas

Rhonda, 1972, Dallas, TexasThis 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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