... Amy has a way of pulling herself out of a hole.
Catherine is Amy’s mother who remembers where she had put on her little pink raincoat and her Nor’easter rain hat clutching a lunch box. She marched out the door and announced she was “running away”.
“Where are you going”, Catherine asked.
“To the Cheerios tree”, she said.
“Okay,” Catherine said, “call us when you get a job.”
She stopped and said, “I can’t get a job.”
She was small and skinny as a child, always trailing after her mother. She walked kind of hunched over with her bum sticking in the air and carrying herself, rapidly, much like her mother. Amy had a bright smile that lit up her eyes as she told one joke after another. You never knew what she was going to say much like myself. We like to tell jokes or say something funny probably to ward off the devil.
The earliest and clearest memory I have of Amy happened one morning as she was leaving for school on her very first day. I remember being in the door as she left for school. As she reached the bottom of the steps, she stopped and ran back up the stairs, out of breath and deeply sobbing. I took her into my arms and asked her why she was crying.
She said, “I can’t go to school, I don’t know how to read!”
I wiped the tears away and after she became calmer, I explained that the teachers would help her learn to read. Reassured, Amy went off to school.
On a school day, Catherine looked out of the window to see Amy stomping across the lawn, chin stuck out and eyebrows drawn together. It seems that the boy behind her had teased her once too often. She had jumped up, overturned her desk and left school. Catherine remembers talking with Mr. Reynolds about Amy leaving school but he seemed more amused than upset.
Catherine insisted that everyone was to sit at the table for dinner. I had bought a camp table and three benches. The table was six feet in diameter, big enough to allow all nine of us to sit at it. By now, baby Martha was in her high chair. I had the habit of buying candy once a week for dessert. I would ask the kids if they could guess at what I had bought. We also tried to get the kids to talk about their day. Amy loved to talk. She told us about a teacher she had who had a southern accent and Amy was great at mimicry. The teacher would say, “Now don’t let this happen to yooou” with a great drawl. The kids burst out laughing at the way Amy told her story.
After High School, Amy floundered around a lot. I remember she worked in Dr. Dinerman’s office and suffered for a while with tremendous anxiety. I was working out in Weston at the time and she would often have to come to my office for help. These were very trying times for her and worrisome for her parents. We were at a loss to know how to help. She said she was going try to get into the Somerville Hospital School of Nursing. As it turned out, this was the cure-all.
Her whole attitude seemed to change. She became much more assertive and even her body seemed to change. Where she was small as a child she grew taller and filled out a lot. Amy phoned the other day to tell me to be sure to watch 'The River Kwai' showing at 1PM. I did not watch it as I had to go out but I am sure we both liked that film because it shows how Alex Guinness turns disaster into victory. Amy has had the guts to turn her own story around. She has had several nursing positions and is greatly respected for her knowledge and nursing skills at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire.
She married Mark and had two boys, Joey, 15, and Danno 13. Her marriage fell apart for a while but Amy and Mark are back together again and we are very glad of that. The boys need their father.
I had a stroke in 2003. Amy talked with my doctors about my being unconscious for five days, not seeming to respond. Here I was in the Mecca of medicine, MGH. My daughter, Amy, asked why they did not try C-Pap, a procedure to help me breathe and it worked. Sometimes you need perspective to see what is right in front of you. Thanks to Amy, I can write this note today.
Janury 2, 2009