Blog

An Indomitable Woman

If you want to read about a relentless woman who was ahead of her time, read Eunice, The Kennedy Who Changed the World by Pulitzer-prize winner Eileen McNamara.

I remember my mother telling me that she credited Mrs. Shriver for single-handedly changing the world for people like my brother. This is mentioned in my book, Jimmy and Me, A Sister’s Memoir

Like many people, I knew that Eunice created Special Olympics but I did not know she was a tireless advocate for incarcerated women, pregnant teens, juvenile delinquents, and other citizens who were marginalized decades ago.

Most notably, you’ll read about her inexhaustible drive to bring individuals with intellectual disabilities out from the shadows of society. She lobbied her brother, President John F. Kennedy, for legislation to support these special citizens. Less than a month before his assassination in 1963, he signed the Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation Planning Amendment to the Social Security Act, which would grant $265 million in federal aid.

In the four decades after the death of JFK, Eunice would successfully lobby countless members of Congress and business executives to finance educational, vocational, and recreational programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities. She simply would not take no for an answer.

The biography details Eunice’s early life at a convent school, college years at Stanford, her work at the State Department, and copious travels abroad. It describes the relationships with her parents, siblings, husband, and children, and her devotion to the Catholic faith (she considered becoming a nun).

Eunice was a force of nature. I admire her even more after reading this book.

My TV Interview

Recently, I was interviewed by a local TV station about my books, Musing Off the Mat and Jimmy and Me, A Sister’s Memoir. Take a look!

You can purchase the books on Amazon or BN.com.

I really enjoy book club meetings, so contact me to arrange a date.

Happy Summer! Happy Reading!

 

A Poetic Moment

In recognition of National Poetry Month, I perused my mother’s 7th grade poetry book that she never returned to the nuns in 1943. She clearly loved the tattered brown volume filled with her notes and dog-eared pages.

This poem reminds us how a simple moment can remain in our memory for a lifetime. It’s the premise of my essay collection titled Musing Off the Mat – memories and everyday moments.

Memory

My mind lets go a thousand things,
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
And yet recalls the very hour —
‘Twas noon by yonder village tower,
And on the last blue noon in May —
The wind came briskly up this way,
Crisping the brook beside the road;
Then, pausing here, set down its load
Of pine-scents, and shook listlessly
Two petals from that wild-rose tree.

                                              – Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Take time to read poetry. It will comfort you.

Shop Small. Shop Local.

I’ve always been a big fan of small stores. They’re cozy. You can see and reach everything easily. You get personalized service. And you’re happy to support owners who work their tails off.

As a new author, I’ve found small businesses welcoming. Here are a few that sell Jimmy and Me, A Sister’s Memoir and Musing Off the Mat – memories & everyday moments.

Helen Thomas Simply Smashing gift shop on Main Street in Andover, MA. Owner Lisa supports local artisans, especially women entrepreneurs. Books, jewelry, artwork, and home decor are tasteful and personalized.

West Village Provisions is the Cheers bar in the bucolic town of Boxford, MA. Owners Kim and Mike have created a strong sense of community in their store. Go for a snack or lunch, pick up groceries, eclectic gifts, and books.

I AM Books is an Italian American shop in the heart of historic Boston. Owner Nicola offers unique books, gifts, and neighborhood activity including Italian language lessons.

Jabberwocky bookshop, in the quaint coastal town of Newburyport, MA, has been selling books for 44 years. Owner Sue has an extensive collection, a knowledgeable staff, and hosts frequent author talks.

BookEnds in lovely Winchester, MA offers a wide array of well-displayed books as well as gifts, cards, and music.

Things A Drift on beautiful Long Beach Island, NJ is an active member its community. Owner Cheryl offers all things nautical, home decor, jewelry, books, and more, all in a fun little shop that will lift your spirits.

Support your local merchants!

End the R-word

Spread the word to end the word. Today is the national day to show respect to individuals with special needs.

When I was a child, I heard the derogatory and insulting word “retarded” too often. It was directed to my brother (and to me as “the retard’s sister”) on the playground, in school corridors, and in other public places.

Decades later, I heard it with derisive laughter from “professional” adults in business settings. To this day, it still pains me to hear such hurtful language.

I pledge #Respect through my words & actions. Will you? Pledge now to create communities of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. r-word.org

Remember: the only “R” word for citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities is RESPECT.