Monday, May 26, 2008

A Day Of Memories

I have lost many close family members over the years. My mother, my father, my grandfather, my father's mother. Though I felt all those losses deeply and still miss them, and think of them often, none of those losses affected me as deeply as the loss of my grandmother last summer. I suppose I was so close to her because she helped to raise me, and she was my biggest fan.

So on this Memorial Day, I remember her with gratitude for the influence she had in my life. I remember her for her unconditional love, kindness, mercy toward me and everyone she had ever known, and I celebrate her life. She helped me to be a better person and a better daughter of God.
I' am grateful for the family I was placed in. I'm thankful for the privilege of being raised in poverty, surrounded by hardships, because it filled me with the desire to have more. Despite the detours in my past, some of them due to the circumstances of my childhood, I'm grateful for the influence each of these people had in my life. It is truly a good life.

Thought For The Week

"If you want your life to have impact, focus it! Stop dabbling. Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only that which matters most."

Review Corner

Book: Keeping Keller
Author: Tracy Winegar
Published 2008 by Bonneville Books

Back Cover
The year is 1955, and few people understand or tolerate mental handicaps. For Beverly and Warren Vance, the daily struggle to live with their handicapped son, Keller, is taking its toll. Keller is large for his age and often aggressive, prone to throwing tantrums and breaking everything in sight. Beverly and Warren have been encouraged to institutionalize him, or at least keep him out of public view. But they decided long ago that trying to teach and raise him was a better option-at least until now.
When a shocking development and a disastrous incident complicate their decision, the lines between right and wrong become increasingly blurred. Yet in the end, through their own choices they come to understand that the most important thing in life is family.

Being the mother of a nine year old son with aspergers (high functioning autism) I was really interested in reading this book.
During this day and age, Keller would have been diagnosed as autistic, not mentally handicapped, which the author points out in the back of her book. Keeping Keller is a very thought provoking story. It shows how children who are different were looked upon during that time period. The story pulls you in emotionally and makes you ponder both the sorrows and the joys of having an autistic child. Tracy Winegar has a great writing style and I could tell that writing the story must have been a labor of love for her.
My only beef is the interaction of the husband and wife in some parts. Sometimes Warren seemed a little patronizing when it came to Beverly when she talked about her daily struggles with Keller. He seemed patronizing when it came to a lot of things. A trial like that should have brought them closer. Maybe it's just that it was set in 1955 and people handled things differently. I don't think I would have fared well in the 50s. Correction, I know I wouldn't have. Plus, the whole taking your husband's shoes off when he come through the door and catering to him idea has just never sat well with me:o)

In any case, Keeping Keller is a very good read and I look forward to reading more of Tracy's work.
To purchase a copy of Keeping Keller, log on to CedarFort


Tamra Norton said...


I'm so sorry about your grandmother's passing. But I'm thankful for days like today when we pause to honor those now gone who have made such an impact on our lives--even those we never knew, such as our military men and women lost in the line of duty.

And great review--I really want to read this book.

Jewel's Gems said...

Thanks, Tami, I really appreciate that.