I graduated from the U of Miami in 1960 with a major in Sociology and minors in psychology and secondary education. I went to SMU for post grad and took up English and social studies for teaching subjects.
I taught at St Bernard’s Catholic in Dallas (I am Jewish and was the only non-Catholic lay teacher) for a year. It was the very best year of teaching with full rein to use one’s imagination to interest the children in learning. To this day I am close friends with two of my ex-students, now 50, and one of the parents. I moved to New Jersey and taught in New Jersey slum school (“Up the Down Stair Case”, “Blackboard Jungle”, and “To Sir With Love” all rolled into one school). Then I taught in the super wealthy suburb Bedford, New York. Some of my students were considered present while on location in Switzerland (as long as they kept up their assignments) while their father was filming a movie. The township had a law that the smallest lot of land for your home was 4 acres. This is in a place while land in New York is very scarce. One family that befriended me, had an eight acre lot with a barn for their daughter’s horse. They had a summer home on Lake George. The last school district was in another New York suburb, the most stressful, of middle class America. The slums didn’t care what a teacher did; the super wealthy didn’t feel any one teacher would ruin their children; But middle class America is so neurotic that they are down at the Superintendent’s or principal’s office if you sneezed wrong. It is really sad for parents to be so social conciseness in climbing the social ladder that they are uptight about their children’s formal education while not giving their children quality time at home. One could easily observe that with one’s students and often the students poured out their unhappiness to me. It was the fall of 1971, after 8 & ½ years, that this last group of middle class students helped bring on the stress related incurable disease of either bleeding ulcerated colitis or Cohn’s Disease. The many doctors I had, never could agree on which one I had. September of 1971, I went into a coma of 11 days and had amnesia. My doctors had told my parents I would probably be a vegetable and have to have someone take care of me. Ah, so I’m a carrot. My horse loves me. The doctors told me I would never be as smart as I once was. I had to learn to read, write, walk, talk all over again, and I did it! Gradually most of my memory came back. Doctors! What do they know of the human spirit and will! If I hadn’t been a fighter, I would have given up and been a helpless person. No doctor should ever give such grim predictions. I am not a vegetable and I am still plenty smart. My advice to others is not to believe in any negative predictions, as no one can see into the will and faith and determination of another human being. Miracles Do Happen.
When I told my story to a Chief of Gastrology at a major hospital, he told me this. “Your doctors were giving you the best advice they knew. From what you told me, statistically, you had less than 1% survival.”
I was given a book “Hidden Powers for Human Problems” by Fredrick Bailes by a friend when I was in the hospital. I read it and it helped me to be more positive about my situation. Also, I had read the story of Patricia Neal, the movie actress, some years before, about her having a major stroke. The doctors told Patricia that she would never walk again. Her story went on to say that not only did she walk, but she regain all of her abilities and continued her acting career. She was my mentor. If she could do it, so could I!
It took me three years to get back most of my memory and to feel comfortable to read aloud, speak in public, etc. Since 1971 up until 1984, I had 17 pints of blood. I fought to keep my large intestines for 13 yrs. I lost the battle in 1984 when it was removed to save my life. I have had seven surgeries and spent three yrs total of my life, in and out of hospitals. One has to make the best of what life throws at you. They say that adversity builds one’s character. Well, I think I have enough character.
The book I read and the total recovery of Patricia Neal, started me on a metaphysical path. I have read a number of books on positive thinking and beyond the physical powers. While I was in that coma, I went through a dark tunnel on a white wavy string or line and was stuck in the middle of the tunnel. I saw both ends of the tunnel, one life and the other death. Both were full of bright light. I remember, telling God, “I don’t care which way I go, just please don’t let be me stuck in the middle of this tunnel.” I am still here. I did not die; therefore, I didn’t go through the death entrance, but I had no fear of death when I was in the tunnel and there after.
Before that experience, I had believed that dust we came from and dust we would return, not really believing in a strong Here After. Now, without a doubt, I believe that there is life after death, that we are reincarnated, that we will know who we are in the spirit world and know others that have gone before us. Not only have I read many books on this subject, but I have also spoken to a number of people who did died and were resuscitated. I have heard their experiences. They experienced similar tunnel and white light and being on a white curly line in the tunnel, but they went through the Death opening and their stories are much like the books I have read. None of them wanted to come back, but they were told they had to go back.
One should keep an open mind on topics that are controversial. We grow so much emotionally and spiritually (not meaning religious), when we listen, or read about things that were initially foreign or strange to us. Anything and everything is possible.
I have a home, never married, with four dogs all around 55 to 60 lbs., off the street dogs, and a feral cat, all senior citizens from 11 yrs to 15 yrs old, living with me. I have a horse at a stable 30 minutes away from my home. My horse and I have been together for 20 yrs. He is 24. He really thinks he is a Big Ole Puppy Dog and I haven’t told him any different. We’re senior citizens still competing in horse shows and winning blue ribbons. We also go on trail rides and I have high-schooled Sunny. (That means I have taught him tricks outside of walk, trot, cantor, and jumping. He bows, shakes hands, hugs, gives sloppy wet kisses, stretches, and goes to the bathroom on command, when I asked him. I have also taught him if I get off balanced, grab his main, and say, “Wow”, he will come to a stop. It’s handy when one is my age and bones break easier than when one is young. My vet and horseshoer both said he is one in a million and if all the horse were like Sunny, everyone would want their jobs. I am so proud and lucky to have Sunny. He is a registered Quarter Horse that stands 15 hands and 3 inches tall. Most quarter horses range from 14 hands to 15 hands one inch. I am 5 ft, so I have to use a mounting block to mount Sunny. I started learning to ride English at 35 and learning to jump at 45. Why not? Grandma Moses started painting at 82.
Besides my interest in animals, I have written a children’s book that won first place at a writer’s conference at U. of Texas at Dallas in 1987. I still haven’t gotten it published. I sure could use some net-working to find the right publisher or a good agent. Maybe there are some classmates that have a connection in the publishing business or know someone who does. I would be most grateful.
I love playing party bridge, but finding bridge players these days is hard. I have lost a number of them through death and moving away from Dallas.
I have done a lot of traveling in the past and enjoy different cultures. I have been through the southern route of Europe, England, France, Spain, Majorca, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Israel, and traveled to Africa (Kenya and Tanzania), Mainland China (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan, The Dutch Antilles off of South America, Bahamas, Antigua, Mystique, Martinique, Puerto Rico, and have seen most of America, including Hawaii and Alaska.
I have done volunteer work for Rames the Great and Seven Thousand Years of Chinese Discovery exhibits, volunteered as a teacher’s helper In the Dallas School System, worked on two campaigns for two different majors of Dallas, volunteered in the past for the Jewish Mitzvah, where I would take the place of a Christian hospital employee on Christmas Day, so they could be home with their family on their Holiest Holiday.
In the 60’s I was a Civil Rights Activist and today I am an animal activists. I am almost a vegetarian. I eat once in a great while some fish. I stopped eating all other animals in 1987 for health reasons and after two years, it became a moral reason as well. If I could live without killing an animal, then I didn’t need to kill (or have someone else kill) for my food.
Since, my illness, made it impossible to teach or work at a job, I now own and manage the Bluebonnet Strip Shopping Center in Ft Worth which has eight stores ranging from Caro’s Restaurant to Brothers II Cleaners.
My life has been quite different from what I thought it would be when I was in High School. “I took the road less traveled.”
Bill you don’t even know me and Madalyn only knew me as an acquaintance, now you know my whole life’s history plus my philosophical beliefs. I hope I didn’t bore you. I saw that not too many of our classmates let us in on their lives after high school. Maybe this will encourage an opening up.
I really wanted to come to the mini-reunion, but both finances at present, and having a surgery on a deviated septum and badly infected sinuses June 10th prevented my coming. Hopefully there will be another mini reunion. Beverly Jones Spencer emailed me that it was much more casual and enjoyable than the reunions. I have gone to two with Beverly and her husband, Don.
I hope all is well with everyone and that you let me know what has happened to all of you all these years.
Take care and God Bless. Love, Jeanette