November 17, 2022- I am honest; I would have preferred to stay at Home Base and rest. The issue is, though, that other people on the crew are very sick. Those who have a gift of mindfulness. and a level of health that is above walking wounded status, needed to be on deck today. There will be a reserve group covering for me and another regular paraprofessional, tomorrow, when I have a regular meeting in the morning and teammate has a family event.

The children, whether sick or not, are here. This is not just true of high maintenance or difficult to manage children. Parents have their own schedules and the kids themselves don’t want to stay home. That speaks well of the school as a whole, and of the program in which I am presently working, even in the throes of rebuilding.

Kids have always been devious at times, unruly at other times and appreciative, tender-hearted at still other times. Perhaps this is all part of learning which path is the right one. In any case, it is always best to take the worst behaviours impersonally, though certainly an aspect of that learning is being called to account for transgressions!

One child, given a basketball, shot a few baskets and then decided to let the ball roll down, across the parking lot and into the small clump of trees. Once the ball rolled to a stop at the fence that separates the property from a mobile home park, he decided he had seen what we wanted to see and came back to where I was waiting, with one of his classmates. This time, he figured it was a good idea to go back inside. Indeed it was!

We have come far, from the bad old teacher days of corporal punishment; from the bad old administrator days of using two Behaviour Modification Programs that conflict with one another and the bad old student & parent days of claiming that “just about anything goes” is enshrined in the First Amendment. There are still vestiges of each of these miserable philosophies, but they have lost cachet here. A student who throws a meal tray will face parent or grandparent, at days end-and there are, thankfully, no defensive parents in this group. They expect the children to follow instruction.

Misbehaviour is impersonal, usually, vis-a-vis the victims. These kids are impulsive and in-the-moment. So, we go on, looking for clues as to the hook behind misbehaviour.

His Ever-Shining Light


March 17, 2021- The little boy would always raise his glass, at the dinner table, and call out “Achtung”! He had seen John Banner’s character, Sergeant Schultz, give that command on “Hogan’s Heroes”, and it seemed appropriate for making a toast.

He was fourteen years my junior, but never saw me as any better than he. I was, in fact, one of his favourite wrestling partners, and when I “let” him pin me, he’d say, “Oh yeah?” and pin me even more tightly.

There were things he, in fact, grasped, that the rest of us had to think about a good while longer: Mom and Dad were the most important people on Earth; Medication, which in his case was constantly being switched and adjusted, was the bane of human existence-especially when it failed to prevent, and sometimes aggravated, the seizures that truly were the bane of his existence; There was nothing more important than a bear hug; There was never any excuse for anyone belittling another.

Brian had a limited spoken vocabulary-the seizures took care of that, early on. He was not, however, a stupid person, by any stretch-and managed to call me out, on a number of occasions, for having done something that made absolutely no sense to him. He had his favourite foods- pizza, fried clams and ice cream. When someone would spell out the word p-i-z-z-a, thinking he’d be fooled, my youngest brother’s answer was “OKAY!”. He lost his ability to walk, around the age of seven, which made being pushed in his wheelchair, around the neighbourhood, that much more important-and NOTHING beat going for a ride in the car. He loved seeing new places, but was okay with the beach, the forest preserve, our uncle’s and aunt’s cabin on Cape Cod. He was passionately in love with every girl he ever met. Going to school was the single most important part of his day.

When he passed on, twenty-seven years ago, today, Brian John Boivin had won the hearts of hundreds of people: Workers in the Special Needs schools of Massachusetts; attendants in the hospitals where he spent the last decade of his life; our second cousins, who were his sitters, when Mom and Dad went out for the evening, after we had all grown and left the nest; the cross street neighbours, who were his godparents; and most importantly, all of us who learned from him just what is most important in life.

Brian defined the adults each of his siblings became. For that, we can only repay him, by holding fast to the values which our parents imparted, and he underscored.

Signal Moments


January 4, 2018, Prescott-

I have returned to Home Base. Everything was as I left it, two weeks ago.  My ex-neighbour’s junk is still in the carport.  Since he’s dissed the landlord, I will start to haul it off myself, as after 30 days, property is regarded as abandoned.

Now, on to the prime purpose of this post.  Another blogger referred to life-changing moments.   Here are those that have cast my life, in the direction it’s taken and to the place where I am now.

June, 1954- The Lynnhurst woods, around my first real house, were a place of wonder.  I walked off by myself, towards Grama’s house.  Little did I suspect that dad would take the hairbrush to my backside, as soon as I got home.  That first walk alone, though, set me on the course of exploration that has been in my blood ever since.

July, 1959- I can’t say which rock fight led to my life-long inability to keep from flinching, when a baseball, or other such item, is making its way towards me.  Overcoming coordination issues has been a problem since that long-ago summer.

November 22, 1963- I began to get over an innate conservatism, the day that the powers that be decided to get rid of John F. Kennedy.  I will never buy the Single Bullet Theory.

April, 1969- I decided that six years of commitment to the US Army was too long, and opted to enlist for a three-year stint, instead of remaining in the Reserves.

November 23, 1969- One of my high school friends was killed in VietNam.  I was in Fort Myer, VA, at the time.  It took me a year of quiet anger, but that event was the impetus for my own going over to the war zone, in March, 1971.

November 28, 1975- I was let go from a part-time job, on my 25th birthday, because one of the other workers had a son who needed a job, and I was “too ambitious”.  The anger expressed by my co-workers, at this adverse action, was gratifying.   Yet, a young woman, for whom I had feelings, put it in perspective:  “Who has it worse, you, losing a crap job or me, just getting done with a divorce?”  That has led me to tread carefully, when facing what seems like a personal disaster.

December 6, 1980- I met Penny.  Enough said.

June 6, 1982- We were married, and though a fairy-tale wedding was not followed by an idyllic marriage, there were 29 years of love and mutual personal growth.  The proof is serving his country, in South Korea.

August 20, 1986- We arrived in South Korea, and began a 5.5 year love affair with a culture far different from all either of us had experienced, up to then.  I am still greatly drawn to the sensibilities of “the East”.

April 20, 2003- Penny’s second accident in two weeks set us to a commitment fiercer than any I have had, before or since.  I was her caretaker for nearly eight years afterward.

November, 2009- Several financial disasters under our belt, we decided to endure Chapter 11.  I have survived that, and by the grace of Dave Ramsey and Robert Kiyosaki, my attitude towards money has forever changed,

March 5, 2011- I was once again on my own, and the challenge was now to not go adrift.  The next five months did find the ropes fraying at the moorings, though.

August 4, 2011- Someone I love dearly threw down a heavy gauntlet.  I was accused of things which would not stick to any wall.  I see where his suspicions originated, but that was not me, and never will be.  His comments, though, served to make me determined to rely on no one.  I would long be maintaining that distance.

September, 2013- On the heels of an unsettled summer’s journey, I answered a call to help a single mother move.  That two-day effort of service led me to do Terra Essential Oils, a commitment to more active community service, and to one of the finest friendships I’ve ever known.

There are sure to be other life-changing events ahead.  I know that my spiritual bonds will see me through them all.  We never stop growing.