As a teacher, I've known several students with great potential--who simply needed someone to believe in them. I wrote about one-such student--named Anthony-- in my book.
The first time I read this story, I cried. I've saved it, for years, as a reminder: Teaching must come from the heart.
"As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around."
His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well- liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."
His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class."
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to."
After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.
The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."
(Dr. Stoddard is well know in Des Moine, Iowa: The Stoddard Cancer Wing of Methodist Hospital honors Mrs. Thompson's favorite student.)
PTSD. I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH PTSD--POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER IN 2007--AFTER LEARNING MY STUDENTS AT THE DC JAIL--HAD MURDERED THE SUBSTITUTES IN MY CLASSROOM WHILE I WAS TENDING TO MY DAUGHTER'S EMERGENCY AT THE US SENATE. I TAKE NO MEDICATION FOR PTSD. INSTEAD, I'VE BEEN ABLE TO KEEP MY STRESS LEVEL DOWN BY KEEPING MY LIFE AS "SIMPLE" AS POSSIBLE.
BUT...this past January, 2021--WHEN I WAS BLEEDING UNCONTROLLABLY AND DESPERATE FOR MEDICAL ATTENTION--I HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING MY STRESS LEVEL WOULD BE CHALLENGED ONCE AGAIN... LIKE NEVER-BEFORE.
WHEN THOSE IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM WERE UNABLE TO STOP MY BLEEDING...I WAS ASSIGNED TO A ROOM IN THE HOSPITAL. I WAS BOMBARDED WITH A PARADE OF PEOPLE...IN AND OUT OF MY ROOM...PEOPLE WHO NEVER IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES BUT WERE TALKING ABOUT MY PULSE RATE, MY HEART, MY NEED TO DEMONSTRATE I COULD WALK FROM MY BED TO THE DOOR; PUT ON MY SHOES WITHOUT ASSISTANCE; EVEN USE THE BEDSIDE TOILET---WITH AN AUDIENCE OF COURSE! AGAIN...EVERYTIME I STOOD UP...THE MONSTER ACTIVATED THE UNCONTROLLABLE BLEEDING FOR ALL TO SEE...YET....NO ONE CARED.
I WAS VISITED REPEATEDLY BY UNIDENTIFIED VISITORS WHO KEPT INSISTING I FOCUS ON MY ANXIETY, MY HEART RATE, MY LOW BLOOD PRESSURE...AND...I WAS READY TO SCREAM. I SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN PLACED ON THE HEART WING OF THE HOSPITAL. I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO HISTORY OF HEART PROBLEMS OTHER THAN FIFTY YEARS AGO...WHEN I EXPERIENCED A RACING PULSE AFTER BEING GIVEN THE WRONG MEDICATION BEFORE KIDNEY SURGERY!
MY FIRST NIGHT IN THE HOSPITAL...WHEN I WAS HOOKED UP TO AN IV...I ASSUMED IT WAS IN PREPARATION FOR EMERGENCY SURGERY ALTHOUGH I HAD YET TO MEET ANYONE REMOTELY CONNECTED TO SURGERY OR GYNECOLOGY. I WAS SO TIRED, SO AFRAID, AND SO OVERWHELMED...I WANTED EVERYONE TO JUST LEAVE ME ALONE AND LET EVERYTHING BE SIMPLE AND QUIET. BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP...AN UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN CAME IN MY ROOM WITH A NEEDLE AND WITHOUT A WORD BEGAN INJECTING IT INTO MY IV. WHEN I QUESTIONED WHO SHE WAS AND WHAT SHE WAS INJECTING....HER ANSWER WAS: "I'M THE ONE WHO INTENDS TO LOWER YOUR PULSE. GO TO SLEEP AND STOP WORRYING."
THE NEXT THING I REMEMBER WAS PEOPLE AROUND ME, ASKING ME QUESTIONS, OVER AND OVER, BUT I COULD BARELY SEE AND...I COULDN'T TALK; MY MOUTH WOULDN'T WORK. I COULDN'T SAY ANYTHING AND MY BODY FELT FROZEN, LIKE I WAS PARALYZED. I RECALL HEARING SOMEONE SAY " IF SHE WAKES UP JUST TELL HER SHE HAD A REALLY-BAD NIGHTMARE."
I DID WAKE UP--- LATER...WHEN A YOUNG GIRL CAME IN MY ROOM, SAYING SHE WAS MY NURSE FOR THE DAY AND...EXCITEDLY...BEGAN TALKING ABOUT HOW I'D BEEN DISCUSSED AT THE MORNING MEETING BECAUSE MY PULSE HAD DROPPED TO 40 THE NIGHT-BEFORE WHICH ALARMED THE NIGHT CREW. THEY THOUGHT I MIGHT BE DYING OR GOING INTO CARDIAC ARREST! SHE SAID THE STAFF DECIDED TO SAY I'D HAD SOME KIND OF SERIOUS NIGHTMARE.
SEVERAL AIDES VISITED MY ROOM LATER IN THE MORNING...COMMENTING ABOUT HOW THEY'D HEARD I'D ALMOST DIED THE NIGHT BEFORE BECAUSE MY BODY WAS SO "STRESSED OUT". EVERYONE SAID I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE HEART MEDICINE WHEN IT WAS OFFERED ME.
WHEN AN RN...ANOTHER STRANGER...VISITED ME TO DISCUSS THE HOME HEALTH CARE VISITATION PROGRAM...I TOLD HER ABOUT NEEDING TO KNOW WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO ME THE NIGHT BEFORE. SHE LEFT FOR A FEW MINUTES. WHEN SHE RETURNED, SHE SAID "THERE IS NO INFORMATION ON YOUR CHART...IN FACT..IT WAS BLANK. I ASKED THE CHART NURSE WHY AND WAS TOLD THAT THERE'S BEEN NOTHING TO REPORT. WHEN I ASKED AN AIDE IF SHE'D HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR PULSE DROPPING TO 40...SHE LOOKED SCARED AND SAID NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO DISCUSS ANYTHING ABOUT YOU WITH ANYONE."
NO. I DIDN'T HAVE A NIGHTMARE...ANYMORE THAN I "DREAMED" A WOMAN INJECTED SOMETHING INTO MY IV. I WAS WIDE-AWAKE WHEN I WAS GIVEN AN UNDOCUMENTED INJECTION. NO ONE AT CHI ST VINCENT HOSPITAL WAS OFFICIALLY "MY DOCTOR". NO ONE WAS AUTHORIZED TO PRESCRIBE MEDICATION OR TO INJECT ME WITH ANYTHING.
I have much more to share and....two months later...I now realize what a "close call" I had with Death. I almost didn't make it out of CHI St. Vincent... ALIVE.
My Story gives "New Meaning" to the expression: " Very-Cold Women."
If you've lived all your life without knowing about NECROPHILIA, it's time you learned. You've surely heard of grave robbers who dig up the dead just to rob them of rings, watches, jewelry of any kind. The very idea of such intrusion makes me sick. But---imagine beyond-sick people called NECROPHILES, who dig up the dead to enjoy their company--to make friends--to dress and un-dress them, AND.... to have sex.
In the early eighties, I had a talk-radio show in Little Rock, Arkansas. One day I received a call from a newspaper reporter/friend, asking if I wanted to join him at a Trailer Park outside North Little Rock to experience an exclusive story-in-the-making. Of course, loving adventure, I quickly said "yes".
No one, not even the toughest among us, can prepare for the sight of dead bodies. I watched an old metal trailer door being ripped from its hinges as military police took possess of a crime scene.
Inside were the long-dead bodies of three women who, at the time of their deaths, were 17 years, 25 years, and forty-one years of age. The most-recent dead was a seventeen year old who had been laid-to-rest, ten months earlier. The twenty five year-old-female had been in her grave for five years before her long sleep was interrupted and she was moved to this old, creepy trailer.
Inside, two of the women were lying naked on a bare mattress in the small trailer's only bedroom. The youngest woman was lying on her back in the bathtub. Her hair was wet, like it had recently been washed. Probably most bizarre to me...the woman's eyes were open. The trailer's kitchen cabinets were crowded--not with food--but with boxes of condoms, bras and panties, nightgowns--even makeup and nail polish.
No one knew for certain how long the airman from the nearby Jacksonville Air Force Base had practiced his cold, deadly obsession for lifeless female-playmates. Records showed he'd rented the Trailer more than 3 years earlier and none of the other residents suspected anything strange about his comings and goings....not even his wife or two small children. Yes, he had a regular family, in another community, where he was considered a good husband, father, and a service man with a flawless military record but...
I was hooked. I'd never experienced life at its creepiest/craziest and I needed answers. Several days later, I introduced Necrophilia on my talk show-- choosing to educate the public about its meaning while, at the same time, avoiding the details of my recent encounter. Within minutes, the radio station was bombarded by attorneys' calls, demanding that I immediately change the subject. It was clear I'd touched on classified information that the military deemed off-limits to the public.
I followed the case closely, wanting to know more about the airman, his family, and his eventual punishment. But, in spite of our persistence, neither my reporter-friend nor I were able to "dig up" much more. We only learned that the trailer had been moved away and the three women were all laid-to-rest...again… in undisclosed locations.
Years ago, as a married woman, nothing upset me more than to be wakened from a peaceful sleep....for sex. Being a dutiful wife, I seldom refused but....I do remember simply-lying there--feeling dead inside.
So, to guarantee my eternal rest---and uninterrupted sleep--- I've elected to be cremated rather than have my "vulnerable body" laid-to-rest in a cemetery.