Helen Baldwin,  —

Helen partners with Randy, her “retired” husband of 46 years, in assorted endeavors: a rental cabin, carpet dry-cleaning business, and bees — lots of bees! — and all that goes with them, namely honey and beeswax products. Her favorite role is “MomMom” to Clara and James. Originally from Texas, Helen taught kindergarteners with orthopedic and multiple disabilities after a move to Columbia, South Carolina. A few years later, Helen, Randy, and their children, Matthew and Katie, moved close to the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. In the spring of 1997, they welcomed baby Jeffrey, a big surprise harboring an even bigger one — spinal muscular atrophy. Helen’s teaching expertise was called into action until their precious little guy snagged his wings at 5-1/2 months. She wrote a book, “The Jeffrey Journey,” about their special assignment and is delighted to continue sharing in her column, “We're Not in Kansas Anymore.”

Articles by Helen Baldwin

Interpreting Signs of a Feather or Two

Our sweet third baby, Jeffrey, arrived on a sunny May morning. Two months later, spinal muscular atrophy barged into our world. Hearing the prognosis of death before kindergarten was akin to being pummeled by a raging bull on one side and a tornado on the other. It…

No Backup Is Needed With Angel Intervention

Oct. 6, 1997. My husband, Randy, and I snagged a last-ditch effort to save our baby Jeffrey from spinal muscular atrophy’s deadly vise: meeting with a pulmonologist who was trying gabapentin on another young child in North Carolina. We were desperately eager to learn whether…

Old Like Fine Wine — Or Something

My husband, Randy, and I moved into our house at the end of December 1995. The old farmhouse, situated in the mountains of North Carolina, was built in 1920, reportedly by bootleggers. Surely there must be some hidden treasure somewhere! We haven’t found it yet, but we haven’t…

Being Thankful, No Matter What

It’s so much more than the turkey. Memories of childhood Thanksgiving gatherings with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins take me to a happy place. My paternal grandmother, Mammaw, wearing white socks and practical black shoes, poured sugar into the bowl for cake icing while the…

Remembering That November, 23 Years Ago

It all started 23 years ago, this propensity for November to pack a punch. In the wee hours of Nov. 1, 1997, a power outage set the stage for an eventful day. Make that an eventful few days. By that time, our baby Jeffrey, diagnosed…

When the Scary Stuff Became Real

As far back as I can remember, I have had an affinity for all things scary, creepy, suspenseful, and macabre. From “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (which includes books, black-and-white TV reruns, and movies), to true crime drama, thriller fiction, and “The…

Dreams of a White Picket Fence

When I began daydreaming about the kind of house my husband, Randy, and I would someday own, my vision included a big covered porch with a swing, a roomy yard with lots of trees, and a white picket fence. Gloria, our realtor in Fort Worth,…