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

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,…

A Nurse, or 3, Named Mary

My teaching career started at Brockman School in Columbia, South Carolina. Nestled in the corner of a quiet neighborhood resembling a forest, Brockman was a self-contained school for children ages 3-21 with orthopedic and multiple handicapping conditions. My assignment was the kindergarten class.

The Importance of Paying Attention

In the beginning of the COVID-19 chaos, I tried to stay informed of updated health-related warnings and recommendations. I soon waved the proverbial white flag to ward off permanent whiplash from keeping abreast of the ever-changing information. During this pandemic pandemonium, my current primary daily…

Finding SMA in Unexpected Places

Not long after our third baby, Jeffrey, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), my mother received a note from her cousin, who mentioned her two granddaughters’ “muscle disease.” Having believed for years that the girls had spina bifida, we learned quickly, though not totally shockingly,…

The Papa Tomato

Our family has some generous gardening friends. One such friend keeps us spoiled with her garden goodies regularly. She has delivered to our porch zucchini, beans, lettuce, garlic, and fresh eggs. Oh, and tomatoes. *** Our baby Jeffrey’s routine check…

Why I Appreciate Diagnosis Day Anniversaries

It’s probably safe to say that these past four months have been a blur for many. It seems that mere blinks ago it was mid-March, the last days of normalcy in untold routines, and the beginning of upheavals that have defied description. Somehow, it’s already…

Service with a Smile and a Waggly Tail

One month after our baby Jeffrey was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, I met Cindy Schaefer on an SMA message board. Her son, BioNews Services columnist and forums director Kevin Schaefer, was diagnosed with type 2 SMA a couple years before that. During…

For Better, for Worse, and Everything in Between

June 7 was my 46th wedding anniversary. My parents reached their 50th anniversary 17 years ago. It is mind-boggling that my husband, Randy, and I are already old enough to ponder our own golden celebration. I have mentioned Randy in almost every column, if not all…