We're Not in Kansas Anymore - a Column by Helen Baldwin

sky, bloom, silence, feathers, timeHelen 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.”

‘Have Courage, and Be Kind’

Being surrounded by tranquility and stunning scenery in the North Carolina mountains is a true blessing. A bonus is that our two grandchildren live down the road! Clara, 5, and James, 3, entertain us all with their endless antics. It’s great fun for my husband, Randy, and me to spy…

Honoring the Siblings in an SMA Family

Because our daughter, Katie, and son-in-law, Paul, live over five hours away, we don’t see them often. Thanks to last year’s lockdown, we hadn’t seen them in 10 months when they pulled off a surprise visit for my birthday last May. That long weekend was stuffed with…

‘Uh-oh’: Perfect Timing in More Ways Than One

I had Mrs. Ruby Miner for spelling in the seventh grade. Besides spelling words, we defined, pronounced, and wrote them neatly. Stepping into Room 217 usually brought on a slight spell of jitters, even for this decent speller. I can only imagine the palpitations had I not been an…

Things Aren’t Always As They Seem

I helped my husband, Randy, pluck raspberries from our bountiful bushes the other evening. Shortly after sampling our red, squishy haul, I removed my Crocs to get ready for a shower. Whoa. My eyeballs popped when I spied what looked like blood on the bottom of…

Dangling Under the Full Moon

Parents, teachers, and pet owners routinely witness the unmistakable impact of full moons on all realms of behavior. Insert wolf howl. As a rapidly aging adult, I can vouch for this monthly phenomenon’s continued ability to “scramble the circuits” in every capacity. For…

Bustin’ Out All Over With Memories and Surprises

Birthdays, including my own awesome one last month, and other notable days — Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, school year’s end — dot the May calendar. June’s tally of memorable days is no slouch, either. My husband, Randy, and I married in June (47 years ago!), as did both…

Angels of a Feather May Flock Together

Just over two years after our baby Jeffrey died from spinal muscular atrophy, my brother-in-law, Steven, passed away. My husband, Randy, our two children, Matthew and Katie, and I made the long drive back to our old stomping grounds in Texas, for our first funeral of a loved…