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.”

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…

Got Chaos? Look Up at the Sky

As teens, my husband, Randy, and his brother kept bees in their family’s tiny backyard. Way back then, the protective gear was flimsy at best, and they both eventually sought less painful hobbies. The opening of a new local beekeeping store just before Randy’s retirement a…

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…