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.”

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…

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…

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