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.”

The Keepsakes That May Not Make Much Sense to Others

If there’s not a 12-step program for sentimental slobs, maybe there oughta be. As a sentimental slob myself, I come by it naturally. Let me explain. Although my parents had little money when they married, Dad made a reservation for their honeymoon at a new hotel in town. After the…

Happy (School) Days Are (Hopefully) Here Again!

Lights! Camera! Action! My family’s goings-on might make good fodder for a reality TV show. It’s been a memorable year so far, including my mother’s declining health and death in February; a collapsed ceiling and water damage two months later in what…

The Importance of Awareness, Then and Today

The homework assignment in fifth grade involved music. I probably wrote a few short reports about composers and attempted to draw some instruments with my dual-ended map colors. I wrote “Music” on the outside of the blue folder and added some spiffy artwork. Good spelling came naturally…

To Delete or Not to Delete: That May Be the Question

“MomMom! MomMOM!” When hollered out in glass-shattering decibels, my grandma moniker can mean anything. During my recent extensive time in charge of our grandchildren, Clara, 6, and James, 4, I’ve dashed to the scene of what sounded like emergency status more than once. One episode of Clara’s “MomMOM!” revealed…

Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates … and a Yo-yo

I’ve only seen snippets from the 1994 movie “Forrest Gump.” I know a couple of its famous lines, though: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” I love surprises, chocolate and otherwise! Usually. In the mid-1980s, my husband, Randy, and I…

Adios, April! Hello, May(hem)!

April brought with it more than showers in the water department. Our son Matthew and his family visited our daughter and son-in-law, Katie and Paul, on Easter weekend. Besides the beach, they had access to a nearby swimming pool. As our granddaughter Clara, 6, dipped her toes into…