"The town of Duxbury was only responsible to provide me a tutor for three hours a week. My mother felt this was not enough. But it was better than nothing."

We live in an age of intentional inclusion. Racial, religious, and other forms of segregation from public facilities such as restaurants and schools are generally considered a thing of the past. But although things have improved dramatically over the last few decades, we can still learn a lot from those who struggled through the marginalization. Educational mainstreaming for the handicapped, for example, has made great strides, but as the experiences of the author point out, it has been a long, uphill battle.

When Arlene was born in 1935 she was severely jaundiced. This, and the difference between her blood type and that of her mother's, possibly contributed to her development of cerebral palsy. Because society saw the handicapped differently than today, the doctor had already made arrangements for her parents to commit her to a state hospital, but her mother insisted that her child was coming home with her. Although blessed with loving parents and good friends, Arlene still faced challenges of exclusion and limited opportunities as she grew up. Yet, she was determined to make a place for herself and pursue her chosen career as a teacher, a dream that she eventually realized.

The author's story is told well and reveals much of how our understanding and views toward the handicapped have changed for the better. Her dedication and love for students with special needs is evident throughout the book as she recalls her various teaching experiences both during the school year and in summer camps. So, also, is her unquenchable drive to earn a college degree inspiring. Poignant and informative, her autobiography is a testimony to a life well lived in service to others.

Return to USR Home