Friday, September 11, 2009
Of course, Mary wasn't the first person to come along and choose to be someone's Personal Assistant. She has great heroes to emulate, role models to imitate. First, there is her friend, Millie. Millie cares for her son, Sidney. Sidney studies computer science and transports himself by wheelchair. Millie runs double the number of errands for her son that Mary does.
Another role model is the famous Alicia Larde Nash, wife, then ex-wife, then wife again of schizophrenic Nobel Laureate in Economics, John Nash.
Then there's one of her favorite Personal Assistant heroes- Anna Erdos, mother of prolific mathematician, Paul Erdos. She did everything for Paul, so that he didn't have to become distracted from his important, awe-inspiring production of mathematics by mundane responsibilities. Although the term "autism" didn't yet exist in Dr. Erdos' day, there are stories that indicate he may have been on the spectrum. There's a story that shows how closely Anna cared for her son. When he was twenty-three years old, Paul visited friends in England who served tea, toast and butter. Apparently, he looked at his friends buttering their toast and announced "I think I can do that". He had never buttered his own toast, because his mom had always prepared all of his food. This story is a reminder of why it is that, after David completes his college degrees, he will then take a year or so off from science to just learn basic daily living skills.
David can fix himself a simple meal. Some people judge Anna harshly for taking care of so many details for so long, but this is wrong. It was a different world then. She wanted to protect her son from any sort of stress.
Of course, everyone also knows the story of another role model, Fran Peek, father of Kim Peek (upon whom the film Rain Man is based). Fran's commitment to Kim's happiness and pursuit of his Self Determination Dream provides a fine example to follow. There are many, many more wonderful Personal Assitants out there devoting their lives to someone who needs extra help. If you are one of us, and you happen upon this blog, we would love to hear your story.
Posted by Mary Nisson at 6:39 PM 0 comments