Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel , Peg Heron Heidel , Tara McLaughlin , William B Schiebe , William Scully , Steve Halloran , John Myers , John Snyder , Caroline Snyder, Kevin Burke , Dave Lounder , ........................ How's this?
There’s another point that I would like to address, and that deals with how people in society regarded my feelings for both MaryEllen and Donna, but more toward Donna because she was not disabled. It has always amazed me that people, and intelligent people at that, could hold a view that if someone was in a wheelchair, that they were or are incapable of either having or exhibiting the emotion of love toward another person, especially if that other person was not disabled. Or, if they did, that it must be platonic in nature and nothing more than that. Like, it was some tribal taboo and, if it happened, that one would be staked out on a volcano. Or, that the disabled person does not understand the emotion that they are experiencing. Like, the disabled person is a mindless, unfeeling mound of flesh. I have also noticed that, in a lot of cases, “normal” people will tend to scold disabled people if they showed the emotion of love toward a “normal” person.
Why is that? If a disabled person is intelligent enough and understands the concept of that most complex emotion, especially if they could really understand how that emotion was portrayed by William Shakespeare, then, they can handle that emotion. Trust me. My maternal grandmother was a perfect example of the point I am making her. For one, she was utterly convinced that I was mentally retarded. What is more, she was convinced that did not understand anything which was happening around me, and that included having true emotions.
I remember, once, at my high school graduation party. The adults were all sitting on the deck, talking. My friends, including MaryEllen, and I were in the backyard, throwing a frisbee around. A kid, with the first name of Don (I can’t remember his last name, but his CB handle was Yellowbird) toss the frisbee to MaryEllen and I. What was cute was that, as we caught the disc, at the same time, our hands touched. A few of my friends, said, as a chorus, “Aw, give her a kiss.” So, MaryEllen flipped the frisbee up, like a shield, to hide our faces from the adults and gave me a quick, but extremely kiss.
I could hear my grandmother gasped and asked my mother if she was going to allow me to kiss “the cripple girl” like that and added that I did not know what it meant. My paternal grandmother was not that much better in that regard, but, at least she kept any comments to herself. I remember when I took Donna to my Senior Ball, my father drove us over to his mother’s and father’s apartment so that they could see us all dressed up. My grandfather was out someplace, but my grandmother was home, cooking dinner. My father parked the van in the driveway, placing the side door where the sidewalk was. He got me out of the van and walked us up to where their apartment was. Having us stay on the sidewalk, he went and knocked on the door.
His mother came to the door, and then, out onto the front stoop. My father told her that we were going to my Ball and he thought that she would like to see us before we went. She commented on how handsome I looked and looked over at Donna and asked in that southern/New Orleans drawl of hers, “And, who are you, Dear?” Without missing a beat, Donna put her arm around my shoulders, and said (and I noted that she spoke with pride), “Hello, Mrs. Connelly, I’m Donna Licsak, I’m Timmy’s girlfriend.” Before my grandmother answered Donna, she looked over at my father and asked, “I thought his girlfriend was that girl in the wheelchair?” My father told her that we had broken up and that I had been dating Donna since 1980. My grandmother turned to Donna and asked, “Timmy’s girlfriend? You two met at his college? Licsak? Are you Polish, Dear?” Donna smiled that sweet smile she used when she did not really like someone, and explained how we met and added, with a hint of Donna-ish sarcasm, “Polish? No. I’m Russian, my grandfather was a White Russian.” banquet dresses
My grandmother took note of her veiled sarcasm and I was doing my best to suppress a smile and laugh, and said to the both of us that she hoped we would have a nice time at the dance and commented how pretty Donna looked. As we turned to leave, I whispered to Donna, “Thank you, Miss Licsak.” She rubbed my shoulder as she said, “My pleasure and honor, Mr. Connelly.” Behind us, my father was chuckling.