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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Barbara

Which living person do you most admire?

For me, it is an ex-colleague from the Commission For the Blind. We were not real close and lost contact after I left the Commission in 1991. But 20+ years later, this woman's story, strength and unshakable grace have kept her firmly in my mind and at the top of my list.

From the time her youngest was an infant, she chose to raise her four children alone rather than stay with their father. All I ever heard about him was that he had become untrustworthy; she and her children deserved more, she said. On her State salary, she scraped together enough to buy a modest home in East Orange where her four children attended public school K-12.

Over the years we were acquainted, her two oldest graduated from engineering college with honors. When we parted her third had a teaching job lined up after his impending graduation and her youngest was a junior - pre-law. The five of them still lived in the same home. I recall one conversation when she told me she insisted they all keep "reasonable" hours so she could get enough sleep and go to work each day. I never once heard her complain about any of them. I realize this is not the whole story but it's enough. My wife and I raised one responsible child. Choosing to do it four times without a partner?

For many years,Vanity Fair magazine had a feature called "The Proust Questionnaire", which included the question opening this post. Over the ensuing years, some of the answers on my completed questionnaire have shifted; not this one.

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