scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: FW: 're One Person - Inspiration
Michael Bowman (mfbowman@USSCOUTS.ORG
Mon Nov 15 1999 - 19:42:26 CST
The formatting may be pretty bad, but the story is worth the read:
> One Person
> Dr. Frank Mayfield was touring Tewksbury Institute when, on his way
> out, he
> accidentally collided with an elderly floor maid.
> To cover the awkward moment Dr. Mayfield started asking
> questions, "How
> have you worked here?"
> "I've worked here almost since the place opened," the maid replied.
> can you tell me about the history of this place?" he asked.
> "I don't think I can tell you anything, but I could show you
> With that, she took his hand and led him down to the basement under
> oldest section of the building. She pointed to one of what
> looked like
> prison cells, their iron bars rusted with age, and said, "That's the
> where they used to keep Annie."
> "Who's Annie?" the doctor asked.
> "Annie was a young girl who was brought in here because she was
> incorrigible -- which means nobody could do anything with her. She'd
> bite and
> scream and throw her food at people. The doctors and nurses couldn't
> examine her or anything. I'd see them trying with her spitting and
> scratching at them.
> I was only a few years younger than her myself and I used to think,
> sure would hate to be locked up in a cage like that.'
> I wanted to help her, but I didn't have any idea what I could do.
> I mean, if the doctors and nurses couldn't help her, what
> could someone like me do?
> "I didn't know what else to do, so I just baked her some
> brownies one
> night after work. The next day I brought them in. I walked carefully
> to her
> cage and said, 'Annie I baked these brownies just for you. I'll put
> right here on the floor and you can come and get them if you
> want.' Then
> got out of there just as fast as I could because I was afraid
> she might
> them at me. But she didn't. She actually took the brownies and ate
> "After that, she was just a little bit nicer to me when I
> was around.
> sometimes I'd talk to her. Once, I even got her laughing. One of the
> noticed this and she told the doctor. They asked me if I'd help them
> Annie. I said I would if I could. So that's how it came about that
> time they wanted to see Annie or examine her, I went into the
> cage first
> explained and calmed her down and held her hand.
> Which is how they discovered that Annie was almost blind."
> After they'd been working with her for about a year -- and it was
> tough sledding with Annie - the Perkins institute for the Blind opened
> doors. They were able to help her and she went on to study
> and became a
> teacher herself.
> Annie came back to the Tewksbury Institute to visit, and to see
> what she could do to help out. At first, the Director didn't say
> anything and then he thought about a letter he'd just received. A man
> written to him about his daughter. She was absolutely unruly
> -- almost
> an animal.
> He'd been told she was blind and deaf as well as 'deranged'
> He was at
> wit's end, but he didn't want to put her in an asylum. So he
> wrote here
> ask if we knew of anyone-any teacher-who would come to his house and
> with his daughter.
> And that is how Annie Sullivan became the lifelong
> companion of Helen Keller.
> When Helen Keller received the Nobel Prize, she was
> asked who had the greatest impact on her life and she said, "Annie
> But Annie said, "No Helen. The woman who had the greatest
> influence on both our lives was a floor maid at the Tewksbury
> Post Script: History is changed when one person asks,
> What can someone like me do?