This is a tale of two cities and a tale of two sons. This is a tale of two mothers, both named Nancy. This is a tale of two very different parenting strategies. One mother lived in New England and had a son challenged by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The other lived in Florida and her son was also challenged by ASD. Both boys were no more than five years apart in age. Certainly both mothers loved their sons and tried very hard to help them adapt and learn to get along in life. The New England mom spent a lot of quality time shooting at the pistol range with her boy. All kinds of weapons, guns, swords, and sabers dotted the house as well as practice targets. As her son’s differences became more noticeable and unwieldy, she allowed him to isolate himself in his room or the basement playing endless sessions of the violent Call of Duty. She even gave him a gift certificate for a firearm for Christmas — as if that’s what the Prince of Peace would find suitable for a present on his birthday.
The Florida Nancy exposed her son to all kinds of music, musical instruments and art. She kept him engaged with his peers and family. She taught him to “look me in the eye.” Her son was not a savant with music, like Dustin Hoffman’s card counting tricks in Rain Man — he needed to study constantly. She availed herself of every opportunity, whether it be musical scholarships or jammin’ at the mall, to introduce her boy to the harp, viola, violin, guitar and piano. Teaching him, not only to enjoy music, but to be able to make a living when he’s grown and when she’s gone.
The story hasn’t ended, but you know the story so far. Even if you don’t suffer from mental illness, ASD, a bad temper, a weak moment, the culture of guns, violent video games and bad manners has far exceeded its limit and our patience in this country. Hunters notwithstanding, no one needs an assault rife to take down a deer. Giving a kid a musical instrument to play versus giving a kid a gun to shoot is the obvious decision every time. No parent should ever go through what our sister state, Connecticut’s, parents have endured. And sadly, far too many states and countries are at the mercy of a weapons-saturated world. Don’t sit passively back. Throw yourself into gun control reformation.
So, back to these two sons. Is it nature or nurture? Go figure.
Our library is running a Spring Film Festival of Oscar-winning movies. On Tuesday, April 16 at 7 p.m. you can screen the winner for best director: Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. All showings are free and Betty makes popcorn.
Oh, the miracle of the internet. I received a very nice note from wonderful Bunny Davis who used to live in Chilmark with husband, Harold. Harold died several years ago. He was a fabulous man and great friend to all. Bunny and I cross paths it seems every 10 years. Perhaps now that we are “linked in,” we can keep closer contact.
Speaking of old friends, who does not love Karen and David Berube? Karen, undergoing a terrible time with cancer, needs our support. You may help by attending at the Fun Fundraiser tomorrow night at 5 p.m. at the P.A. Club in Oak Bluffs. Your $20 ticket can be ordered by calling 508-693-3360 or purchase at the door. It includes lasagna dinner, salad and dessert. Trip Barnes will hold forth at the live auction. Tristan Israel, Paul Thurlow and Nancy Jephcote provide the music, along with special guest star, Joanne Cassidy. Sounds like a great party. If I don’t see you there you could give a tax deductible donation by mail. Make the check out to You’ve Got A Friend, and be sure to write Karen Berube in the memo line. Send it to P.O. Box 1317, West Tisbury, MA 02575.
The birthday bandwagon pulls along Siobhan Francis, Elmer Silva and Danielle Ewart today. April 13 is shared by Barbara Kunzelman and Taylor Gramkowski. April 14 is a party for Rita McKenna Kean, Emily Brown and William Diamond. April 15 belongs to Shirley Kennedy, Joe Ojile and Wendy Francis. April 16 shines on Jenny Painter Seward and Evan Rogers. April 16 is for Irene Miller. And on April 18, Laurie Jennings, Alexander Schultz and Lynne Whiting take the cake. Many happy returns.