|June, 2008 - June began with a nice celebration at the annual banquet of the Volunteer Services
Council of Denton State School. I have been a member of the board for several years, and this
event marked the end of my term. The Mister Joe Quartet (Andy Cooper, Bach Norwood, Jim
Stearcke, and me) played for the occasion, and Jimmy Mitchell sang his signature song, "Big D"
from Frank Loesser's "Most Happy Fella".
On June 13 the Denton Community Band premiered my new piece entitled "Clock Werke" at a
concert in Quakertown Park. It was a good performance and well-received by a small but
On June 15 the First United Methodist Big Band (Foo-McBubba) did a benefit concert for the
Denton Bell Band. A small but enthusiastic audience donated over $400. The director, John
Priddy, is one of the finest musicians in town, and I was very pleased that he decided to offer this
program in support of the Bell Band.
June also brought confirmation that my contract with Texas Woman's University will be extended
to full time - effective in the fall of this year. I am pleased that at age seventy they find my services
useful and worthy of more attention in the program. Chancellor Ann Stuart also approved the use
of handbells and brass at the graduation ceremonies in December and in the spring of 2009.
This kind of visibility will go a long way toward fulfilling a dream of having an active handbell
program at the University.
June, 1980 - Denton State School celebrated its twentieth anniversary, and I noted that in my six
years of employment I had witnessed a sense of dedication and concern coupled with modern
facilities that make the school a model for similar institutions around the state and nation.
We have progressed from a time when persons with mental retardation were treated as outcasts,
through a period when we tried to hide them all in the institution, and we are now entering an age
when community based programs are allowing many to remain at home and receive training to
help them make contributions as citizens. The institution will never be obsolete, because we still
have persons who need supervision and care that may not be possible at home.
Mental retardation is not a disease; it is a condition, like being short or tall, black or white. Such a
condition is part of a person's total makeup and does not change significantly beyond the
developmental years. Like any of the conditions mentioned mental retardation does not make
one any less a human being - not any less feeling, less loving, less honest, less peaceful, or less
joyful - in fact, many of these qualities that seem to be diminishing in our society are very much
alive in most persons with mental retardation.
There are six million persons with mental retardation in the United States and over 360,000 in
Texas alone. At least 75% of these persons are probably capable of becoming self-supporting
economically and socially, if they receive adequate services and the one ingredient which no
government can legislate - UNDERSTANDING.
RHYME FOR OUR TIME:
This summer's day with sky of gray
finds me here by the pool keeping cool.
Blending with all, short and tall,
scantily clad, fat and trim - in the swim.
Should be home working alone;
everyone knows too much fun gets nothing done.
But come what may, there's no way
I'm going to let a blank page spoil this summer's day.