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vivico1
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Mike's parents

Mike's mother Ori Jean seems like an incredible woman. I wonder if Mike would be anywhere near the person he is today if his mother had not treated him the way she did and let him "crash through" all the things he did that sometimes hurt him physically as a child but seemed to set him free emotionally to just BE. I love that she fought for his mainstreaming and everything for him. It had to be hard at times for her to watch him, heck it was hard for me to read him crashing into poles playing but getting up and running full speed at them again lol. Do you all think mike's mom and how she handled it all was something special, especially for the late 50s? Also, I may not be remembering it all, i just remember her but anyone can answer this or Robert, if you would tell me more about him, what about mike's dad? Am I forgetting his involvement with Mike after the accident or does the book mainly talk about his mother? If it does, then Robert, could you tell us about how his dad felt about the accident and Mike after he went blind? How was their relationship when he was a kid? Did he treat him the same as other kids, or even as Ori Jean did?
I do think this is a really good example of how parenting skills can help children become awesome adults and I say kuddos to Mike's mom (and dad if i missed that lol).
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Librarian
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Re: Mike's parents



vivico1 wrote:
Do you all think mike's mom and how she handled it all was something special, especially for the late 50s?
Hi Vivico-----------In another post on this board, I mention how parenting was different in the 50s. His accident happened in 1957. I'm a child of the 50s and Ithink our parents were careful but we had more autonomy then. But I do think how she handled his schooling by insisting on his mainstreaming (today it would be called inclusion in the schools} was very special for those times. A lot of different special types of educational needs were closeted in special rooms or sent off to special schools then. So Ori Jean was early on with the ---"let my child take part with the regular classes. " I think she was fantastic.
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vivico1
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Re: Mike's parents


Librarian wrote:


vivico1 wrote:
Do you all think mike's mom and how she handled it all was something special, especially for the late 50s?
Hi Vivico-----------In another post on this board, I mention how parenting was different in the 50s. His accident happened in 1957. I'm a child of the 50s and Ithink our parents were careful but we had more autonomy then. But I do think how she handled his schooling by insisting on his mainstreaming (today it would be called inclusion in the schools} was very special for those times. A lot of different special types of educational needs were closeted in special rooms or sent off to special schools then. So Ori Jean was early on with the ---"let my child take part with the regular classes. " I think she was fantastic.
Librarian



Hi Librarian, good to see you again. Yeah I was born in 57 in Silver City where I read Mike was and had his accident that same year! lol. My experience in those days were that if a kid was blind, they were not even allowed to play with the regular kids over fear of them getting hurt, just family relatives and maybe a neighbor or two so i find her quite extraordinary for the time. Did you read anything about the dad after the accident, how he was with Mike? I went back and looked but might have missed something if it was there. i am very curious about his reactions.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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RobertKurson
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Re: Mike's parents

From the moment I heard about Mike's story, I was astonished at the courage his mother showed by allowing him to explode into the world, to be every bit the adventurous and curious little boy he was built to be. Mike will tell you that without his mother's faith in him - and in her instinct that he be allowed to explore every corner of the world - he never would have become person he is today. And you're all correct - in the late 1950s, blind children were very much protected and separated. Ori Jean's approach really was a bit revolutionary.

Ori Jean often reminded me, during our interviews, that her approach to parenting Mike was only partly a result of her feelings about life, and about how a child (blind or sighted) might best inhale the world. The other part, she said, was just a practical necessity. Because her husband was increasingly unavailable and unproductive as a result of his alcoholism, she had to work several jobs and simply didn't have time to treat Mike or any of her other four children with any special consideration. At times, they were struggling just to make ends meet, and Mike was expected to pull his weight...and then some. In a strange way, this hard situation also seems to have groomed Mike to take on whatever life threw at him.


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vivico1
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Re: Mike's parents


RobertKurson wrote:
From the moment I heard about Mike's story, I was astonished at the courage his mother showed by allowing him to explode into the world, to be every bit the adventurous and curious little boy he was built to be. Mike will tell you that without his mother's faith in him - and in her instinct that he be allowed to explore every corner of the world - he never would have become person he is today. And you're all correct - in the late 1950s, blind children were very much protected and separated. Ori Jean's approach really was a bit revolutionary.

Ori Jean often reminded me, during our interviews, that her approach to parenting Mike was only partly a result of her feelings about life, and about how a child (blind or sighted) might best inhale the world. The other part, she said, was just a practical necessity. Because her husband was increasingly unavailable and unproductive as a result of his alcoholism, she had to work several jobs and simply didn't have time to treat Mike or any of her other four children with any special consideration. At times, they were struggling just to make ends meet, and Mike was expected to pull his weight...and then some. In a strange way, this hard situation also seems to have groomed Mike to take on whatever life threw at him.


Man, he was truly given the right mother to help him with what he had to face. I love that phrase, inhale life, it made me take a deep breath when i was reading it even lol. If mothers give life, this mother really did!
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Wrighty
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Re: Mike's parents


RobertKurson wrote:
From the moment I heard about Mike's story, I was astonished at the courage his mother showed by allowing him to explode into the world, to be every bit the adventurous and curious little boy he was built to be. Mike will tell you that without his mother's faith in him - and in her instinct that he be allowed to explore every corner of the world - he never would have become person he is today. And you're all correct - in the late 1950s, blind children were very much protected and separated. Ori Jean's approach really was a bit revolutionary.

Ori Jean often reminded me, during our interviews, that her approach to parenting Mike was only partly a result of her feelings about life, and about how a child (blind or sighted) might best inhale the world. The other part, she said, was just a practical necessity. Because her husband was increasingly unavailable and unproductive as a result of his alcoholism, she had to work several jobs and simply didn't have time to treat Mike or any of her other four children with any special consideration. At times, they were struggling just to make ends meet, and Mike was expected to pull his weight...and then some. In a strange way, this hard situation also seems to have groomed Mike to take on whatever life threw at him.




I agree that Mike's mom was ahead of her time. Can you imagine any of our mother's doing that? She had a lot of uphill battles but it paid off. Mike has such a curious nature that it sounds like she was exactly what he needed. It must have been so hard for her to allow some of what she did. Mother's are so protective and it would go against many instincts. I don't know if I would have been able to do it.
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ilucas
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Re: Mike's parents

Hi Vivico, I read the book with your question about Bill May in mind. You are correct that Bill May plays a less significant role in Mike's life than his mother does. It is clear that Bill's alcoholism is growing progressively worse through out Mike's childhood until the divorce when Mike is a teen. Bill is regularly hospitalized for prolonged periods of time. There are a few referrences to Bill's attitude toward his son's blindness and they all imply a similar level of support as shown by his mother. I particularly loved Mike's description of walking holding his father's hand along with the system of hand squeezes that would indicate changes in the path for his son. The fact that the father was willing to move the family to CA in order to enable Mike to attend an inclusive elementary school says a great deal. However, I do not think that Bill was active in fighting for Mike's inclusion in any activity as his mother was because of his debilitating alcoholism. Irene
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vivico1
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Re: Mike's parents


ilucas wrote:
Hi Vivico, I read the book with your question about Bill May in mind. You are correct that Bill May plays a less significant role in Mike's life than his mother does. It is clear that Bill's alcoholism is growing progressively worse through out Mike's childhood until the divorce when Mike is a teen. Bill is regularly hospitalized for prolonged periods of time. There are a few referrences to Bill's attitude toward his son's blindness and they all imply a similar level of support as shown by his mother. I particularly loved Mike's description of walking holding his father's hand along with the system of hand squeezes that would indicate changes in the path for his son. The fact that the father was willing to move the family to CA in order to enable Mike to attend an inclusive elementary school says a great deal. However, I do not think that Bill was active in fighting for Mike's inclusion in any activity as his mother was because of his debilitating alcoholism. Irene


Thank you ilucas and Robert. Yes, I do remember now the part about the hand squeeze thing they did. I think his mother's activity level with him and thoughts about how to handle him so outshined a lot of what Bill did, that that may be why I just didnt remember much about him in it. You have both really answered my questions about Bill in this!
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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ilucas
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Re: Mike's parents

I just came across an article from the Saturday, July 7 issue of the New Yourk Times about Avraham Rubby, the first blind US diplomat. Isreali by birth, educated in England by parents who sent him off to England at the age of 10 because Isreal did not have adequate educational opportunities for blind youth, MBA in the US and a full career of postings in locations as varied as South Africa and Trinidad. He just retired at the age of 65 which would make him roughly a decade older than Mike May. He had to fight for his diplomatic postings every step of the way. Supervisors could not imagine that someone without vision could do critical aspects of the job. How much of May's and Rubby's ability to succeed and pave new paths had to do with their up bringing and how much had to do with personality? May is educated in an semi-inclusive school setting, raised by a permissive mother in a dysfunctional family that required him to be responsible. Rubby was educated at a boarding school for the blind, separated from the nuclear family. Irene
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Librarian
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Re: Mike's parents

[ Edited ]

ilucas wrote:
However, I do not think that Bill was active in fighting for Mike's inclusion in any activity as his mother was because of his debilitating alcoholism. Irene



Hi Irene , Vivico and others-----Great observations. I'm enjoying the discussion here. If I'm not mistaken, isn't it mentioned at some point in the book that Bill blamed himself for the accident that blinded May? He wishes he had cleaned out that jar with the chemical residue. I wonder if this helped his alcoholism to progress. I was also SPOILER WARNING HERE-----------amazed that for so many years his sister Diane who was four at the time thought she was responsible because in her memory she mistakenly thought that she had handed the jar to Mike!
Librarian

Message Edited by Librarian on 07-13-2007 01:21 PM
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Librarian
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Re: Mike's parents



ilucas wrote:
I just came across an article from the Saturday, July 7 issue of the New Yourk Times about Avraham Rubby, the first blind US diplomat......... How much of May's and Rubby's ability to succeed and pave new paths had to do with their up bringing and how much had to do with personality? May is educated in an semi-inclusive school setting, raised by a permissive mother in a dysfunctional family that required him to be responsible. Rubby was educated at a boarding school for the blind, separated from the nuclear family. Irene



Irene---That's a very interesting article. Robert says that Mike credits getting so far to his mother. But since these two men had such different upbringings, I guess it is a balancing act between personality, genes, etc. and environment, upbringing'
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ilucas
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Re: Mike's parents

Yes, the story did recount Bill's self-blame for the acident for not cleaning out the garage upon moving into the house. I had the same wonder/thought, did the blame cause or escolate the alcoholism. Irene
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RobertKurson
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Re: Mike's parents

I think Mike - and even his mother - still aren't certain as to the answer to this question.



ilucas wrote:
Yes, the story did recount Bill's self-blame for the acident for not cleaning out the garage upon moving into the house. I had the same wonder/thought, did the blame cause or escolate the alcoholism. Irene



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