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Noah Foster
Noah Foster

Dear Teacher Amy Husband

Under normal circumstances, this would be the final straw in our relationship with Sarah, but how do we address this situation with her and express the gravity of our anger and hurt while she mourns the devastating loss of her husband?

Dear Teacher Amy Husband

HelloI don't know exactly where tostart. But, I will just jumpright in I guess. I have a friendthat has left her husband andnow the real trouble is starting.I belong to a support groupcalled New Beginnings. The grouphelped her escape her abusivehusband. She was hidden in differentlocations for a bit then setup in an apartment of her ownwith her children. Just beforeshe left New York her daughtertold the teachers at her schoolof the families circumstancesat home. The abuse that hermother was receiving and therapes by her father of her mother.Now the state of New York isinvestigating her to see ifshe was negligent in sendingher children to school. Alsothey want to physically examinethe kids to check for bruisesetc.

Ipersonally think the husbandis behind this. The woman istotally petrified that she isgoing to lose these childrento him now. He has gotten thephone number and knows she livessomewhere in Maryland. But ThankGod nothing more than that.He has been playing head gameswith her because she asked himto provide for his childrenbut he refuses to do so. Hestates quite clearly that ifshe attempts to get him throughthe courts he will just quithis job. I was wondering ifthere is any way that you couldhelp her? It is hard enoughmaking the break like she haswithout all this indignity ontop of it. As far as I am concernedshe has done nothing exceptto try to keep her childrensafe while he has done muchdamage by his actions. Pleasehelp this wonderful woman. Hername is Rhonda her screen nameis XXXX. I thank you for anyinformation you can give herand also any advice. Sincerely,Patrice

DearRhonda: I am writing to you in responseto a note that your friend,Patrice sent to FEMINIST.COM.I'm so sorry to hear about yoursituation--and even sorrierthat I have taken so long torespond. The only good thingto have come by this delay isthat you may have found a solution--atleast temporarily--to your situation.Ihave friends who had to sufferat the hands of the New YorkFamily Court system becauseof their ignorance and I hopethat wasn't your situation.In this instance, the motherwas charged with neglect becauseher children smelled and their cloethes were dirty. No attentionwas given to the fact that themother was illiterate so shecouldn't get a job. She wastrying to become literate, butthe system made it impossibleto work and study--and, therefore,no way to dig yourself out ofpoverty. Ishare this story with you fora specific reason, which isto illustrate that the systemis wrong, not you. And I thinkwhen going up against what youare potentially going to goup against, you have to keepthis in mind. It sounds like you have doneeverything that you should--youprotected your children andyourself. And hopefully thecourts will respect these choices.I'm assuming that you have alreadyreceived a restraining order--orsomething that can keep yourhusband from seeing your children.I think this is especially importantuntil a final decision is made.Mostly because he sounds likea controlling, angry personand I would hate for him totake that out on the children.I'm also assuming that you havefiled for seperation and/ordivorce or at least begun todo so. Once you do this, thecourt will hopefully look atfully enforce him to pay somethingtoward his child's development.What is most important is thatyou and your children are safe.What is next important is foryou to take care of yourself.Like the group your friend isinvovled with, I hope you getinvolved in a similiar group.To find one near you, you couldlook at resources we offer hereat FEMINIST.COM. I hope that helps and I hopeyou will write directly shouldyou need further help, clarificationor have further questions. Goodluck to you-- and I hope youand your children find the "newbeginnings" you need.—Amy home what'snew resources askamy news activism anti-violenceevents marketplace about us e-mail us joinour mailing list

Joseph S. Lerner, 87, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on July 19, 2006. He was the beloved husband of Shirley, beloved father of Leslie, Ken (Laurie), and Carol Lerner; beloved grandfather of Aaron, Daniel, Jeremy and Jamie; beloved uncle of Marcia (Ricardo) Hofer, Stephen (Harriet) Lerner, Jonny Lerner, Higgy (Renee) Lerner and David (Leslie) Friedman, and beloved brother-in-law of Kathleen Lerner, Rosalie Lerner and Frances Levitov; beloved great-uncle of Jennifer and Amy Hofer, Matt Lerner (Jo Saltmarsh) and Ben (Ari Mangual) Lerner, and Anjelica and Anthony Lerner. Dr. Lerner retired from a rewarding career as a professor and head of the special education department and chairman of the doctoral program at San Francisco State University. He mentored teachers to work with special education students. His career spanned 42 years of work in education. He was active co-president of the Peninsula Temple Beth El Senior Friendship Club, volunteering in the temple library and member of Israel Havurah. Memorial services will be held on August 4, 2006 at 11 a.m. at Peninsula Temple Beth El, San Mateo.

Previous ChapterNext ChapterPART TWO: CHAPTER FORTY - THREE - SurprisesJo was alone in the twilight, lying on the old sofa, looking at the fire, and thinking. It was her favorite way of spending the hour of dusk. No one disturbed her, and she used to lie there on Beth's little red pillow, planning stories, dreaming dreams, or thinking tender thoughts of the sister who never seemed far away. Her face looked tired, grave, and rather sad, for tomorrow was her birthday, and she was thinking how fast the years went by, how old she was getting, and how little she seemed to have accomplished. Almost twenty-five, and nothing to show for it. Jo was mistaken in that. There was a good deal to show, and by-and-by she saw, and was grateful for it."An old maid, that's what I'm to be. A literary spinster, with a pen for a spouse, a family of stories for children, and twenty years hence a morsel of fame, perhaps, when, like poor Johnson, I'm old and can't enjoy it, solitary, and can't share it, independent, and don't need it. Well, I needn't be a sour saint nor a selfish sinner, and, I dare say, old maids are very comfortable when they get used to it, but..." And there Jo sighed, as if the prospect was not inviting.It seldom is, at first, and thirty seems the end of all things to five-and-twenty. But it's not as bad as it looks, and one can get on quite happily if one has something in one's self to fall back upon. At twenty-five, girls begin to talk about being old maids, but secretly resolve that they never will be. At thirty they say nothing about it, but quietly accept the fact, and if sensible, console themselves by remembering that they have twenty more useful, happy years, in which they may be learning to grow old gracefully. Don't laugh at the spinsters, dear girls, for often very tender, tragic romances are hidden away in the hearts that beat so quietly under the sober gowns, and many silent sacrifices of youth, health, ambition, love itself, make the faded faces beautiful in God's sight. Even the sad, sour sisters should be kindly dealt with, because they have missed the sweetest part of life, if for no other reason. And looking at them with compassion, not contempt, girls in their bloom should remember that they too may miss the blossom time. That rosy cheeks don't last forever, that silver threads will come in the bonnie brown hair, and that, by-and-by, kindness and respect will be as sweet as love and admiration now.Gentlemen, which means boys, be courteous to the old maids, no matter how poor and plain and prim, for the only chivalry worth having is that which is the readiest to pay deference to the old, protect the feeble, and serve womankind, regardless of rank, age, or color. Just recollect the good aunts who have not only lectured and fussed, but nursed and petted, too often without thanks, the scrapes they have helped you out of, the tips they have given you from their small store, the stitches the patient old fingers have set for you, the steps the willing old feet have taken, and gratefully pay the dear old ladies the little attentions that women love to receive as long as they live. The bright-eyed girls are quick to see such traits, and will like you all the better for them, and if death, almost the only power that can part mother and son, should rob you of yours, you will be sure to find a tender welcome and maternal cherishing from some Aunt Priscilla, who has kept the warmest corner of her lonely old heart for `the best nevvy in the world'.Jo must have fallen asleep (as I dare say my reader has during this little homily), for suddenly Laurie's ghost seemed to stand before her, a substantial, lifelike ghost, leaning over her with the very look he used to wear when he felt a good deal and didn't like to show it. But, like Jenny in the ballad...She could not think it he,and lay staring up at him in startled silence, till he stooped and kissed her. Then she knew him, and flew up, crying joyfully . .."Oh my Teddy! Oh my Teddy!""Dear Jo, you are glad to see me, then?""Glad! My blessed boy, words can't express my gladness. Where's Amy?" "Your mother has got her down at Meg's. We stopped there by the way, and there was no getting my wife out of their clutches.""Your what?" cried Jo, for Laurie uttered those two words with an unconscious pride and satisfaction which betrayed him."Oh, the dickens! Now I've done it." And he looked so guilty that Jo was down on him like a flash."You've gone and got married!""Yes, please, but I never will again." And he went down upon his knees, with a penitent clasping of hands, and a face full of mischief, mirth, and triumph."Actually married?""Very much so, thank you.""Mercy on us. What dreadful thing will you do next?" And Jo fell into her seat with a gasp."A characteristic, but not exactly complimentary, congratulation," returned Laurie, still in an abject attitude, but beaming with satisfaction."What can you expect, when you take one's breath away, creeping in like a burglar, and letting cats out of bags like that? Get up, you ridiculous boy, and tell me all about it.""Not a word, unless you let me come in my old place, and promise not to barricade."Jo laughed at that as she had not done for many a long day, and patted the sofa invitingly, as she said in a cordial tone, "The old pillow is up garret, and we don't need it now. So, come and fess, Teddy.""How good it sounds to hear you say `Teddy'! No one ever calls me that but you." And Laurie sat down with an air of great content."What does Amy call you?""My lord.""That's like her. Well, you look it." And Jo's eye plainly betrayed that she found her boy comelier than ever.The pillow was gone, but there was a barricade, nevertheless, a natural one, raised by time absence, and change of heart. Both felt it, and for a minute looked at one another as if that invisible barrier cast a little shadow over them. It was gone directly however, for Laurie said, with a vain attempt at dignity..."Don't I look like a married man and the head of a family?" "Not a bit, and you never will. You've grown bigger and bonnier, but you are the same scapegrace as ever.""Now really, Jo, you ought to treat me with more respect," began Laurie, who enjoyed it all immensely."How can I, when the mere idea of you, married and settled, is so irresistibly funny that I can't keep sober!" answered Jo, smiling all over her face, so infectiously that they had another laugh, and then settled down for a good talk, quite in the pleasant old fashion."It's no use your going out in the cold to get Amy, for they are all coming up presently. I couldn't wait. I wanted to be the one to tell you the grand surprise, and have `first skim' as we used to say when we squabbled about the cream.""Of course you did, and spoiled your story by beginning at the wrong end. Now, start right, and tell me how it all happened. I'm pining to know.""Well, I did it to please Amy," began Laurie, with a twinkle that made Jo exclaim..."Fib number one. Amy did it to please you. Go on, and tell the truth, if you can, sir.""Now she's beginning to marm it. Isn't it jolly to hear her?" said Laurie to the fire, and the fire glowed and sparkled as if it quite agreed. "It's all the same, you know, she and I being one. We planned to come home with the Carrols, a month or more ago, but they suddenly changed their minds, and decided to pass another winter in Paris. But Grandpa wanted to come home. He went to please me, and I couldn't let him go along, neither could I leave Amy, and Mrs. Carrol had got English notions about chaperons and such nonsense, and wouldn't let Amy come with us. So I just settled the difficulty by saying, `Let's be married, and then we can do as we like'.""Of course you did. You always have things to suit you.""Not always." And something in Laurie's voice made Jo say hastily..."How did you ever get Aunt to agree?""It was hard work, but between us, we talked her over, for we had heaps of good reasons on our side. There wasn't time to write and ask leave, but you all liked it, had consented to it by-and-by, and it was only `taking time by the fetlock', as my wife says.""Aren't we proud of those two word, and don't we like to say them?" interrupted Jo, addressing the fire in her turn, and watching with delight the happy light it seemed to kindle in the eyes that had been so tragically gloomy when she saw them last. "A trifle, perhaps, she's such a captivating little woman I can't help being proud of her. Well, then Uncle and Aunt were there to play propriety. We were so absorbed in one another we were of no mortal use apart, and that charming arrangement would make everything easy all round, so we did it.""When, where, how?" asked Jo, in a fever of feminine interest and curiosity, for she could not realize it a particle."Six weeks ago, at the American consul's, in Paris, a very quiet wedding of course, for even in our happiness we didn't forget dear little Beth."Jo put her hand in his as he said that, and Laurie gently smoothed the little red pillow, which he remembered well."Why didn't you let us know afterward?" asked Jo, in a quieter tone, when they had sat quite still a minute."We wanted to surprise you. We thought we were coming directly home, at first, but the dear old gentleman, as soon as we were married, found he couldn't be ready under a month, at least, and sent us off to spend our honeymoon wherever we liked. Amy had once called Valrosa a regular honeymoon home, so we went there, and were as happy as people are but once in their lives. My faith! Wasn't it love among the roses!"Laurie seemed to forget Jo for a minute, and Jo was glad of it, for the fact that he told her these things so freely and so naturally assured her that he had quite forgiven and forgotten. She tried to draw away her hand, but as if he guessed the thought that prompted the half-involuntary impulse, Laurie held it fast, and said, with a manly gravity she had never seen in him before..."Jo, dear, I want to say one thing, and then we'll put it by forever. As I told you in my letter when I wrote that Amy had been so kind to me, I never shall stop loving you, but the love is altered, and I have learned to see that it is better as it is. Amy and you changed places in my heart, that's all. I think it was meant to be so, and would have come about naturally, if I had waited, as you tried to make me, but I never could be patient, and so I got a heartache. I was a boy then, headstrong and violent, and it took a hard lesson to show me my mistake. For it was one, Jo, as you said, and I found it out, after making a fool of myself. Upon my word, I was so tumbled up in my mind, at one time, that I didn't know which I loved best, you or Amy, and tried to love you both alike. But I couldn't, and when I saw her in Switzerland, everything seemed to clear up all at once. You both got into your right places, and I felt sure that it was well off with the old love before it was on with the new, that I could honestly share my heart between sister Jo and wife Amy, and love them dearly. Will you believe it, and go back to the happy old times when we first knew one another?""I'll believe it, with all my heart, but, Teddy, we never can be boy and girl again. The happy old times can't come back, and we mustn't expect it. We are man and woman now, with sober work to do, for playtime is over, and we must give up frolicking. I'm sure you feel this. I see the change in you, and you'll find it in me. I shall miss my boy, but I shall love the man as much, and admire him more, because he means to be what I hoped he would. We can't be little playmates any longer, but we will be brother and sister, to love and help one another all our lives, won't we, Laurie?"He did not say a word, but took the hand she offered him, and laid his face down on it for a minute, feeling that out of the grave of a boyish passion, there had risen a beautiful, strong friendship to bless them both. Presently Jo said cheerfully, for she didn't the coming home to be a sad one, "I can't make it true that you children are really married and going to set up housekeeping. Why, it seems only yesterday that I was buttoning Amy's pinafore, and pulling your hair when you teased. Mercy me, how time does fly!""As one of the children is older than yourself, you needn't talk so like a grandma. I flatter myself I'm a `gentleman growed' as Peggotty said of David, and when you see Amy, you'll find her rather a precocious infant," said Laurie, looking amused at her maternal air."You may be a little older in years, but I'm ever so much older in feeling, Teddy. Women always are, and this last year has been such a hard one that I feel forty.""Poor Jo! We left you to bear it alone, while we went pleasuring. You are older. Here's a line, and there's another. Unless you smile, your eyes look sad, and when I touched the cushion, just now, I found a tear on it. You've had a great deal to bear, and had to bear it all alone. What a selfish beast I've been!" And Laurie pulled his own hair, with a remorseful look.But Jo only turned over the traitorous pillow, and answered, in a tone which she tried to make more cheerful, "No, I had Father and Mother to help me, and the dear babies to comfort me, and the thought that you and Amy were safe and happy, to make the troubles here easier to bear. I am lonely, sometimes, but I dare say it's good for me, and...""You never shall be again," broke in Laurie, putting his arm about her, as if to fence out every human ill. "Amy and I can't get on without you, so you must come and teach `the children' to keep house, and go halves in everything, just as we used to do, and let us pet you, and all be blissfully happy and friendly together.""If I shouldn't be in the way, it would be very pleasant. I begin to feel quite young already, for somehow all my troubles seemed to fly away when you came. You always were a comfort, Teddy." And Jo leaned her head on his shoulder, just as she did years ago, when Beth lay ill and Laurie told her to hold on to him.He looked down at her, wondering if she remembered the time, but Jo was smiling to herself, as if in truth her troubles had all vanished at his coming."You are the same Jo still, dropping tears about one minute, and laughing the next. You look a little wicked now. What is it, Grandma?""I was wondering how you and Amy get on together.""Like angels!""Yes, of course, but which rules?""I don't mind telling you that she does now, at least I let her think so, it pleases her, you know. By-and-by we shall take turns, for marriage, they say, halves


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