I have a few more observations about the last couple of days, and what family means and does.

In my baby Bible class every week, I talk about families, and I always say, “God gave us families so we could take care of each other.”

The last couple of days, at various intervals one or more of us, including me a couple of times, would break down in helpless sobs. Immediately, whoever was closest would reach out and embrace and lay comforting hands on them, and others would come running to add their loving hands and arms. There was never… ever… a shortage of love and comfort.

Another thing that happened, with almost every member of the Daw family I talked to…  they asked me, in detail, about my Mary Bell.  “Tell me about Mary,” I heard a dozen times.  In the midst of their deep grief – not only for Randy, but also for their father Cooper, who they lost mere weeks ago – their hearts were big enough to hold my Mary in them. And they weren’t asking superficially. They really wanted to hear about her.

I have also experienced – not just now, but with anything I or my family have gone through – my church family surrounding us with their loving hands, arms, and words.  When we got back from Mayo, we couldn’t take two steps in the church building without someone asking us about our trip.  Two special sisters asked David what kind of snacks Mary and I like so they can make a care package for our next trip. When I had major surgery three years ago, I was stunned by the outpouring of love I received. They’ve been praying for Randy, too, and covered me with love and prayers and hugs when he died. Truly these people are Jesus’s hands and instruments of love.

So, this is family.  God gave us families so we could take care of each other.  Family often transcends the mere physical bond of blood relation.  It certainly has done so for me. We are not alone.  Thank God.


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Update on Mayo (the clinic, not the condiment…)

Here is an update on our continuing saga:

We are scheduled to return to the Mayo Clinic in April for a 3 1/2 week clinic on chronic fatigue.  It will involve physical therapy, occupational therapy, education, and counseling. It is outpatient, Monday through Friday, 8:00-5:00, for 17 days.

I have talked to the insurance company, and this clinic is covered (yay!).  We will still have some co-pay, but nothing we can’t handle.

I have also spoken with the owner of the company David and I work for, and he agreed that I can work remotely while we’re gone – he is and has been incredibly supportive. I should be able to do 99% of my work this way, which goes a long way towards making the trip feasible. I’m grateful that everyone in the company has my back on this. 

We (Mary and I) will be gone for a month, from mid-April to mid-May.  We are planning to drive my van rather than flying.  It would be very difficult to fly with everything we will need to have with us, and this way we will have a vehicle at our disposal. We can also bring the dog this way, which is a benefit to Mary, the dog, and me. It’s a two-day trip each direction, but we believe it is the best plan. I’m hoping to find an affordable small house to rent rather than a hotel, so that we will have some room to spread out. A month is a long time to be stuck in a hotel room.

Everything we’ve heard about this clinic has been positive. It will be a lot of hard work for Mary, but she is ready and rarin’ to go. She has been working hard to put some of the tools we learned about on our first trip into action. I’m so proud of her because it is not an easy or quick process. I believe I am already seeing some positive results. But this is a long-haul plan.

A big thanks to all of you.  We appreciate your support and prayers.  Our family is so blessed to have you all as our friends and family.  Please continue to keep us all in your prayers, but especially Mary.  She’s the one who will have to do the hard work.  Come April, we are OFF TO MAYO!

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Mayo Clinic Report

I want to put everything together for those of you who have been looking for an update on our trip to the Mayo Clinic.  If you don’t want to read the whole thing, that’s okay… here is a brief summary first:

While I believe that Mary did have POTS, it looks like the actual condition is gone; but she does still have orthostatic intolerance (I’d call it POTS Lite).  Her current main problems are still chronic nausea and chronic fatigue.  The good news is, we have a plan, and it looks like we can get Mary to a point where she can function more normally.  The doctors and other folks at Mayo Clinic are incredibly thorough, efficient, organized, and kind. Thanks to all of you, so much, for your support, prayers, cards, and kind words.

Here is a more detailed account for those of you who want to wade through it:

POTS stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, and encompasses a lot of different symptoms, the eponymous one being tachycardia upon standing.  Mary was diagnosed with POTS in 2014.  The testing done at Mayo Clinic involved a tilt table test, blood work, overnight oxygen monitoring, overnight heart monitoring, overnight blood pressure monitoring, and 24-hour fluid output collection (that was fun, all at once). It was quite miserable for those 24 hours, but we tried to remember this is why we made the trip.

Anyway, the results of the testing showed that Mary’s tachycardia upon standing did not rise to the level of POTS.  We were told at the very beginning of this ordeal in 2014 that POTS would eventually go away.  It looks like that has officially happened.  So… why isn’t she better?

The answer is, essentially, because her brain got used to being sick.  It’s a problem with the Central Nervous System called Central Sensitization.  It means that her brain got stuck in constant fight-or-flight mode, causing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

We saw four different doctors (it was so cool how everyone had all the information so that most of the time we didn’t have to repeat ourselves over and over; also, they ALL knew about POTS!!).  They were all in agreement that this Central Sensitization was the main factor in Mary’s current illness, both the fatigue and the nausea.

We attended a two-day class to begin to address how to deal with this problem.  It involves retraining her brain so that it does not constantly have her in fight-or-flight mode.  We also had a GI consult to specifically address the nausea, too.

So, right this minute, Mary has some tools to start getting better, which is huge.

Additionally, the Mayo Clinic offers a 3-week course/seminar/treatment program to teach these skills in a somewhat aggressive format (outpatient, but daily Mon-Fri, 8-5 for 3 weeks).  We have talked to several people who have gone through the program, and have heard nothing but positive feedback.  Mary really wants to do this program, and feels ready to do whatever it takes to get better.  We need to see if and how much insurance covers, because it is pricey.  But if we go ahead and sign up, the Mayo Clinic personnel can work on getting the insurance approved; they are experts at this, so we have hope.  It would also involve being away from home and work for almost a month, along with the cost of travel and accommodations.  We have some ideas about all of this, and if insurance is approved, we will most likely do it.  We will have to consider the timing, too.

There is much to discuss, and once we get home, David, Mary and I will have to sit down and talk about what all will be involved and how to deal with it all.

I want to acknowledge some people who have been so supportive of us while we have been gone:

First and foremost, David.  He kept the home fires burning and took care of our grieving puppy dog, who has nothing to live for because she is convinced Mary is never coming back!  David has been incredibly patient and kind with her.  He also took care of the kitty cat, who is a little easier to deal with, but it is still a chore, feeding her and cleaning the litter box, etc. He is a hero.

Next, the people I work with and for:  Wade, our owner; and Brandy, Sonia, and Selina, who backed me up while I was gone for nearly 2 weeks.  They have been incredibly supportive and accommodating, and not everyone, not every company, would be.

Friends and family, who have kept up with this whole saga, for 5 years now, and have loved us and prayed for us all the way through.  Please keep those prayers coming!

Finally, our beautiful church family.  Your love, prayers, attention, cards, and just general awesomeness… I don’t know what we would do without you. We have constantly felt your love and your prayers throughout this whole ordeal.  And, of course, we thank God for loving us and leading us and blessing us with his matchless grace and peace.

Edited to add: Ack! I forgot to acknowledge my awesome neighbor Rachael, who has helped take care of the pup on workdays when David is out of the house! You are the rockingest of rockers!

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My Girls

As we make preparations for Leah’s graduation next week and her move to College Station in a few months, I find myself staring at both my girls a lot, especially when they are not looking.  (This will creep them out a little!)

It is far from unique for a mother to be proud of her children.  But I feel like mine are EXTRA amazing.  So, I want to say some things about both of them.

I’ve talked many times about how self-sufficient Leah is.  That is my all-the-time gift from her.  It amazes me how this 18-year-old kid keeps track of everything she needs to do and everywhere she needs to go, and does it all really, really well.  She graduates next week as one of the valedictorians of her class.  She has worked her tail off, especially this last year.

Leah is strong in body, mind, and spirit.  She is incredibly articulate, and I love to listen to her talk. The way she expresses things is often hilarious.

As strong as she is, she is also very tender-hearted and affectionate.  She has a mutual love affair with all animals.  She loves to come snuggle up to me as close as she can get.  We are both trying to get as many hugs in as possible before she moves out and away.

Leah is also absolutely moral.  I have no worries about her being away from home, in terms of how she will live her life.  She will continue to work hard and love deeply, and remain strong in her faith, always trying to live a Christ-like life.

Mary. Mary is my thoughtful girl.  She notices things and thinks of things and ways to bless others.  She will see something and think, “Hey, so-and-so would like that,” and will get it for them.  She remembers birthdays and anniversaries and Mothers Days and Fathers Days.  She goes out of her way to do something nice for someone, even if that someone is mostly on the periphery of her life.  She notices when someone is sad, and is quick with a comforting hug.  She anticipates what might be needed in a given situation.

She takes care of people.  She can’t stand for anyone or anything to be hurt or sad.

Her faith is deep and absolute. She has endured much hardship in her life, and remained absolutely faithful.

Mary is quieter than Leah.  Leah can walk into a room and be running it efficiently by the end of the hour.  Mary will walk into the room and know everyone’s mood within seconds, and be thinking of how to help.

They both have such beautiful hearts, each of them strong in her own way.

“It goes by so fast” … it’s a cliche for a reason. I can’t stop time, so I’ve spent some of that time lately, just looking at them, memorizing the moments – their faces, their mannerisms, their words, their hearts. And it just smacks me in the face sometimes, how incredibly proud I am of them, and how blessed I am to have these beautiful, strong young women as my daughters.

I would love them whatever they were like. But to be able to be proud of them, that is one of my life’s greatest gifts.


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I think I can safely opine that it has been a really crappy year.  The company David and I worked for – 30 years for David, 13 years for me – closed down after over 40 years in business.  A co-worker who had become a close friend was lost to me.  Our beloved owner passed away.  David has had two surgeries, one on his shoulder, and one on his neck.  The most recent surgery was on the same day that my mother passed away.  I also had a kid with strep on the same day.  We buried my mom yesterday.  David is still struggling with pain.

But there have been blessings.

David and I were able to get new jobs, still working together, in a new company.  We did not have to move… we are able to stay in this house that we love.  Insurance paid for 100% of David’s surgeries.

As my mom fell very ill and it looked like this time she would not recover, almost everyone who needed to was able to come to her side to say goodbye.  The one who was unable to be here was able to talk to her by phone as I held it to her ear.  She was not able to talk much, but she reacted and responded to each of us, nodding and smiling.  You could tell her she looked pretty and she would put on this cute, “I know it” look.  She was so tired.  But you could see in her eyes, she was very present, almost to the very end.  These were amazing blessings.

We had tons of good help in the days between Mom’s death and the funeral yesterday.  Friends who worked behind the scenes to make things easier for us.  The funeral home and cemetery personnel who were so kind, and did an amazingly good job – during a holiday week, by the way.  (I highly recommend Oak Crest Funeral Home in Waco.)

Those who came yesterday, as we remembered Mom and her life, were incredible blessings.  There were people I have not seen in 40 years. Almost all of the people dearest to me in my whole life were there, quietly loving me and mine. I hold that close in my heart for much-needed comfort.

The Waco newspaper, the Waco Tribune-Herald, for whom Mom wrote for many years, included a lovely article about her on yesterday’s editorial page.  It was a fitting tribute for a woman who loved writing and loved words.

The days to come will be hard.  Mom was my number one cheerleader.  Even as I write this, I half-way expect her to read it and email me with her comments (always favorable).

I’m grateful for all of the little serendipities over this past year – there were a lot of them.  I grieve, but not as one without hope.  You have showered us with love and prayers.  We still need them going forward.  Thank you, for all of it.

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Psalm 84

I want to tell you a story.

It happened about twenty years ago.  After two years of taking my temperature every day, I thought I might actually be pregnant.  Didn’t know for sure, but my temperature went up, and so did my hopes.

It turned out I was not.  I don’t think I even realized how high my hopes had gotten, but I was devastated.  I cried for hours.  I went to the doctor to see if maybe I had been pregnant, but miscarried – that wouldn’t have been better, but I could have at least said I had been pregnant.  Either way, I was not.

In my sorrow, I turned to the Psalms.  I flipped through my Bible and settled on Psalm 84:

(1) How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!
(2) My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
(3) Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young – a place near your altar,
O Lord almighty, my King and my God.
(4) Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you   Selah
(5) Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
(6) As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of spring;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
(7) They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion.
(8) Hear my prayer, O Lord God Almighty;
Listen to me, O God of Jacob.       Selah
(9) Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
(10) Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
(11) For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
(12) O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.

I found much comfort here.

My soul yearned for the presence of God.
If even sparrows have a place for their young… God knew of my desire for young of my own, in a place near his altar.
I was (am) blessed to dwell in His house, blessed to have my strength in Him – going from strength to strength till I appear before Him in Zion.
I was (am) so much better off in his courts, even as the lowliest servant in His house, than in the tents of the wicked.
He bestows favor and honor.
He doesn’t withhold any good thing from those whose walk is blameless – my walk is not blameless on my own effort, but in Christ, I am counted as blameless.
Trust – faith – in Him was (is) the key.

As I contemplated these words and thoughts, I considered how God might bless me with children, even if they were not of my own body.  At the time, I was teaching Bible class to the 0 – 12 month babies at our church. I considered this my ministry, even a mission.  And though they were not of my own body, those babies were mine. In my heart, I resolved to count this as God’s answer to my sadness that day.  It helped.

I threw out the thermometer.

Two months later I was pregnant.

Now I have two incredible, beautiful-inside-and-out daughters, from my own body and that of my wonderful husband. I have placed them before His altar, for His care (though sometimes, I snatch them back when my faith is weak…).

This is my story.  Yours may be different.  There are many who deeply desire children who are unable to conceive.  My heart breaks for you.  I do not presume to have all the wise words to make you feel better.  I only hope you can find comfort in God’s presence and in God’s word.

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Fathers Day 2016

First of all, Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there, especially my dad, my husband, and my father-in-law, all the Enoch dads, all the Mercer dads, and all the Daw dads!  (It would be impossible to list them all!)

I want to talk about something my father taught me from a very young age.  He had a list of problem-solving steps that I use to this day.  He used them when he was fixing the cars or the refrigerator or washing machine or whatever.  I use them for computer problems – hardware or software – or any other “fixing” necessity.  Here they are for your benefit.

Rule No. 1: There’s nothing wrong.

This rule has you examine your perspective and assumptions.  Whatever it is, it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to… you’re just looking at it wrong.

Rule No. 2: It’s the very simplest thing possible.

It’s not plugged in.  It’s not turned on.  Move your mouse, or replace the battery in your mouse.  The light bulb is burned out. It’s out of gas. Blow the dust off of it. You didn’t push it all the way in.

Rule No. 3: Try it backwards.

Turn it around.  Screw it the other direction.  Flip it over.  Then go back to Rules 1 and 2.

Rule No. 4: What was the last thing you did?

Undo it.  Then go back to Rules 1 through 3.

I think there is a Rule No. 5, but honestly, I don’t remember it.  I’ve never needed it.  I have found, in my 51 years, that most problems are figured out and fixed by the time you get to No. 3, and usually by the time you get to No. 2.

I sent a card to my dad this Fathers Day that said, “I remember what you taught me… [inside]… the crissy-crossy screwdriver goes with the crissy-crossy screws.”  I admit to being a very girly girl, but I DO know how to use a Phillips screwdriver.  I also know how to add brake fluid to the master cylinder in a 1972 Dodge Dart.  I can use the term “master cylinder” and sound really car-savvy.  I know how to check the air pressure in tires and fill them up with a compressor.  And, one other extremely useful skill:  watching and anticipating what someone needs when I am helping them; thinking ahead and being ready with the next tool.

All of these things I learned from my dad, and they have served me very well.  Thanks, Daddy, and Happy Fathers Day! I love you!

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It’s the eve of the eve of the most important surgery I’ve ever had.  It’s a surgery that will bring my risk of breast cancer from approximately 84% down to approximately 8%.

It started about a month ago.  Upon performing my monthly breast self-exam, I noticed a spot that had not been there before.  Checking my calendar, I saw that my next appointment with my breast specialist was in April.  I wavered back and forth about calling and going in earlier… what a nervous nellie I was becoming!  But finally I decided to go ahead and make an appointment.

To be completely thorough, my doctor and the radiologist said they were going to do a complete exam of both breasts, mammogram and sonogram.  Call it irony, call it providence (I choose providence), the spot I was worried about was nothing… but they found something else.  Something that had accumulated since my last mammogram 4 months ago.

The next step was a biopsy.  Let no one tell you biopsies are no big deal.  Yeah, they “deaden” it, but it still hurts, including the deadening shot.  I managed to keep from bawling until they were done, but then it was over-the-waterfall.

Here’s the good news (perhaps I should have led with this): I do NOT have cancer.  The cells they took in the biopsy were classified as “atypia.”  In the chart the doctor drew out for me, atypia is one precarious step away from cancer, but NOT yet cancer.

As I’ve said in other venues, I’ve been waiting for the “cancer shoe” to drop for over 20 years.  My family history of breast cancer is ridiculous – my sister died at age 36.  My mother, grandmother, and aunt all had breast cancer as well.  I’ve always known this day was probably coming.  Because of that, I have been obsessively vigilant about monitoring my breasts.  I started getting yearly mammograms at age 28.  About 15 years ago, I started seeing a breast specialist – it’s all he does.  About 6 or 7 years ago, becoming more and more nervous about my breast health, I started going every 6 months, with a full mammogram and sonogram each time.  I perform self-checks every month.

So I’ve always known that if and when breast cancer once again raises its ugly head in my family (me), I would be right on top of it.

….And here we are.  One step away from the cancer.  It took me and my husband approximately 15 seconds to decide the best plan of action.  It’s a no-brainer.  Everything has to go.  I will be getting a complete bilateral mastectomy, with reconstruction happening during the same surgery.

I am completely at peace with this decision.  It means I will not ever have to worry about chemo or radiation.  It means I will be here to continue raising my girls.  It means I will live to see my grandchildren.  It means I will grow old with my husband. It means my parents and brothers won’t have to bury another daughter or sister.  It’s GOOD NEWS.  We’ve caught it before it can begin.

Okay, now I have to confess… I’m terrified.  This is big, major surgery, with a difficult recovery period.  I won’t go into some stuff I have to do before the surgery, but I promise it would make you cringe, especially the women.

So, during church this morning, I couldn’t keep from worrying and stressing and obsessing and feeling REALLY sorry for myself.

Then, during the announcements at the end of the service, they told of a 4-year-old boy – the son of a friend of a church member’s – who had been diagnosed with leukemia.  And they told of a member who is having difficulties with walking who could not be there today.  Then, when service was over, I stood up and noticed a young woman who was recently widowed by a long-fought cancer – she still looks shell-shocked.

It’s all about perspective, people.  I would take my lot over theirs any day.  Yeah, it’s gonna be hard.  Boohoo.  I’m going to LIVE.

I can’t promise I won’t still have times of being afraid and feeling sorry for myself.  But overall, I’m so incredibly thankful.  I will come out of this strong and healthy and present.

Thanks to all of you who have been so kind and encouraging, and for your prayers.  Please keep them coming.

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More Things I’m Thankful For

I did a list like this several years ago, and decided it was time to do a new one.  I’m still thankful for the stuff on the old list. But here are some more things.

  1. My house.  It is exactly what David and I were both looking for.  I mean EXACTLY. Everything he wanted, everything I wanted.  Everything.  Took us 3 years to find it.  It makes me happy.
  2. Hot water.  There is nothing like a hot shower.  Nothing.
  3. Family.  This was on my last list, but it bears repeating.  I have the most amazing family, from my kids and husband to my parents and siblings, to my wonderful in-laws, and extended family.  As a subset, I want to mention the Daws. I recently told a friend, I don’t know where the Mercers end and the Daws begin. They are, seamlessly, my family.
  4. This nice little heater that is currently keeping me warm while I’m writing this.
  5. Enough money to pay our bills.
  6. Books.  Again, this was on my last list, and again, it bears repeating.  It’s that important.
  7. That my baby girl Mary is getting better.  She still has a long way to go, but she can do more now than she could a year ago.  I’m thankful that we finally figured out what was wrong with her (thanks to the diligence of one Dr. Janke), and that it isn’t cancer or anything similarly scary. And for the validation that it is NOT psychological! (Take THAT, everyone who said, cautiously, as to a mad woman, “Have you tried… counseling?”)
  8. Friends I’ve been able to stay in touch with through the magic of Facebook.
  9. The turkey I got in the oven this morning with a minimum of fuss, and the husband who helped me get it in there.
  10. The way my family pitched in to get the house cleaned up for the 13 people we will be feeding later today!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  Love you all!



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Go Set a Watchman


Another quick warning: This post is very stream-of-consciousness.  Don’t look for a thesis, three points, and a conclusion.

Go Set a Watchman is Harper Lee’s… well, is it a sequel or a prequel? The setting is after To Kill a Mockingbird, but it was written first. It’s important to remember that this was Harper Lee’s first attempt at a novel, and she was advised to write a different one, about the childhood of Scout, instead.  This was wise counsel, as TKAM is a much better book.  GSAW is pretty clearly a first attempt.  Better than anything I could write, for sure, but not as good as TKAM.

First, some random thoughts:

  • Was Hank mentioned in TKAM?  I don’t remember him, yet GSAW paints him as a significant part of Jem’s life.
  • Jean Louise refers to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, but we are never told what her profession is.  She has lived in New York for years, but we don’t know what she does.  Writer, maybe? Are we not told for a reason?
  • Aunt Alexandra is staunchly Proper, with a capital “P,” but she is not a completely unsympathetic character.  She has an innocence that comes from never having really faced any real controversy. I think she truly loves/loved Atticus, Jack, Jem, and Scout.
  • The scenes with Jack are full of obscure references that I had trouble following.  Maybe that was the point.  But I was fed up with the conversations with him long before Scout eventually was.
  • Boo Radley was not mentioned.  I’m curious about this because he was mentioned in the preview notes of the book.  Was this a deleted scene or something?

I believe the point of the story was to push Atticus off of the pedestal Scout had him on.  And her Uncle Jack, too.  And perhaps Calpurnia.  I will freely admit that the picture painted of Atticus in this book had me crying – no, sobbing – with the same disappointment and sense of betrayal that Jean Louise felt.  (I’m really curious as to what Gregory Peck would have thought of this book.)

The TKAM fan in me was totally geeking out at the flashback scenes, with Jem and Dill and Calpurnia.  They served as a bridge between Scout’s childhood and adulthood.  There were some differences in the stories – for instance, she describes Tom Robinson’s trial differently, that Atticus actually obtained an acquittal for him, and that he was missing an arm, rather than it just being ruined.

Was Atticus really a racist?  I think toward the end of the book it is shown that he more considers himself a realist.  But I had the same problems with the whole scenario that Scout had, and I felt personally betrayed by Atticus.  She more or less forgives him at the end… I’m not sure I do.  Uncle Jack strikes her, twice, and I have a problem with that, too.  I think in the end, Atticus is neither as saintly as he is painted in TKAM, nor as horrible as Scout sees him in GSAW.

How much of this is Harper Lee’s autobiography?  I know that the character of Dill was based on Harper Lee’s friend Truman Capote.  Was this a more realistic portrait of Atticus, seen through her adult eyes?

The ruin of the relationship between Scout and Calpurnia is also a source of grief, for Scout and for me.  In their scenes, I was reminded a little bit of the book The Help.  Calpurnia raised Scout, as surely as Constantine raised Skeeter.  But in the end, Calpurnia was black and Scout was white, and there was no reconciling that, at least in Calpurnia’s mind.

Jem’s death also hit me hard, right off the bat.

These characters are so real to me that I’ve kind of been wandering the house, trying to figure them out.  I think I must remember that TKAM was written from a child’s point of view, and GSAW from a young adult’s. Perhaps neither is completely realistic.

I think I will keep TKAM as my favorite book of all time.  GSAW brings up some interesting controversies to consider, but I’d rather keep Atticus on the pedestal. He raised Scout to be color blind. That’s the way it should be.

I’m interested in other folks’ opinions, so feel free to comment, but let’s keep it civil, please.

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