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  Mothers' March

1920s-era drawing of little girl on crutches

By Cass Irvin

Someone from the March of Dimes called my house shortly after I moved back to Kenwood Hill. She was perky and pleasant and she told me all about the Mothers' March.

No one from my neighborhood had, as of yet, volunteered to go door-to-door to collect and she noticed from my card in the files that I had collected in my neighborhood several years back. She thought I was Mom.

She was calling to see if I'd be willing to do it again. For one second I wanted to say what I heard my mom say when she didn't want to do something: "Well, we have one of those here at home and I can't really leave her here all alone."

As I listened to the caller tell me how they wanted me to collect donations or leave information at each door, a little angel and a little devil fussed at each other in my brain:

Angel: You can't say anything to her! She can't see you. She doesn't know!

Devil: But how will she learn if someone doesn't tell her?

Angel: You're saying it's for her own good, right? You always say something like that when you want to justify meanness. It will embarrass her. It's not polite. You have to be understanding and sympathetic toward people who aren't aware, who haven't had experience.

Devil: You're too generous with people. I'm tired of being the one who has to be generous, understanding and polite.

The caller paused. She was waiting for my answer.

"Well," I said, "I think you have me confused with my mother. I would be interested in helping out but I use a motorized wheelchair . . . . and since the houses in my neighborhood aren't accessible, I don't think I could do it. But, thanks for asking."

Posted April 5, 2004

Cass Irvin is the author of Home Bound, a memoir (Temple University Press, 2004). "Mothers' March" originally appeared in a slightly different version in the March/April, 1986 issue of The Disability Rag.

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