About eight years into our marriage, my husband and I bought a blender. It had a glass top with a handle and a cover that fit firmly into the sturdy bottom. We did not buy this blender for anything frivolous like milk shakes or strawberry daiquiris. We bought it because our fifth child was born without the reflex to chew his food.
After a year of feeding him baby food, he needed more nourishment, so we had to soften up real food, like potatoes, carrots and peas. We did this for about a year and then one day, after a doctor's visit and his suggestion that we put our child in a home, we did not use the blender for quite a while.
The doctor's request came as quite a shock because little Jimmy was growing at a rapid pace. But he was unable to walk, talk or progress as our other children did. As a mother, my heart was broken. I am a person who feels I can make things and people better. However, my frustration grew when a man from the state came to visit and said, "You can stand on your head in a corner for a week and that will still not make your son better."
So, reluctantly, we hunted for a "home" for our son. We visited St. Rita's Home on Millersport Highway. That place was filled to capacity, as was Our Lady of Victory Home for Children. J.N. Adam Home in Perrysburg was mentioned, however, that was too far away, so we settled on the West Seneca State School.
On the fateful day when we took our little boy away, I sent my three oldest children to school and our youngest daughter to my mother's house. I dressed Jimmy in his little hat, pants and jacket and, when my husband came home from work, we drove Jimmy to his new home on East and West Road. There was a mix-up in the paperwork, and we wanted to run out the door and bring Jimmy home. But everything was straightened out and an aide came to take Jimmy out of my arms.
I did not want this to happen, and the anguish I felt in my heart has never gone away since that day, but I knew deep down that this was best for our little boy. He was very sick and pneumonia had put him in the hospital many times. Upon leaving, my arms felt empty, but we were convinced that he would receive good care because there was a hospital connected to the infant's wing at the home.
We were told we couldn't visit for two weeks, but after one week we went to see Jimmy, and we visited every week after that with our children. They missed Jimmy terribly at home and brought him little gifts each time we visited. I tried to explain to them why he couldn't live at home, but I don't think I ever did a very good job of it.
Jimmy did not get better. He grew into a big boy and required total care. He passed away of pneumonia when he was 6 years old. My other children all went on to live fruitful and successful lives.
We kept the blender for many years, making an occasional milkshake. One year, my grown children asked me to go to Gettysburg with them. As I was leaving my house with my suitcase, they called out from the car, "Mom, bring your blender. We can make strawberry daiquiris."
As I ran out the door, blender in hand, the glass top with the cover and handle that once fit so snugly into the sturdy bottom flew off into the driveway and shattered into a million pieces, just like my dreams for my little Jimmy.
Marge Hastreiter, who lives in Buffalo, remembers her son Jimmy with much love.