Women of Class by Sara Fortune Robison

1 Oct

I just posted on Indiegogo for “Women of Class” the book. I’m raising funds to publish the stories of 30 women who battled breast cancer with hope, humor and courage. My video and excerpts are posted on this site:



Ah, life! Concentrate on the joys!

8 Sep

This title was my submission when AARP had a contest for six words to describe your life at this stage. I’m trying to concentrate on the joys right now.      

As a twenty year breast cancer survivor, I had a shock this week. I thought I was developing swollen glands from my allergies. I felt my glands and found a lump. I saw the nurse practioner and she was concerned because the lump was so hard. She scheduled a CT for me. Today I saw the ENT doctor, and he did a needle biopsy.  I should have the results by the middle of next week.

Come on joys!!!! 

The results were just an infection! How lucky can one woman be?

Just Another Senior Lapse…

23 Jun

I was working with the phone company to replace a defective router that was new.  I received a Kindle for Mother’s Day and had to be able to download books on it.  

Where I ran into trouble was when the technian asked who my favorite actor was.  My brain turned to mush and I had no idea who I had given them or even when I had given it.  Finally, she took pity on me and said the first name with a “C”  Still nothing.  Eventually, she even went so far as to tell me the last name started with a “G.”  All I could think of was Clark Gable but I told her I knew it wasn’t him.  Later, I asked my husband what actor had the initials C.G. and he immediately replied, “Cary Grant.”  Of course!  Sometimes, between us we have a whole brain.

I’m reminded of a movie (I can’t think of the title) where an older man (70s) drives a tractor to visit his brother.  A young man asks him, “What is the worst part of getting old?”  And he replies, “Remembering being young.”

Kudos for Cush

22 Jun

Mary Lee Cushman’s mother threw away her report cards because she thought her daughter wasn’t trying. Unhappy and feeling inadequate, Cush remembers skipping school a lot. Because of her school test scores, colleges wouldn’t accept her. Attending a remedial program for adults at the University of Minnesota, she recalled taking a bus to the University. She then walked to catch another bus, so her colleagues wouldn’t know she was attending the “dumb, dumb, school.” There she learned to read, including speed-reading, and how to study. A Master’s Degree in Education Administration is a direct result of those efforts.
When asked who influenced her to try college, she replied, “No one, it was shear fear. Fear of what would happen to me if I didn’t get some help.”
Being learning disabled herself, she has a special ability to relate to others with the same problems. I observed her learning disabilities classroom at Renner Elementary, Parkville School District, Kansas City (North), Missouri. Cush had twenty students throughout the day—nineteen boys and one girl. Several students read animal reports aloud. They not only read them, they made eye contact. These same children went to younger classrooms and give these reports—what a boost to the self-esteem of gifted children with learning disabilities!
My reaction to the class was, “Future speakers of America…”
What a boost it would be for any child’s self-esteem to be able to give a report like that in front of a classroom. Most adults’ biggest fear is to speak in front of a group of people. Schools should consider giving all students a head start with this type of program. (For instance, second graders reading to first graders, etc.) As it is now, only the most self-confident high school students take debate.
Students start in her class barely able to read. By the time they finish the school year, they can read at their grade level. To begin to learn to read smoothly, the children pat their hands three times whenever they see a comma or a period.
Cush has a special rapport with her students. For example the children learn to spell the words could, should and would, by making the starting sound and adding, “Oh, yoU LD kid.”
Even while student teaching, she zeroed in on helping those children who were having trouble. She knew what it was like to struggle. Recalling her first three years of teaching, she now feels sorry for those children. “They were my guinea pigs.” She began using parents and grandparents as helpers and continues to do so. Together they discovered what worked for students.
A student’s mother, Roxie Homuth, remarked, “The students at Renner all consider the kids in Cush’s class lucky. The atmosphere at that school is different. Of course, it helps that Cush gives her students candy. But whatever it takes, it works.”
Remember, these children had few, if any, rewards in the regular classroom setting. Cush believes they need the instant gratification of popcorn or candy.
When Cush tutored my grandson, who wasn’t a big candy lover, he took great pride in sharing his goodies from the tutoring sessions with siblings, parents and grandparents.
Renner’s principal, George Curry, recalled his first impression of her, “Odd, unorthodox, a little out of the ordinary as an education.” He views her as uniquely different from other learning disability teachers he has observed. He sees children in her class participating eagerly—wanting to learn. “Sometimes parents feel that Cush is being too hard on their child. It’s also apparent that the children love her and most importantly, are learning. Cush asks a lot of her students and they respond positively.”
Cush, an outstanding educator, recalled helping a prior student with posters for his campaign for student council president. The student won. After his acceptance speech, the student body gave him a standing ovation. She relayed this information in a burst of pride. “The rest of my life may be a mess,” Cush, who has never married, said, “but I am good at teaching.”
She, now retired, tutors children from her home. Mary Lee Cushman has made and continues to make a dramatic and influential difference in the lives of all the children she reaches.
This article appeared in a small local paper in our area.

Out of the mouths of babes…

27 Mar

I took a neighbor, who uses a colorful cane, to the doctor.  As we

waited in the lobby,  a four or five-year old spied her cane and remarked, “Wow, what a great pogo stick.”

Senior Lapse

25 Mar

We stopped at our local cell phone company because we needed extra minutes. The tech asked for our pin number or our first pet’s name.

We could not remember our pin number and tried some pet names.  Finally, I asked my husband, “What was the name of the dog your dad shot?”

“I don’t remember–that was 70 years ago.”

Amid smirking customers, the tech took pity on us.

“I’ll give you a hint, it starts with J.”

“Jack,” was my answer.

My husband said, “That dog is still alive.”  

After all of this the tech replied, “I can’t help you with that, you have to buy those minutes on your phone.”

Citrus Shots

25 Mar

At my sisters request I emailed her a citrus shot recipe.  Her two grown daughters were impressed with them and wanted her to make them for their three year-old niece’s birthday party.  I emailed her the non-alcoholic version with the message:  “This is a hell of a lot of work and it cost about $35.” 

 “Wow, I am impressed,” she replied.  “That is a hell of a lot of work and way too much trouble for a birthday party.  The only way I’m making these is if they are full of vodka and I eat them after the party.  LOL, but I will try them later with a small group of people.  The only way the recipe could have been harder was if I had to plant the trees and wait for the lemons to grow.  Cake and ice cream sounds wonderful.”

 “These will last forever if you only have a small group of people to serve them to.  Just tell that oldest daughter of yours we’ll make them for her wedding reception.  Talk about incentive!”