In early grade school I went to a Catholic School. The school bus picked some of us students but also others to a nearby school. I was in first grade and the bus picked up another first grader then went to the other school.
She had to have help getting on and off her parent and driver would help her on. She walked with two crutches. One in each hand. She had Muscular Dystrophy. I did not know this in first grade.
Second grade about first week of school the Tuesday after Labor Day. She came on the bus and sat in same row as I. I complained about nothing on channel 5 except for a boring show with Jerry Lewis. Early 70s we had about six channels. Sometimes five on bad weather days due to antenna.
She said I was being awful and she wanted to keep watching it but her parents put her to bed and how she loved being one of Jerry’s Kids.
She then followed up she had MD and thus Jerry’s Kid.
She sounded so sad. I wish I reached out just by taking her hand we were not strangers. My oldster self is screaming at my youngster self in regret.
I know Lewis was a horrible person and total misogynist. I was always suspect of his Telethons.
Yet he gave hope to this one child. I wonder how many he gave hope to. I know he brought attention to MD and they got money.
I have not thought of her in years. Second grade was the last year we were both on the same bus. I saw her on and off through high school at stores, once at a school dance was last time we talked. She went with some female friends from the Girl’s Catholic School which exists no more. It merged with the boys school.
She still used two canes.
I remember her first name never knew last. I assume she died even back in the 80s longevity was at most 30. Part of me wishes she is reading this but its not realistic.
My oldster self wants to kick his high school self for not asking her phone number then.
This is how I want to recall Jerry Lewis. I never cared for his comedy either. My mother got his old tv series with Dean Martin on DVD about five years ago.. I always felt like he was mocking special needs. Dean Martin was the talent. Great straight man and what a singing voice.
He gave a young girl hope and sense of belonging.