biography of a woman who has overcome multiple handicaps
and gone on to live a full and productive life.
"I have few memories of my first foster
home, and none of them pleasant. 'Do you want me to tell Her what a
baby you are?' I remember "The Mrs.' threatening. I never thought
of her as my mom for all the six years I lived in her home, nor do I
recall any love or affection being wasted on me, much as I craved them.
The words echoed in my mind: 'Baby, baby, baby!' I must admit I
sometimes felt like one, because I had to wear diapers and drag myself
around on the floor. I spent my evenings in the dining room, stashed in
a playpen that was also my bed, and most of my memories of that home
were of being placed there after supper each night with a blanket
draped over the top and down the sides. I was nine years old."
So begins A Catt in Our House, the inspiring
biography of Cathleen Piotrowski. She has just celebrated her 40th
birthday, an easily
attained milestone for most people, but almost a miracle for one with
her physical handicaps and background. She was born to the very young
wife of a career member of the United States Air Force. The couple must
have been devastated to discover that this second daughter was
afflicted with three major disabilities: spina bifida, a spinal cord
defect that occurs early in the development of a fetus within its
mother's womb ; lumbar and sacral agenesis, related conditions where
the lower spinal column and sacrum do not develop ; and popliteal
pterygium syndrome, a condition sometimes referred to as "webbed knee".
author: Helen Birkemeier lives with her husband of 54 years on
their farm near Spring Green, Wisconsin. They took on the role of
foster parents as their own children matured, and she found herself
acting as teacher, nurse, occasional counselor, and lifelong friend. In
her other life, she has served as a music therapist and organist, and
is a wildflower propagator and vendor. She writes a weekly nature
column in the local newspaper and on the internet, and has published
two collections of these articles as Timbergreen
Trails I & II.
Catt in Our House is a 6 X 9" paperback book.
The price is $12.95, which includes
shipping and handling.