When she was 18 and eight months pregnant, Claire Wilson was critically wounded during the 1966 University of Texas Tower shooting. This is Wilson’s story, which goes into how her life was affected in the tragedy’s aftermath.
An exploration of the way other cultures treat depression:
And I said, “Oh! What an interesting idea. Well, um, yes, sure. Yeah, absolutely, yes, let’s do that. I’ll have an ndeup.”
“Oh, well, that’s great,” she said. And she gave us some fairly basic instructions, and then we left.
And my translator, the aforementioned then-girlfriend, now ex-wife of my friend, turned to me, and she said, “Are you completely crazy? Do you have any idea what you’re getting yourself into? You’re crazy. You’re totally crazy, but I’ll help you if you want.”
On raising children with extraordinary talents:
“When Kit was 3, a supervisor of his play group told May that he let other children push him around. ‘I went in one day and saw another child snatch a toy away from him,’ May said. ‘I told him he should stand up for himself, and he said: “That kid will be bored in two minutes, and then I can play with it again. Why start a fight?” So he was mature already. What did I have to teach this kid? But he always seemed happy, and that was what I wanted most for him. He used to look in the mirror and burst out laughing.’ May enrolled him in school. ‘His teacher told me that she wanted her other kids to grow up in kindergarten,’ she said. ‘She wanted mine to grow down.’
“By age 9, he had graduated from high school and started college in Utah. ‘The other students often thought it was strange that he was there,’ May says, ‘but Kit never did.’ His piano skills, meanwhile, had advanced enough so that by the time he was 10, he appeared on David Letterman. Shortly after, Kit toured the physics research facility at Los Alamos. A physicist said that, unlike the postdoctoral physicists who usually visited, Kit was so bright that no one could ‘find the bottom of this boy’s knowledge.’ A few years later, Kit attended a summer program at M.I.T., where he helped edit papers in physics, chemistry and mathematics. ‘He just understands things,’ May said to me, almost resigned. ‘Someday, I want to work with parents of disabled children, because I know their bewilderment is like mine. I had no idea how to be a mother to Kit, and there was no place to find out.'”
My mother died twenty years ago this month—on June 19, 1991. At least, that’s the date I observe. It was on the 19th that she gathered the family together and took a lethal dose of Seconal to end her life after a long struggle with ovarian cancer. To allow her to die as she wished, we had to lie, and cheat, and break the law, and that behavior was antithetical to the way we had and have lived. It was bizarre that being a party to my mother’s getting the Seconal would be like helping a junkie get heroin, when all she wanted was to die at home, with us beside her, under what she held to be optimal conditions.