Press Play to start audio

December 13, 2007

Rachel In The World


Jane Bernstein thought she had her dream life in front of her when she gave birth to her second daughter in 1983. But it turned out that her little daughter, Rachel, was afflicted by a disorder that left her blind and subject to spasms - and most likely permanent mental retardation. No one knew the cause, but one thing was certain: there was no cure.  

Jane went through the ups and downs of learning to care for Rachel, and once she was finally able to accept her daughter's disabilities, she thought her struggles were over. And because she was a writer, she shared the experience in a book for other parents.  

But she soon learned that her challenges were just beginning. Her cute, curly-haired girl with disabilities turned into an adolescent, and then an adult with disabilities.  

Rachel is 24 now, and Jane has written a second, brutally honest book about the guilt and difficulties of dealing with a mentally-retarded young woman who wants nothing more than to move away from her mother, even though there's no place for her to go.  

Jane talks with Dick Gordon about raising Rachel, and helping her negotiate her life as an adult.            



Last week, one of our producers walked into a story meeting all worked up about her son's hair. Turns out he'd asked a girl at his school to cut it. His mother discovered a gouge missing when she was combing his hair that night. The story got all of us laughing about our own haircut stories. So Dick put the question out to listeners: tell us your childhood hair stories.

Artist David Terry responded. He confesses up front to Dick that he was kind of annoying as a kid, and one of the people he most enjoyed annoying was a girl in his class, Carrie. She was beautiful, intimidating and had long, black hair which she draped over the back of her chair. Until David brought his mother's sewing shears to school...

You might also like…

Daily Story Update

Get daily updates and special announcements about The Story.

Produced by

WUNC North Carolina Public Radio 91.5 logo