Goodnight, Irene, goodnight.

I’m tired. I’m working a lot, and when I’m not I’m thinking about it. So I thought I’d pull a lazy one tonight and just post somebody else’s content. Patricia E Bauer always has plenty of news, thought I, and she won’t miss it if I pinch some. And thus I got introduced to Irene.

I shouldn’t moan about tiredness.

When her daughter was born with Down syndrome in 1942, doctors told Irene to institutionalize her because she was hopelessly handicapped and probably wouldn’t live more than a few years.

Mrs. Henry disregarded their advice, and instead took her daughter home and helped to start a school for children with intellectual disabilities.

Putting mentally handicapped children in an institution, rather than having them grow up at home, was a common practice when Mrs. Henry gave birth to her daughter, Judith, but she was having none of it, her son Albert said.

“She’s my daughter, and I’ll take care of her,” she told the doctor, according to her son.

Daughter Judith Martin lived with her parents until 1991, when she died at age 50. Mrs. Henry’s husband died the same year.

On the second to last day of 2008, Irene C. Henry died in Chicago aged 91.

I do not thank the people who came before me nearly enough. They didn’t enjoy anything like the same level of acceptance or support that we as parents and grandparents do, and going up against the Wisdom of the Day was a lot tougher for Irene. But that determination gave Judith a full life with her parents for fifty years.

I owe you, Irene. Sleep peacefully with them.