Many years ago a girl known as Little Annie lived in a mental institution outside of Boston. Her room was like a dungeon. It received little light and even less hope. According to doctors, it was the only place for those who were hopelessly insane. During Little Annie's time
in the dungeon, an elderly nurse who was nearing retirement believed there was hope -- even for the "hopeless." She would take her lunch
down to the dungeon and eat outside the cell where Little Annie was kept. She felt that she could, perhaps, communicate some love and hope to the little girl.
In many ways Little Annie behaved like an animal. On occasion she would charge at the person sitting outside her cell; other times, she would sit in the corner ignoring her visitor. One day the elderly nurse brought some brownies and left them for her. Little Annie gave no hint
that she knew or even cared that they were there, but when the nurse returned the next day, the brownies were gone. Every Thursday, from that time forward, the elderly nurse would bring Little Annie brownies.
Before long doctors in the institution noticed that Little Annie was changing. After a period of time observing her, they decided to "promote" her to another wing of the institution. Eventually this "hopeless" case was told that she could return to her home in the "outside" world. Little Annie refused to go. She wanted to stay and
help others who were facing the kind of adversity she once faced. Many years later, it was Little Annie who cared for, taught and nurtured Helen Keller.
Little Annie was Anne Sullivan, and Helen Keller, as I'm sure you know, changed how the world viewed the disabled and challenged. When Helen Keller was in a soft spot, it was Anne Sullivan who handled her with care. When Anne Sullivan was in a soft spot, it was an elderly nurse who handled her with care. The world is a different place today for the physically and mentally challenged because of an anonymous elderly nurse who handled with care someone in a soft spot.
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