The Ridge Ruxton School – Towson, Maryland
Banking consolidation was coming and the Rhode Island bank entered into an agreement with the largest Boston bank that the acquisition would take place as soon as it was legally possible to do so. We were being purchased for our sterling trust business and our retail deposit base / market share in state – not for anything we were doing internationally. Boston had vast trading contacts all over Latin America and quickly absorbed our business. The call and a generous severance package came. It was time to look for work. It was 1982 and Toritto was 40 years old.
Toritto in Baltimore – when it was still permissible to smoke a cigar in the office!
I received an interview and a job offer from one of Miami’s largest banks but couldn’t find any acceptable facilities for Michael so we had to turn it down. I subsequently landed a position with a Baltimore based finance and leasing company owned by Control Data which brought the first super computers to market. The company had an international banking subsidiary and owned Israel’s largest leasing company. By this time many states had acceptable support services for the disabled. I found Ridge – Ruxton school for Mike and we moved into a leased town house for a year until our Rhode Island home was sold a bid a sad farewell to Little Rhody and Trudeau Center.
We moved in October and it snowed for Christmas. Looked like New England!
Giant Santa visited Toritto at the office and brought a cigar.
We enjoyed the indoors that Winter
Sitting by the fireplace – (I can’t believe my hair was so brown!)
Daddy, cause he was now 40, got a bicycle for Christmas and an exercise bike.
and while Marie and Pam grew up
and Marie lost a tooth
Michael remained the same. He was seven years old. We enrolled him in the Ridge Ruxton School and he was picked up each morning and brought home after three.
Within the year we sold out R. I. home and moved into our new home in Lutherville where we would live for a decade. It had four bedrooms and a nice sized yard for the girls. Daddy would cut the grass himself.
It still snowed in our back yard, though not as often
Marie started elementary school, Pam was in pre-school and Michael went to Ridge Ruxton. We settled in happily as we all got a bit older. Life was becoming easier. I made semi-annual trips to Brazil, Portugal and Spain, including my first trip to Brasilia when the new capital city was still a prairie. I had time to spend with my family.
And then one glorious February morning in 1985 as I picked him up from his bed to bring him downstairs for breakfast, Michael looked at me and died in my arms. He was two months short of ten years old.
“My wife and I loved our son Michael and we cried many a tear when he died. I know that everyone who came to his funeral thought that his passing was a blessing – both for him and for us, although we did not think so at the time.
Was he a “blessing” to us? Was his passing a “blessing?” Its much easier to say yes if you are not the parents. In a sense that he changed our lives and made us more human and humane, then the answer is yes. He certainly made my daughters much more sensitive to the needs of others. They never forgot when we were asked to leave a family restaurant because Michael was “disturbing” to the other patrons. For my wife and I it was a lifetime of heartache.
My wife gave up any dreams she might have had caring for a child who couldn’t reward her with just a simple glance, a smile, a “mommy”.
We got no help from the state or the Feds – I made too much money. What a joke that was. Luckily we were able to find a facility which took him during school hours which gave my wife time to be with her girls and to get out of the house.
Michael was in hospital at least once a year, twice as he got older. He saw neurologists regularly. Expensive drugs kept his seizures down to “only” a couple or three a day. Luckily I had great medical insurance through my employer.
We hadn’t thought about testing during her pregnancies with Daniel or Michael. Today extensive testing is available.
So let me ask you.
If you were a 32 and 29 year old couple, happy and doing well and found out a Michael was coming your way, what would you do?
You can blow off the question if you’ve walked ten years in her shoes.
Make your choice and answer to your own god yourself.”
from “On Choice.” https://toritto.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/on-choice/