Started to include the letter below with yesterday's "Last Valentine's Day Card" posting. It was in the same vein, but there was one small problem...I knew it wasn't written, sent, or received on Valentine's Day.
Hey, trying to keep it real...and honest!
The letter was undated, but Julie's words and the context of our life together pin it down to a life-changing event...Julie's banishment from Cairo High School after 25 years of excellence.
During the 1995-96 school year, Julie and I would report to different buildings...going our separate ways after 25 years together at CHS. Julie would be punished for allegedly trying to "run the high school". Julie would be punished for her role in forming the secretarial union (CAESP) the previous year. Julie would be punished for her marriage to me...accused of "loyalty" to me rather than the CHS administration.
It will always be my belief that this was the beginning of the end for Julie - a long and painful ordeal. Four different doctors, including one of the District's own choosing, warned the District of the effects of stress on Julie's lupus condition. These same four doctors warned the District of the extreme danger to Julie's health in forcing her to come into contact with elementary-aged children. All four doctors requested "reasonable accommodation" for Julie Newell...as required by the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. True to form - a form that continues today - the District enlisted its legal firm (at the cost of untold thousands of dollars) to fight Julie every step of the way. The District defied the doctors and exposed Julie to elementary-aged children...where she suffered her first major lupus flare on October 15, 1997...a flare from which she almost died. This didn't phase the District one iota. When Julie tried to return to work after a 13-month medical leave, the battle resumed. During the next 8 years, Julie would fight for her rights...literally fight for her life!
An IEA UniServ Director gave Julie and I some sage advice years ago..."Don't let the bastards get you down!" We lived by that creed.
So, in August 1995, her indomitable spirit firmly intact, Julie penned these words to me...