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A lot to report in the past two months, pardon the listyness.

Just before Memorial Day, David had an injury at work (picking up a stock pot the wrong way) and ruptured a disk. He didn't realize it at the time but it caught up with him on Saturday and we spent the rest of the weekend at the ER trying to get a diagnosis and some relief for the pain. He aged 5 years that weekend. The following Wednesday, we went back to the ER, at MGH this time, and got a definitive diagnosis, pain management help, and a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. This injury has changed David's life. He's continued to work as a chef but he's not doing any cooking or lifting, and he only stands for short periods of time. His workers comp case was denied and now we are hoping that our insurance will pay the mountain of medical bills.

Despite the injury, we did our best to give Alex a good graduation from highschool on June 11th. Carla and Tom came to visit and they were immensely helpful, with both their time and their financial assistance. (It was a HUGE thing for them to do but they offered to co-sign the college loan with Alex so that he can go to Brandeis in the fall. Because of their good credit, they got a much better rate than we could ever get and the eventual repayment terms are generous.) It had been raining all week but the sun came out for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon letting the kids in their caps and gowns linger for hours in the flower filled courtyard. That evening, the new graduates gathered for "Last Blast" in the gym.

Alex received several awards and three scholarships in addition to the academic scholarship from Brandeis. It was a particular honor to go with him to our townhall where the Dollars for Scholars award was given. That's the scholarship funded by $1 donations from local taxpayers. The fund is relatively rich these days and Alex was one of 86 students receiving a scholarship.

Since having mono this spring, Alex has been working hard to come back in his fencing. He had a crisis of confidence when he first started competing again but he has not let that stop him. He fenced well at the Pomme in the individual event, finishing 10th. The boys won the team event, beating a team from Bay State Fencers composed of 2 of their old coaches (Maxim Zeitsev and Stacy Eddy)!

Summer Nationals were in Atlanta this year and, because of David's bad back, Alex and I went by ourselves. I knew things were different when, after the first bout of the first event, U19 men's epee, Alex turned to me strip-side and asked me to leave because I was "too distracting." I sputtered but why now? And he asked me if I wanted him to be honest? I was crushed but I left. I went and poured my broken heart out to Laurie P-G, who told me it was going to be okay and that this is how a lot of kids are anyway. So, I went to the aquarium and sat in a dark hallway, with whale sharks swimming overhead, and felt sorry for myself. That is, until I realized that it wasn't all bad, because he was able to tell me what he needed to tell me. That makes for a change from the hiding and lying format of the past year. When he got back to the hotel that afternoon, we achieved a truce that lasted the whole week.

The best news from Atlanta was that Alex medaled for the first time--in Division 1A. He was focused, fencing with his head not just his heart, and watched his opponent carefully. I watched from a vantage point where he couldn't see me and friends would come over and let me know how he was doing. It was wonderful.

Back home and Alex signed up for fall classes: intermediate Latin, advanced beginning Ancient Greek, freshman seminar in classical myths, and introduction to anthropology. It took a grand total of 5 minutes (once he figured out the navigation of the database). A far cry from standing in line for hours with index cards and a telephone book thick catalogue at the University of Michigan in 1970! And ordering books was as easy. That counts as actual progress, I think. :)