Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Perrie and I

In 1942, a beautiful baby girl was born to James C. and Miriam S. Perrie in Washington DC.  It became evident, as time went by, that all was not right with their wonderful Barbara Anne.  She would never grow mentally older than age 6 or 7, she was legally bind (she can see some colors and movement) and she had physical troubles.  But that did not stop her parents from loving her and helping her grow to the best of her abilities.  Her Mother kept her home with her and taught her how to take care of herself, and how to love her Savior Jesus Christ, the way a good Episcopalian should. 

Barbara Anne Perrie
age 7

Now let’s skip forward to 2004.  My oldest daughter Abby told me about a friend of hers who was legally blind and but who could see colors and motion, so could I make a color light ball (the colors move in patterns), for her for Christmas.  Of course I could, and so I did.  I wasn’t until several months later that Abby let me know that she would be bringing her friend home with her, so that she could watch her for several hours.  I was okay with that.

I will never forget the first moment I saw Perrie, as Abby lead her through my front door.  I heart jumped within me and my spirit cried out “I have missed you.”  I knew from that moment on that Barbara Anne Perrie would be very important part of my life.  I volunteered to take care of Perrie when her care giver needed a break.  I learned everything I needed to do, so that I could take care of her and have her hugs and kisses would be a part of my life. 
Perrie and my daughters at a Fireworks show
Lake Tahoe, CA  July 2005
Each Christmas, I plan a birthday gift of service for Jesus’s birthday present.  This particular Christmas, I felt that I should be taking Perrie to Church with me.  Perrie loves going to go to Church. So I called her caregivers and arranged to pick up Perrie, take her to church with me and then take her home with me, where she would have dinner with us as a family.  At first I worried, about what I had to do each week, but that didn’t last for very long.  It has become just a normal part of my life.
Perrie at the beach at Lake Tahoe
July 2005
When I started to bring Perrie to church with me, I had a calling in the scouts, so Perrie went to Sunday school and Relief Society with me.  Then one Sunday, I was called into the Bishop’s office and was called to be a member of the Primary Presidency.  I was so excited to work with our Primary President, but then I thought, “What do I do with Perrie?”  Since our Primary President was out of town that week, I went to our Stake Primary President, and was told to take Perrie to Primary with me.  Thus began a series of miracles and blessings in our Primary.  My first Sunday in Primary, I introduced her to the Primary and showed them that even though she was in her 60’s she really wasn’t any different than they are.  Her favorite food was Mac & Cheese.  Her favorite colors were all the colors of the rainbow.  She had 4 cats and 3 dogs and a goldfish.  She said her prayers and she loves Jesus.  We sang the Primary song “I’ll Walk with You” (PSB pg. 140).  And thus Perrie joined our Primary.  Basically she attended 2 Sharing Times at first.  We had Primary children volunteer to be “Perrie’s Pal” and help her during Sharing Time.  Quite a few children were excited to be “Perrie’s Pal”.  She said prayers and gave scriptures as her part in Sharing Time.  She even said parts in the Primary Program.  She gets up and sings whenever the Primary children sing.

Then came the day that Perrie asked why she didn’t go to class like the other children.  So as a Presidency we discussed and prayed about which class to put her in.  We had one class that was being taught by a new couple in the ward.  We decided that I would ask if they would take Perrie into their class.  I approached Sister Baker in the hall and asked if she and her husband would allow Perrie to attend their class.  She paused and then asked if I knew that she was a teacher (professionally) of handicapped children.  No, I didn’t, but Heavenly Father did.  The next week, Perrie started to attend Primary class.  She loved it and her class learned to love her.  Since that time she has been in several different classes, but each class has loved her and she loves them.

Perrie and her caregiver Megan
2005
Her caregiver has told me of times, when Perrie first started to go to Primary, that she would be with Perrie in a store and a small child would come up to her (the caregiver) and ask, "Is that Perrie?"  She would answer "yes" and then the child would disappear.  The children in our Primary have learned to love her too. 

After 3 years we were released as a Primary Presidency.  I approached the new President with my concerns about Perrie.  I was told, "Of course Perrie would stay in Primary, she was an important part of our Primary", and she still is today. 

Today, my Sundays go like this.  One half hour before church starts, I go get Perrie and her wheel chair.  We attend Worship service (Sacrament Meeting).  After Worship Service, we make a trip to the restroom.  Then we go to Sunday school (Primary Class) where her class members take turns caring for her.  From Sunday school, her class takes her to Primary (Sharing Time).  The members of her class know that if there is a problem, to please get me in the Relief Society Room.  They have never come to get me.  After Church, I go pick Perrie up from the Children’s Meeting Room and take her home.


Perry and baby Ender Feb. 2012  after attending Ender's blessing.
Over the years Perrie’s health has worsened.  On May 3, 2012 she will be 70 years old.  Her mother was told she would never make it past the age of 40.  She is in a wheel chair, on oxygen and has a feeding tube, so I don’t get to keep her after church every often, but I do go and take care of her at her home from time to time.  I have curled her hair before church and I have realized just how much I am going to miss her when she is gone.

I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father that he brought Perrie, my eternal friend, into my life.

2 comments:

  1. Oh how I love our sweet little Perrie Bug!

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  2. You would not believe the tears you just put in my eyes. Thank you for taking her into your heart and into your life, and thank you for sharing this sweet story.

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