Pieces of the Puzzle

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Mid-1950’s–Mary with family members (left to right)

Her parents, Elmer and Merle Townsend; Sis; Paul; Mary; Jimmy; Hughie

(Remembering Mary Ellen Townsend Harris, 1911-2016)

Harrisonburg News-Record story on January 20, 1954 bragged, “Smallest City to Have Cerebral Palsy Center.”  That headline proclaimed the success the CP parents group experienced when they linked up with the Rockingham County Chapter of the Virginia Society for Crippled Children and Adults.  Even with Sis’s heart issues, plus her daily care for Paul, Mary had been involved with this venture.  It was a dream come true.

The Rockingham Crippled Children’s Center was located in the basement of the Harrisonburg Municipal Building on Main Street.  Mary took Paul there three hours a day, three days each week, for physical and speech therapy, and academic lessons.  Since Hugh had their only car on the road for his sales work, she hired a taxi to transport her…

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