Dear Margo: Nurse Ratched in a Grammar School

Margo Howard’s advice

Nurse Ratched in a Grammar School

Dear Margo: In early grammar school, I had an awful teacher. She was verbally abusive, threatened physical violence and handed out punishments like they were going out of style. She made up cruel nicknames for students, made one girl stand at the head of the class and taunted her until she cried, and had the class pelt the sole Hispanic student with snow and ice. (Those who refused were punished.) As I got older, I learned that every class she taught had similar stories — some worse.

I recently found that not only is this woman still teaching, but she now does special ed. I’m horrified. Do I merely hope that she’s softened with age and will retire soon, or do I tell someone? This was 20 years ago, and I have no proof other than my memories, but the idea of Teacher Dearest with pupils even less able to defend themselves than “regular students” has caused me to lose sleep. — Disturbed

Dear Dis: What surprises me more than this sadistic behavior toward children is that no child told a parent who then complained to the principal. It is my understanding that a person with these propensities does not mellow with age, but, in fact, the wretched behavior becomes more pronounced. (It is the same with dementia; personality traits are magnified.)

I would not wait for her to retire, thereby “solving” the problem. Because you write that she is teaching more vulnerable children than when you were in school, I would go either to the principal or to the supervising agency for schools and tell them what you know. They will, one hopes, monitor her and interview the children. In a situation such as this, active is better than passive. You owe this to the unlucky kids in her class. — Margo, proactively

Same Song, Second Verse

Dear Margo: I am a 30-year-old woman living in a large city. I am well educated, financially independent and have a great job. I have wonderful friends who live both locally and around the country. I am also very close with my family. My social life is active, and I try to make myself as attractive as possible.

My problem is that it’s been so difficult to find a mate. I have had a few serious boyfriends since I was a teenager, with the shortest relationship lasting not quite two years. I’ve been single now for two years. Although I’ve been on dates and meet men socially, I have not found anybody with whom I would want to be in a permanent relationship. I don’t think my standards are too high. I simply want to find a partner who is loving and supportive, and that’s the way I wish to be in return.

Most of my friends are married, having babies and buying houses. I would love to have that kind of life and am worried that I’m running out of time. Do you have any suggestions for how to find a like-minded man and to help me stop stressing about the possibility of being single forever? — Looking for Love

Dear Look: Given today’s culture, a 30-year-old unmarried working woman is still considered on the young side. Try to lose your spinster fears. From the sound of things, you have a lot going for you. I don’t want to go all Maharishi on you, but try to relax on the subject of men and put the determined manhunt on hold. One thing you could do that would let you feel proactive is to tell all of your wonderful friends and family that you are in the market for a great guy. Sometimes just getting the word out can be very effective. Also, I’m a big fan of affinity groups. And if you’re ever on the fence about accepting an invitation to a party or an event, go! — Margo, optimistically

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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40 Responses so far.

  1. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW1: The statute of limitations on patience for letters like yours ran out about the same time you should have spoken up, which was A. Long. Time. Ago. Take comfort in the fact that strokes and nursing homes are the great equalizers among the hateful, and let it go.

    LW2: OMG, you’re 30. Life ends at 31, you know. The clock is ticking—better go make some irrational decisions that you’re going to regret later. Or you could do the opposite of what that little screamy, neurotic spot in your brain demands and have fun, meet someone cool and hook up for hot, baby-making time in the foamy section at the club.

    • avatar Anais P says:

      It’s a good thing no one told Jerry Sandusky’s victims that “the statute of limitations” ran out on their reporting what happened to them! But they came forward, and he was prosecuted. LW1, I would take Margo’s advice. And who knows? Maybe you could round up one or two others in school with you at the time to approach the principal. There is more weight in numbers. Good luck!

      As for LW2, relax, try online dating (very carefully) and join some groups or volunteer for organizations you can commit to. You never can tell whom you might meet through any of these ways. People marry at all ages these days (even after 50, for the first time!), so good luck! 

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        There’s a bit of difference between being raped in a shower and someone’s vague recollections of verbal abuse, threatened physical abuse and pelting the sole Hispanic student with ice and snow (which I don’t believe happened, by the way). Don’t presume I’m so stupid that I can’t see the difference between the Sandusky case and this letter. It also stands to reason that out of the thousands of students this woman taught—if she were that horrible, someone would have said something and taken action by now, which is likely DECADES later. If indeed the woman were as horrible as the LW describes—why is she waiting until now to say something about it? And why is she writing to an advice column to ask advice as to whether or not she should do this? Shouldn’t her course of action be obvious if the woman is that bad?

        • avatar A R says:

          I’m going to side with David here. The LW has childhood memories being filtered through a lot of years.
          1. Define “verbally abusive” in a way that we can all agree on.
          2. Define threatening “physical violence” in a way we can all agree on (in a spankin versus non-spanking ongoing debate).
          3. Handing out punishments? Well, hell. All teachers do that.
          4. Made a girl cry? Yep, kids cry sometimes, especially if they got caught doing wrong/lying. get scolded, and are embarrassed.
          5. SHE made students throw snow at another kid? You sure you guys didn’t do that during recess on your own?

          You sound like as a kid you were scared of that teacher. Heck, she sounds strict to me, but unless the woman yanked you out of your seat by your hair, locked you in a supply closet, or hit you with a textbook, you are overreacting. She wasn’t a peach, but abusive? Nah. Just old-school.

      • avatar marie9999 says:

        LW2 wants children – that will not be a biologically viable option after 50 for the vast majority of women.

        I totally agree that she should not rush this decision but I also personally know too many women that waited until they were 40 to think about having a baby that were surprised by their infertility.

    • avatar Kathleen Hein says:

      You think you’re being so funny to LW2, but did you know that at age 30, your chances of getting pregnant in any given month without expensive fertility treatments is 20%, but by age 40, that shrinks to just 5%? That is one of the reasons Giuliana and Bill Rancic were so public about their fertility struggles. They had never heard of that either! Everyone says “oh you’re “only” 30 you’re so young- people have babies into their 40’s” and no one KNOWS the statistics, or that all those celebrities you see pregnant at 43 went through IVF. So yes, if LW2 wants babies of her own without spending $15K/pop for fertility treatments, then at age 30, she needs to be seriously looking for a potential mate.

      But everyone is right- online dating. It’s especially effective in a large city, where the dating pool is so large. I didn’t meet my husband through a service, but I did meet him online, and we’ve been happily married for 10 1/2 years now.

      • avatar KL says:

        Kathleen — that statistic is deceiving. Yes, each month between 30-35, you have about a 15-20% chance of conceiving. But over a year of trying, there is a 75% chance of it happening. You have to be careful with statistics; they can be very deceiving if you’re not familiar with the context. There is a huge difference between 30 and 39. Yes, she should definitely not put things off until her late 30s, but it’s no reason to freak a 30 year-old out either.

        The age of the egg, not the uterus is the biggest factor in fertility. So if she doesn’t think she’ll have kids before 35, she should consider freezing some eggs before 35 to help her chances. It’s far from full proof and still rather in the experimental stages, but it’s better than nothing.

      • avatar Lym BO says:

        The percentage of getting pregnant for a woman on average is 26%. Being over 40 and trying to get pregnant isn’t the issue. It’s the fact that you been carrying & exposing your eggs to various things since birth. I actually don’t have any friends who had kids before 30. I even have one who started at 37 & had three by 41.
        Places I have met decent guys: night club (I know, but he is now a top exec at a big bank), apartment complex twice while out swimming, rollerblading, playing tennis; hospital where I worked twice (married one-both professionals). I had a list of requirements & I stuck by them & that got me far. (Parents couldn’t be divorced, no substance abuse or use, no smokers or heavy drinkers, similar religious beliefs, a better or equal degree as me), decent looking but not a hunk (those guys end up being dogs usually- now or when married). Good luck! It will happen.

    • avatar sparktest says:

      Ouch! Who are you and what have you done with David??

  2. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  Its hard for me to fathom that in the years she taught you and the 20 years thereafter not one single person has reported this woman’s abusive behavior.  It reminds me a lot of a few nuns and priests I had in grade school and believe me the kids reported it, the parents were aware of it and something was done about it notwithstanding the culture of the Catholic Church in those days (maybe still) that told the laity that the nuns and priests are always right.  Someone has complained…maybe many someonones. For whatever reason, she is protected by the system but by all means go ahead and report it to someone.  If nothing happens, there are always strokes and nursing homes.

    LW#2:  Keep your standards high and follow Margo’s advice.  David cracks me up.     


    • avatar htimsr40 says:

      INSTITUTIONS protect abusers on the theory that they are protecting the institution itself, whether that is the Catholic Church or Penn State University or the Boy Scouts of America. BUT if an individual is determined, she can put Heat on the institution by reporting the abuse and going on a crusade. Reports to authorities are just a start. A public relations campaign that makes the cost of hiding the abuser higher than the cost of the institution dealing with the abuser. There would be few nobler causes in life than bringing a serial child abuser to justice.

  3. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #1 – Exhibit #1 – Jerry Sandusky.

    I rest my case.

    Letter #2 – I sympathize for this young woman. Usually I would offer up the traditional advice of “Don’t worry, when you stop looking for love, love finds you” this is very true but doesn’t help a woman whose biological clock is ticking. If marriage AND children are a desire, the reality is you do have to find Mr. Right soon. The truth is the older you get, the window for having children closes – both physically and from the stand point of being around to raise them.

    It sounds like you have an active life with lots of people, but how much alone time are you experiencing? Not all men are shy but some men are a bit intimidated by approaching a group of people just to single out that lovely woman he has his eye on. I happen to love art museums and went to our local museum by myself and ended up meeting a man who like myself, was there alone. (He is a perfectly nice guy but we are not compatible so I know it won’t go anywhere) but who is to say if you don’t start doing some things on your own, that special guy, the future father of your kids – might notice you……

    • avatar LuckySeven says:

      I have never found a boyfriend when I wasn’t looking for one. I spent my twenties doing stuff I loved and never got a single date.

      I had much better luck online. Think up a good opening line to weed out poor matches. Mine involved a reference to Medieval weaponry: Guys who were eccentric and educated enough to get it were automatically pretty good prospects; guys who didn’t know but were intrigued enough to ask at least had potential; and guys who didn’t know and didn’t care didn’t bother to email me.

      Honestly, though, I don’t know how anyone who doesn’t marry relatively young keeps going. I’m in my mid-thirties and sick to death of dating. I wanted to be married ten years ago but here I am, single and childless, probably forever. I’m not sure yet that my current boyfriend is a keeper and the thought of having to start over, again with no guarantee of success before my childbearing years disappear, is incredibly depressing. I guess I’m technically single by choice in that I’ve dated great guys but didn’t marry them, but I really don’t feel like any of them were The One.

      Talking about it doesn’t get any easier. My married friends think I must be living it up without family obligations, which isn’t the case. I’m working to support myself without a second income, and I’d love not to be the fifth wheel at every family event. Or to even have family events, which become kind of rare when you don’t have a family. My happily-single friends–who are a small group since most of them got married, anyway–tell me I don’t need a man, which is absolutely true, but I don’t want a family because I’m trying to “fix” myself. I want one because I want one. If they don’t want one, that’s fine, but I do.

      • avatar KL says:

        To the 30+ women looking for a mate, if you’re in a big city as the LW states, there are plenty of eligible bachelors — online is a great way to go as you can get your dealbreakers out of the way right up front and there are a lot of men in their 30s looking for the very same thing (at least in San Francisco). Dating at that stage is a drag — it’s rough to keep going on a lot of first or second dates with very nice men, but with none that feel that *connection*. In my life, I’ve found such a *connection* to be exceptionally rare — but when you encounter, it’s unmistakable (I’ve personally had it twice in 15 years of dating and relationships). When it finds you, or you find it, don’t let go!

        But I’d suggest two things:

        (1) Find your happiness. Do things that enrich your life and make you a more vibrant, positive person. Whether that’s a new hobby, volunteer time, yoga, exercise, etc. The activities don’t matter. But the better you feel about yourself and the life you’re already living, the more positive vibes you will radiate outwards — and that sort of person, a person that is happy, excited and passionate about her life, who she is and where she’s going — that’s irresistible. That sort of inner light will draw men like moth to a flame because it comes from a place of inner joy and they know you aren’t looking for a man to make you happy or fill some void (i.e. not desperate), but to share this crazy journey with.

        (2) Reconsider your approach. A friend recommended a book to me that I never thought I’d appreciate, let alone recommend to others, but it helped me immensely by shedding light on perspectives on dating and men-women divide that I’d either never really considered or were never able to fully appreciate. That book is David Gray’s Mars and Venus on a Date — how men and women approach dating very differently and part of a being a good partner is being true to yourself, but also being aware of how that truth is conveyed and perceived by others (basic empathy). Much like marketing — how you pitch the product (you) can make all the difference when you know your audience better (men).

        I found this book especially helpful for career-oriented women because we oftentimes take a very masculine energy approach in our career (and have to) but that very same approach backfires in many dating situations and prevents attraction from growing. At times, it’s repetitive, a little preachy or seems a tad too gender role-y, but I think there are some really good parts about bringing forth your best feminine energy which will help bring forth his best masculine energy. I highly recommend it. Plus, it sort of helps make sense of some the dating rituals and early communication issues that can drive people nuts. I’ve recommended it to similar career oriented gfs that were looking for their life partners as well as to thee men — two good friends that are ultimately looking to find their wives and my now boyfriend (we started reading it together when we first started dating). All three men said it was spot on for the guys’ perspective and found it very valuable. Oh, for background, I’m 33 and an attorney, if that makes any difference.

        • avatar sparktest says:

          LW#2 I am going to second what KL said. Go for online dating, and modify your approach. The masculine vs. feminine energy issue is especially huge for successful professional women.  Masculine energy can make you very successful at work, but can completely destroy your dating or marriage life.

          I would also add these points to the advice throughout this stream about online dating –
          1) Be clear in your posting that you are looking for eventual marriage with the right mate who wants to settle down and start a family. If this is what you are looking for, be clear for yourself, and make sure your responder also has the same goals. Otherwise you will waste your time on men who do not want to settle down, much less have kids.
          2) Read all the stuff about protecting yourself, your identity, your address, etc. Be safe.
          3) Understand that some people will lie on the internet; it’s like resumes – the writers always get to be the hero in their own stories. You will learn to spot the signs in the disconnect between the profiles and real conversation at some point. Pay attention.
          4) Stay away from men who, if they are divorced, have “no idea” what went wrong in their marriage; they have not yet grown up and learned their lessons. (Note this is not a first date question.) Equally, run away from men who speak early, often, and bitterly about their bee-yatch ex-wives. That could be you one day – is this really the kind of man you want to get involved with?
          5) One last thing to consider – I found better dating success when I removed the requirement for a college degree from my preferences. (More women than men have been graduating college for several years.) There are plenty of good men and good mates out there who may not have a degree but who are smart, successful in their professions, and happy to find someone with similar interests who want to start a family.

          The modified approach worked for me. After 4 years of off and on dating using a couple of sites, I found my guy nearly 7 years ago on Wish I had found him the first time around, but happy that I did since he is the guy I hope and expect to grow old with. He is smart, a terrific cook, and a great father to his son. And while he might send me out the door to work with a “go get ’em babe”, it is wonderful that I get to be the girl when I get home. Good luck to you!

  4. avatar Lesley Morgan says:

    Re: LW1 – It may not be that no one said anything, but that the kids weren’t believed. That’s what happened with my second grade teacher. We would go home and report her crazy behavior, but none of us were believed. Apparently our stories were assumed to be fantasy, but as it turned out, she was schizophrenic and it was all true. It wasn’t until the end of the school year when parents started speaking to each other and found that all their kids had the same story that action was taken, but by then, the damage was done.

    Anyway, I say it’s never too late to speak up – surely a phone call to the principal or school district sharing your concerns would not be out of line. Better to try and get shot down then to just stand by and hope no helpless kid is suffering. There should be no “statute of limitations” when it comes to child abuse.

  5. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: Sounds like a fake letter.

    L #2: Gosh, I wish I’d been in your shoes at age 30. It’s never enough, huh? Good mates are difficult to find and there’s plenty of time on your biological clock. Remember the phrase, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” What you “vs” they have today might be very different 10 years from now (don’t ask me how I know this). Enjoy what you’ve got today and keep to your career while working (sanely) towards the love of your life.

    • avatar ButterflyLady says:

      Unfortunately, Cindy, I experienced the same treatment from a teacher as well. I have allergies and kept my own tissue box at my desk… The teacher nick-named me snot-head. The girl in a wheelchair was called Wheels, the smart kid with glass was called geek, the stutterer was called repeat, etc. This teacher went out of her way to find out a child’s weakness so that she could expose it to the class for exploitation. The family with a laid-off father was taught that Daddy was lazy or he would have another job…and the rest of the class was told to watch our because unemployed families are thieves. The list goes on and on… The principal knew, the school board knew, and this teacher was just moved from grade to grade and school to school. She is now “teaching” kindergarten–poor little ones.

      • avatar redhead says:

        LW#1 – Growing up, we had a nun who was just cruel, and God forbid you made eye contact with her at any time, you would then become the target. On Facebook, some of my old classmates started an alumni page for the school, and when this nun’s name was mentioned – the replies numbered in the hundreds telling horror stories. She left the school a year after we graduated and moved to another state where she “taught” for another 20 years. I know the school was contacted and she was reprimanded. How do I know? She told us as she heaped on more abuse!

  6. avatar Skyblonde says:

    I am going to have to disagree with the “Relax and love will find you” and “Join a club/take a class/do what you love and love will find you”. When I was 25, I realized that if I wanted to have my first child before I was 30 and if I wanted to be married before that happened and if I wanted to date someone for a couple of years before THAT happened, I needed to find love right now, not wait for it to find me-which is what I had been doing since my high school boyfriend and I broke up at the end of my freshman year of college. I went online. I felt weird about it at first, but I joined eHarmony, whose purpose is to help you find the right person to marry. It took a lot of guesswork out of the whole thing knowing that all the guys I talked to were also interested in marriage and children. A month after joining, I was matched with a new member. Six weeks after that, I met him in person. Six months later we moved in together and two years after that we got married. I had my first daughter last year and just found out I am pregnant with our second. You wouldn’t wait around for a promotion or anything else you want to just happen, you would take steps to meet your goal. Finding a life partner is really no different.

    • avatar martina says:

      I have a friend who met her now husband online. They’ve been married five years and she just had her second child and they are very happy. She also recommends going that route.

      I personally always suggest volunteer work. Even if you don’t meet someone within the group you are volunteering with, they may know someone who would love to meet you.

    • avatar stateoflove_N_Trust says:

      Do you realize that you basically reiterated one of eharmony’s main slogans in your post? I am not sure whether I should congratulate you for your success in finding a life partner (which is not always easy) or report it as spam. 🙂

      Congratulations on your pregnancy.

      • avatar Skyblonde says:

        Haha, oops. No, I didn’t realize that. Sorry! It worked though-and my husband is amazing and we NEVER would have met in real life, so I am grateful every day that eHarmony exists and that I live in a time/place where we both could access it. I just wanted to clarify that by going online, I didn’t mean any random matching site, I meant one where the people you’ll be matched with have the same goal you do (whether that’s marriage or a hook-up).
        And thank you, you internet strangers are the only ones who know so far. I literally found out a half hour before I wrote my first comment!

  7. avatar persey78 says:

    LW2 reminds me of a friend of mine. She so wants a relationship, but she tries too hard. She is also always busy, always doing something, every week it is some new pictures from another club of her trying to look cute. She is beautiful, so she tries so hard to be that fun girl that guys want to be with. I love her dearly, but no matter how much you tell her that relaxing is the best thing to do and letting everything fall into place naturally.
    I remember one time we went to a very small club, just 3 of us. The other woman is married and I am living with a guy so we really did go simply with the intent of dancing and getting the stress out. My single friend was scanning constantly, and then was all into the bouncer, and then another guy, and then a gross guy was hitting on her, and etc. As we were outside having a smoke our other friend and I were surrounded by guys. Our single friend asked why we had so much attention and we replied most likely because we are taken and not looking. We turned them all down, and they left, didn’t talk to her, because of her almost desperate behavior inside.

    • avatar misskaty says:

      Precisely. LW#1 needs to know:

      1. There is no “the One”; there are many people out there.

      2. Relationships are not perfect; you two will be different in many ways, and you need to be able to accept and work with these differences. The other is truly the other.

      3. No man will truly give you the love you need. Learn to be happy from inside, and let that love come out instead. Peace and security is attractive.

      4. Relax. Stop evaluating men and instead be genuinely curious about each person in front of you, whether you think they’re attractive or not. Who are you? What do you value? What makes you happy? What do you want? Don’t rule out someone immediately based on superficial assessments, like status or looks. Take a few dates to explore who they are. “Plain” guys become smoking hot pretty darn quick once you get to know them.

      When this happens inside you, men start coming out of nowhere!

  8. avatar bobkat says:

    LW1: WTF???? Go on Facebook or Twitter and try to get into contact with as many of Mrs. X’s former victims, um, I mean students as possible! Then go to the principal and report her. What this ‘teacher’ did, and no doubt is still doing, is criminal and grounds for immediate dismissal!

  9. avatar Cady McCowin says:

    LW2: If marriage and children are things that are very important to you, that you feel you NEED in order to have a happy and fulfilled life, then I suggest you try online dating with a reputable site. This is a much less eccentric way to meet people than it was even 10 years ago, and I know several happily married couples who met this way. The programs match you up with people who have similar interests and goals, and once you start talking with someone and meet someone, you will either click or you won’t. Meanwhile, you may end up meeting someone IRL anyway. As long as you love yourself and are happy in your life, even if you don’t have all the things you want, you will be attractive to the right person. Good luck to you!

  10. avatar ann penn says:

    Long ago, in childhood, I had an experience similar to that of LW1. In our case, her “pets” could do no wrong and got special treatment; the rest of us lived in fear. We 10 year olds never reported her to parents because we believed that nothing could be done; teachers were powerful. Years later, I was discussing the woman with two friends who had been in the class and my mother, who was present, was shocked to hear what we had to say. At the time I was going through the horror Mom had been busy with a new baby (her 4th child) and recent long distant move into a new but not quite finished house.

    That was a different time from now. I do wish I had spoken up when I reached adulthood. The woman should never have been teaching young children, at least not with out close supervision and psychological evaluation.

  11. avatar JCF4612 says:

    LW1) It’s never too late to rat out a piece of tripe creating trouble and heartbreak in our school systems.

    LW2) Keep on doing what you’re doing, and follow Margo’s advice: Spread the word, and get out and about. May the force be with you.       

  12. avatar Raugiel Reddel says:

    LW 1: Even though the incidents you witnessed were a long time ago, the school where this teacher works should be concerned. There have been several reported incidents in the last year where parents of special needs children placed hidden cameras on their kids when they came home and reported abuse by teachers – and the parents caught them. No parent should have to do this, but the school should also be afraid of this teacher as a potential serious risk both to kids and to the school in the form of a legal liability. If you tell the school about this, they should want to monitor this teacher if for no other reason than to determine if she is a legal risk to the school. Even if that reason is selfish, if it gets the teacher away from vulnerable children, the result is right.

  13. avatar blueelm says:

    LW1: Wow. I had a 3rd grade teacher like this. She was truly horrible, and it is only now that I realize just how bad it was. As a child I simply became depressed and withdrawn, and that was used to justify further abuse. It set a key group of us up for bullying that went on until we left the school. It included racial abuse (“cockroach” “wetback” etc), extreme humiliation (force a kid to stand in front of the class and accuse them of wetting themselves- even if it wasn’t true), refusing to accommodate even mild physical disability, and constant public shaming, encouraging the children to abuse and hurt the scapegoats whenever possible even at home. She had worked for the school for many many years and was a good friend of the principal. She FINALLY was “asked to retire” politely only after she refused to allow a girl to go to the nurse who was having an seizure because she “looked fine” and the child very nearly died once the seizure progressed and turned out to be very severe. All of this was in a supposedly “nice” school with a “good” reputation.

    Oh she was all sweet and grandmotherly to the good kids, and she used that to get them to help her make sure the bad ones spent every day afraid or in pain… feeling completely alone and too scared to tell their parents because it was all “their fault” and then everyone would know…

    The woman was never charged with anything, and was allowed to collect her retirement. She would be old enough to have died by now, but I think that she probably had a 20-30 year legacy of trauma to small children to be proud of. Some times, I do almost wish I believed in hell.

    • avatar blueelm says:

      I guess I said all that to say: LW1… talk. Talk now. Maybe if some one who had been abused by her 20 years before had raised enough hell just one parent or one kid might have had the courage to speak up… and maybe the monster would have been stopped even just one year or two earlier.

      But you have to think that one year even might spare 30 kids the experience!

  14. avatar lebucher says:

    LW#2, I am 54, divorced for 10 years, and 8 months ago met the man I believe is my soulmate.  We were introduced by a mutual friend.  So I say try different avenues but make sure friends know you are looking for a man of quality to have a relationship with.  Our friend knew both of us well enough to think we’d likely be compatible.  She also knew neither of us was a nut! 

  15. avatar Jennifer juniper says:

    For those of you that think LW1 is hard to believe – you obviously haven’t been following the UK story of Jimmy Saville. Horrific systematic abuse can and does get swept under carpets, ignored, tolerated, and even celebrated.

  16. avatar Jay Gentile says:

    Margo, I went to a Catholic grade school in the 70s, and the nuns were sadistic monsters. Beatings and humiliation were as much a part of the daily routine as mass. Parents accepted it and even encouraged it.

  17. avatar christineb says:

    My advice for Looking is the same as Margo’s-stop looking. I met my husband a couple of months after I had sworn off looking for a mate. I had combatted bad relationships and the fear of being alone and just wanted time to concentrate on myself for a little while. I went to a party hoping to find some new girlfriends (I had just moved to a new town) and ended up meeting the love of my life (although I resisted for awhile and he had to resort to getting my number from one of the girls at the party). I don’t know if women give off some sort of “desperation vibe” when we’re looking but most of the successful relationships I know started when the woman swore off meeting guys. Good luck!!

  18. avatar voiceofreason says:

    I love being single at 48 years old! I have no regrets! I do have 2 children and I feel blessed!

  19. avatar sparktest says:

    Hmmm… I like the Nurse Ratched reference for LW#1, but it may be wasted on someone who isn’t old enough to have been born when the movie was made. LW#1, go watch “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest “, just not late at night.

  20. avatar Kathy says:

    If LWl is a genuine letter, the writer can rest assured. Having had a child in special education for years, I can tell you that no one is more monitored than special ed teachers. There are always “para-professionals” in the classrooms, school psychologists talk to the children on a regular basis, and at least twice a year, the parents meet with the teacher, paras and psycholgist to go over the student’s “IEP”. The student is typically present.

  21. avatar Hellster says:

    Re LW#1; back when the earth was still cooling and I was in Catholic elementary school, the nuns would roundly abuse the children in most ways; except sexually. I guess they had to leave something for the priests to do. The first time a kid would complain to his or her parents, the response would usually be along the lines of, “Well, you must have done something to deserve it!” Kids stop complaining after awhile.

    LW#2; at 55 I was a divorcee AND a widow who very much feared her sexual history was . . .history. A good friend suggested I make a list of the qualities I wanted in a man, so I did. We discussed them. Then came the kicker: “you must BE the person you want to meet,” said my friend. Did I want someone clean, kind, funny, smart . . . whatever was on my list, I had to make sure I embodied those traits in my person and behavior. Because it’s axiomatic that we attract what we are, the man I attracted (through an age-appropriate online site) was everything I wanted– and then some. We have been together since 2009, and are exceedingly happy. So it CAN happen. Hop on the computer, join some affinity groups, make sure you embody the traits you wish to attract, keep a positive attitude, and it will happen for you, too.