Posts tagged ‘Westchester Community College’

June 17, 2011

Pace Orientation and Peter’s Future

Peter headed down to Orientation at Pace University today. Last night he went to see THE GREEN LANTERN with his friend, Matt, at midnight. This morning he got himself up, fed and dressed and I dropped him at the train. He didn’t want or need me to go with him to Orientation. He knew how to get to Pace on his own and he was clear about his scheduled meetings.

For many parents of teenagers, this may seem like a string of amazing accomplishments. For the parent of someone on the spectrum, this is an example of the truly inspiring growth which Peter has achieved in the past year.

I can’t quite believe that Peter will be heading off to college in the fall. This is such an exciting, and heartbreaking, achievement. Heartbreaking in that I will truly miss having him around on a daily basis. He isn’t always the easiest person in the world, especially when communication is called for, but he is a great housemate. Peter has no problem pitching in to clean the kitchen, take out the garbage and generally be useful. He loves to go to the grocery store and does an excellent job of getting the items we need and not purchasing anything not on the list–for someone with impulse issues, this, too, is an accomplishment. Peter is good company and loves to watch NCIS with me when his dad is off at class. He is also ready to give and receive hugs at a moments notice.

Peter is currently taking Calculus 2 at Westchester Community College. He has made a group of friends both at WCC and at the Devereux Foundation where he was taking some evening classes earlier. It is great to see him making plans to do things with his friends. He loves to travel into Manhattan and explore the city and go to clubs. In my life I have never had a desire to go to a club, but Peter is exploring all sorts of activities. I don’t think he dances, he is more the wallflower type, but it is an exotic and foreign experience for him. His friends seem like nice kids and they, too, are all following their own paths to adulthood. Peter may not be your prototypical teenager from an upper middle class suburb, but he has found a social circle that fits his own personality.

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May 23, 2011

The Red Dakota Truck

The Red Dakota
The Truck as Match Maker

Many years ago I traveled to Nashville on business. For some reason I was offered a Ranger pick up as a rental. Having always been madly fascinated by all things country including: music, trucks, cowboys and rodeos, I was quick to take the truck.

At that time we were just moving from the city to the country and I needed a “station car.” My heart was set on a pick up. We headed out to look at the options and picked a red Dakota, which is a 3/4 size truck with a six foot bed. I loved driving that truck to the station for many years. There were only two pick ups in the commuter lot.
Eventually, the truck was stationed in Connecticut at our house and used to haul kayaks to Lake Winchester. I would drive it on the weekends, but over the winter it mostly sat in the garage feeling useless and unloved. Sometimes I brought it down to Rye Brook since my normal car didn’t do too well in the snow. It was not ideal for a truck who really wanted to be a work horse.
Ellie and Peter started driving at the same time. There was no way Peter was going to drive the red truck. It made much more sense for him to use Alex’s green Subaru Forester. Peter had longer distances to drive to Westchester Community College and he wanted a lower profile. The idea of Ellie, who displayed a bit of recklessness in her early driving days, would be ensconced in a big pickup was also a comforting thought. I am not sure she was too hot on the idea of a red pick up, but it was that or the school bus. Short argument.
Rye Brook high school kids all revel in the right to drive to school. Some of these kids drive some pretty fancy rides. I am not sure how wise it is to equip a 17 year old male with a BMW 300 series car or some of the other models I see, but let’s just say that student parking lot has some pretty nice wheels in it. I can promise you there is only one red Dakota pick up. Ellie has embraced her notoriety. She has christened my truck, Betsy Snow, for reasons she can’t quite articulate. She enjoys driving around town recognized by one and all. Aside from a few minor mishaps, she has learned to negotiate that 6-foot bed into most parking spots.
As the spring rites of boys asking girls to Prom heated up, Betsy Snow played a key role. It turns out Jordan, who has the parking spot next to Ellie, liked more than Ellie’s truck. She emerged from the school building one day to see “Prom?” spelled out in colorful post it notes on the back of her truck and Jordan’s stereo blasting. He presented her with roses in front of two gym classes and the track team who were all working out in the adjacent athletic field.
Teenagers may not like to stand out, but that red Dakota has been a welcome bit of notoriety, a match maker and it still does a great job hauling kayaks. Who knows, next year it may be back in the commuter parking lot.
December 21, 2010

Christmas Greetings for 2010 from the Frost Family

Parris Island and our graduate

This has been a year of transformation and growth for everyone in the Frost family. There have been many positive developments, some disappointments and loss, but we have faced our challenges and joys together and we are a formidable force—with our own military detachment!

A catalyst for much of the change was the loss of Jenny’s job with Random House (reported last year) after an amazing 25 year run. We have all had to adjust in many ways to this significant change.  Time will tell, but 2010 should prove to be a watershed year for each of us and we hope and trust that the eventual outcome will be incredibly positive. Already much of the change has been positive, but change can be difficult and unsettling so it has not always been an easy year for any of us.

Returning to school after 30+ years has its challenges, but Jim has done spectacularly well in his first year of grad school. Ellie calls him the “curve buster.” He is motivated and his maturity stands him in good stead. More importantly, he is proving to be a passionate and creative teacher-in-training. He started the process thinking he wanted to teach high school English, but after a string of classroom observations and a course in Young Adult literature, he is leaning towards middle school. It has been a tough year with a heavy load of courses, but Jim’s perfectionism keeps him focused on each new assignment. With three courses each semester, including summer, it has been a push. In 2011 he will again have three courses spring and summer semesters and begin student teaching in the fall. With a little luck and smart hiring on the part of some school district, he will start teaching in January 2012. It is inspirational and exciting to watch him move to this new chapter in his life.

Jim and Alex the day Alex left for boot camp

Alex’s year has been one of dramatic change. Having not found himself in his college studies and in the wake of Jenny’s job loss, Alex decided to join the Marines. He has worked very hard this year and grown immeasurably. Our couch potato started working out at his Recruiting Office in January. He did very well on his entrance exams and took his Oath in early April. His ship date to boot camp (Parris Island) was to be in September, but if a slot opens and the recruiter thinks a recruit is ready, they can go sooner. Alex got the call June 12th. With two hours notice, we said our goodbyes and he headed to Parris Island for one of the most demanding 13 weeks of training in the world. It was tough and those first few weeks’ letters were heartbreaking, but Alex did incredibly well. We had the honor of seeing him graduate September 10th and it was a thrill for all of us. Our boy lost 25 lbs. and became a man with a maturity and bearing worthy of a Marine. After a brief leave, he did a month of Infantry training and is now stationed in Pensacola where he is getting Intel training. He has a security clearance and we don’t know exactly what he is doing, but he continues to excell and seems to truly enjoy his life as a Marine. We look forward to a 96 hour visit at New Year’s. He should be attached to a unit in the Spring. We don’t yet know where.

Family Day at Parris Island

Peter has also had a positively eventful year. Having attended the F.L. Chamberlain School for the past two years, he graduated in June. It was tremendously exciting to see Peter reach this rite of passage. For the first time in three years, Peter has been home with us to live and it has been unspeakably wonderful to have him with us. Peter has been thrilled to be with his cats, Zena and Zoe, and I think he likes us, too. Over the summer and fall, Peter has been taking classes at Westchester Community College. He is focused on math and physics. On his 20th birthday in August, Peter got his driver’s license—yet another major milestone. Peter’s next step may be Pace University in the fall or he may continue with WCC, but he is growing up fast and we are proud of his achievements.

Our graduate

This has been Ellie’s senior year of high school and that is without a doubt a year of big transition. It has been both great fun and unendurable misery to work through the college application process. Visiting the schools is fun.  The essays and general tension and anxiety are the pits. This summer Ellie spent three weeks hiking and camping with NOLS in Wyoming. This was a rigorous wilderness experience and she learned a lot. The Wind River Valley was spectacularly gorgeous, but the regimen was quite demanding. Nothing stops Ellie, so she did fine, but it was no picnic. She continues with cross country and basketball and has a full load of AP classes. She also got her license and is driving Jenny’s red Dakota truck which she has named Betsy Snow for reasons unfathomable to the rest of us. Her room is a mess and she displays many characteristics of the species adolescent girl, but we are aware that this is her last year before flying the nest.


Without a doubt the saddest event this year was the loss of Jenny’s mom, Bobbie Isserman. As hard as it is to put into words what this means, it has to be a part of this news roundup. Bobbie was such a tremendously talented, intelligent, graceful and witty woman. She had such a positive mental attitude and lived her life fully. She is missed by so many and it is still hard to believe she is gone. Ferd is managing remarkably well and deserves tremendous respect for his attitude. He is busy and engaged and we are thrilled he will be joining us for Christmas.

Other big events this year include a delightful family reunion with Jim’s family in Livonia/Ann Arbor July 4th weekend and Ellie and Jenny’s summer long training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer (sixty mile) Walk October 8-10 for which they raised over $15,000.

Ellie and Jenny at Camp

The Matriarch and her children

With so much going on in the family, it was useful to have Jenny home more this year. After so many years of being at work, she was around to keep things running and provide support.  Watching the evening news and cooking dinner weeknights were both unaccustomed pleasures. Dakota was particularly pleased to have Jenny at home more. Not working has taken a lot of adjustment and thinking through the future has been a lengthy process. She is engaged in a multi-pronged full-frontal assault on the job market and there will hopefully be positive news in the future. It certainly won’t be for lack of trying.  One of the positives of this year has been having time to learn including social media. You can follow Jenny on Twitter @frostjenny, on Facebook, visit her web site, read her blog and catch her on LinkedIn.  Meeting lots of new people and networking has also been both challenging and enjoyable. Some knitting and beading were also done as well as the growing of a vegetable garden with abundant tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflowers and herbs.

The Summer Garden




We all look forward to the developments of 2011. We wish you and your families all the best for this holiday season and the New Year.

August 2, 2010

The Graduate

The past month has been tumultuous with both good and bad things taking place. More on some of that later.  I can’t believe it has been longer than a month since I last posted. Well, let’s look at something very good then to get things moving forward.

June 21st was our son, Peter’s graduation from the F. L. Chamberlain School. High school graduation is a milestone in everyone’s life. Graduation is the demarkation between childhood and adulthood. Upon graduation most people are either moving on to college or beginning a career. Certainly the future is filled with a level of independence and responsibility not before experienced.

Graduation is a joyous time in most lives and a celebration for both the graduate and his or her family. That was certainly the case for Peter.

Peter is 19 and for the past three years, he has not lived at home, but away at school. This was not really a chosen course, but one made necessary by the challenges that Peter has faced in his life. For a long time Peter suffered from undiagnosed problems which included significant depression, social isolation, failing grades in school and the inability to cope with daily life. Happily, Peter was diagnosed about a year ago with Aspergers. Having a diagnosis doesn’t change reality, but it helps to put a handle on things.

Peter has made tremendous progress and we are all tremendously proud of his achievement in graduating high school. This summer Peter is taking a class at Westchester Community College. His idea of a fun summer class is pre-Calculus. Peter is also learning to drive–something he is now ready to do. The plan is for more classes at WCC this school year and then (fingers crossed) on to a four year school.

Peter is exceptionally bright. He has a fantastic sense of humor and a most winning smile. It is a joy to have him home and to see him starting on his path to adulthood. We are all looking forward to watching him in the coming years.

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