Good News Monday #31: Paint, Autism, and High schoolers

It seems like almost every week, I must begin with a caveat acknowledging all the bad news: COVID-19 upswing in my state and my county, more people shot during civil unrest, the threat of election interference, FDA influenced by politicians, and on and on. However,

There is some really good news. And lots of evidence of people doing good things. Here’s some I found this week.

Neighbors helping neighbors

Jimmy and Marilyn Curcuru got an anonymous note in their mailbox calling their house and “eyesore.”

Jimmy and Marilyn have been part of the community for over 50 years. They knew the house needed work. Jimmy had a quadruple bypass a couple years ago, followed by failing kidneys. Marilyn has multiple sclerosis. Still, until Covid-19 hit, Jimmy worked part-time at a local hardware store.

Jimmy and Marilyn were doing the best they could considering their failing health and financial situation.

When their daughter got wind of the anonymous letter, she posted it on Facebook with this response:

“To my concerned neighbor, thank you for letting me know my house needs to be painted. Guess what? I know. I’ve been working on it for almost four years. I myself always drive by houses that look like mine and wonder what’s up in their lives. I don’t judge them not knowing what they may be going through.”

For more got to

This story hit a chord with me because of a personal experience. I moved to Chicagoland over 30 years ago with my four kids. The screen door of my townhouse didn’t latch properly and would sometimes slap open in the breeze like a loose tooth in a kindergarder’s mouth. In my mailbox, after our the very first day in the neighborhood, I received a note, “Your door makes the the neighborhood look like a slum.” Nice way to be welcomed to the neighborhood, don’t you think?

Some wounds heal, but the memory of the injury remain. The best we can do is to remember “but by the Grace of God, go I.”

For Jimmy and Marilyn, “neighbors” from around the globe thought about that and stepped up to the plate. One started a GoFundMe campaign and raised nearly $43,000. Not only was that enough for a new paint job, but the house got a roof repair, clapboards replaced, and some updated windows.

Now that’s some good news.

Super-sensitive hearing saves woman

Kasey Brislane received the Girl Scout Medal of Honor for saving her neighbor who fell on black ice in January. The 69-year old neighbor broke her leg and twisted her arm and lay trapped under a parked car. Kasey’s super-sensitive hearing saved the day. She heard her neighbor screaming and came running out into the night. She called 911 and the rest is Girl Scout history. Thirteen-year old Kasey points out that without her autism, it might not have happened.

30 years later, high school students remember

Wait, that’s not possible.

Over 30 years ago an EF-5 tornado ripped apart Plainfield, Illinois, killing 29 people and injuring hundreds.

The high school took a direct hit killing three people. That memory transfers from one generation to the next.

Larry’s Diner was the place where people went to gather, gain nourishment, and heal after the tornado. Now, due to the impact on his business, owner, Gus Alexopoulus, needs help. So high school student-athletes stepped up to the plate and did what they could. They provided sundaes to patrons and surprised Larry with a big check.

Note: Lore has it that Plainfield is the birthplace of the very first ice cream sundae. Check out more history of Larry’s Diner and Plainfield here.

Some of these things were fairly little, neighbors helping neighbor. It reminds me of something my Dad said, “When you’re feeling blue, look around and find someone to help.” Helping is, indeed, a good way to wash away sadness. So it’s off to volunteer at the food pantry for me.

What’s on your good news radar this week? I’d love to hear. More is always better.