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Uniquely Stella

At the end of World War II, 19-year-old Stella leaves her job at a war factory in Chicago to embark on a journey of unexpected consequences. Boarding a train headed west, she meets her new best friend, a young black woman. Together they learn the complexities and depth of discrimination and prejudice. These lessons fuel Stella's poignant and powerful journey that truly begins with the birth of her daughter with Down Syndrome.During an era when handicapped children were kept hidden, institutionalized, or even allowed to die, Stella refuses this mindset, defying conventional thinking.


Facing her own fears and denial, she confronts society's exclusion of those who are different. She must accept her husband's desertion due to his guilt over fathering a disabled child. Even her supporters struggle with what to do and how to help. With stubborn determination, Stella rejects what she is expected to do when she realizes what she must do.


When eventually confronting a school system that can legally refuse to educate those that don't fit in, Stella becomes intent on giving voice to an ignored population.Inspired by a true story, Uniquely Stella combines love, humor, and grace into a tale reminding us that the policies and laws governing us should always be guided by a passion for equality. 


How does a woman become courageous?

When does she learn to be formidable? How does she become powerful enough to make a difference and change the world? This is the story of Stella, inspired by the life of my mother, LaVerne. 

Donna in the log house.

The Adventure boat.jpg

The Adventure Boat at Hidden Lake, 1962

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