Mary Lou Melloy Interview
On December 24, 1958, Mary Lou and Don Melloy were told their daughter Cindy should be placed in an institution. Mary Lou said, “My response was that they didn’t know what they were talking about…a very unhappy, aggressive mother left the room.” Instead, the Melloy’s took Cindy home and she started receiving services from Easterseals in Evansville, Indiana.
The Melloys eventually moved to Indianapolis. When Cindy was five years old, Mary Lou visited every school corporation in Marion County trying to find the best school for Cindy. Mary Lou decided Washington Township would be the easiest school to "strong arm" into taking her daughter. Cindy attended school at Washington Township until she was 18. After leaving school, Cindy went to the Noble workshop. When a new executive director came in wanting to do away with the workshop, Mary Lou was ready to organize a parent protest. However, a day after attending a meeting with the director, she called the director to tell him to find Cindy a job. For the next 20 plus years, Cindy worked for a pharmaceutical company until her job was outsourced.
“If something happened to Don or I, everybody that works with Cindy, my kids, my neighbors, everybody knows to go to this one spot and everything is in there,” explains Mary Lou of the death folder she maintains. Important documents such as birth certificate, power of attorney and trust fund papers are included in the folder.
Mary Lou also discusses staffing issues, funding, and her parent advocacy work. She says, “I was very busy.” A few of her activities included planning Christmas parties, attending conferences, arranging speakers for meetings, and advising parents. Mary Lou was interviewed in 2017.
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