ANOTHER MARY Margaret C. Brooks
officer of the Psychological Clinic, University of Pennsylvania
story book Marys including "Mary, Mary, quite
Marys, including the Magdalenes and queens, Marys of the legitimate and illegitimate stage?an endless procession of them, sometimes masquerading as Mary Annes, Mary Elizabeths, or Mary Louises. It was one of the latter who recently challenged our interest?first incidentally, then temporarily, and finally permanently. Figuratively speaking, this Mary now has the whole Clinic staff waiting upon and salaaming to her for, in spite of her many deprivations and handicaps, she has charm with a "capital C," and is feminine from head to toe. "Charm" and "feminine" are pre-analytic generalizations which never have been successfully interpreted post-analytically,?that is, scientifically. Mary Louise, aged six years, came to the clinic with her foster mother who desired her mental status with a view to adoption. She was taken before a class for her clinic tests and in short order had the attention of the entire group?a very mixed one?riveted on her
every reaction. Before going further, it is Louise is not a fair, golden haired
appropriate to add child, with a pink
complexion; in fact, she is neither blonde nor brunette, rather nondescript hair, which regardless of exact shade, is very straight with just an ordinary bob. Her skin is pasty and rather sallow, and to make matters worse, she has lost her front teeth. But Mary Louise doesn't need curls or rosy cheeks or front teeth, for she has a certain something in the guise of personality, charm and femininity which functions independent of things physical. She is graceful, cheerful, interested, generous, self-reliant, and above all else?friendly. Not the brand of friendliness which makes itself heard, but the kind which is mute and dog-like?the kind that seeks your hand or a place beside you without any verbal expression?never obnoxious and always unostentatious. This attractive Mary has a very unsavory family history, necessitating a protracted period of institutional life for her, where the great numbers of other unfortunates made it impossible to cater tc. much else than physical cleanliness and appetites. No chance for individual attention; no opportunity to exercise initiative; no
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL CLINIC
outlet for the
personal encouragement from
When she first came to the clinic, she had been in the foster months, and even though much underweight and height,
home six te
change has been marked.
program underway, mental health.
The foster mother had set about to condition in lieu of all else?and with that
wisely sought expert
She solved the Witmer Formboard with much trial and error and little plan. According to the standards at her age level, this
performance placed her in the poorest 20%. She failed the Witmer Cylinders, showing trainability on the second trial, after teaching, but she seemed to forget the method on the third trial, making many errors?and doubling the time. Her Intelligence Quotient on the Stanford Revision of the Binet-Simon Scale was 83?largely referable to lack of comprehension and inability to cope with problems of likenesses and differences. Her auditory memory span for digits was five, but she did not get the concept of the reverse digits. No visual span was obtained as she is unable to read figures. Her auditory span placed her in the 40% group?inferior to 30%, and superior to 30%. Her responses to the test material did not seem an index to her ability, but the picture is rather one of infantilism, due largely to neglect. Consequently, she was placed in the Clinic school with a half dozen others of her same age for observation. At native
her status is that of the average child for the median group. Mary Louise of one especially bad
It may be too late to break habit, and she may not respond
normally to academic material beof her babyhood history, but one thing is reasonably predictable?namely, that, wherever Mary Louise is placed, if the surcause
only fairly propitious, she will earn her way into elders and playmates because of that indescribable her the hearts of undefinable something labeled "charm."