I don’t know how Robert met Mary Cummings, but he did. She was a nurse in St. Louis, Missouri. As it turns out, she was at least 20 years older than Rob. They spoke every night for hours. Evidently, she was going through trying times and Robert was helping her cope.

Of course, I didn’t know of these phone calls until I began getting the phone bills—ranging from $500 to $900 each! In those days you paid by the minute for long distance. This really wasn’t funny.

The day Robert passed away, I received an Express Mail envelope with two smaller envelopes inside. One was addressed to the family and one to Robert from Mary. Somehow, she knew the end was near. The letters were very touching; so touching that Robert's sister Cheryl decided to read a portion of one of them at the funeral.

We stayed in touch with Mary for quite a while and then lost touch. Years passed and when I was running for Woman of the Year, I decided I had to find Mary again. It took a lot of detective work by me and my friends, but I found her and we spoke. She was in her 60s, had been married for quite a while, but never had children. She and her husband decided to adopt two small children and she is thrilled to have them.