Eleanor Craig Green, a pioneering educator whose memoirs include the bestseller P.S. Your Not Listening, died on August 7 in Bridgeport, CT. She was 87 years old.
In 1965, many children with special needs were sent to programs or institutions segregated from mainstream schools. Green volunteered to teach Connecticut's pilot class bringing "socially and emotionally maladjusted children" to an ordinary elementary school. Despite community resistance and student defiance, her class demonstrated the social and educational benefits of "mainstreaming" kids with special needs.
Contrasting classroom drama with her life as a mother of four young children and the wife of an aspiring writer, her 1972 memoir, P.S. Your Not Listening, was a bestseller at home and abroad. (The title, with its spelling error, quoted a note from a student.) Writing as Eleanor Craig, she authored two more books about her work with troubled children, including If We Could Hear the Grass Grow and One, Two, Three: The Story of Matt, a Feral Child.
A fourth book, The Moon is Broken, chronicled her relationship with her eldest daughter, performance artist Ann Craig, who earned a cult reputation at Lower East Side dance clubs before her death in 1987.
Raised in Watertown, MA, Eleanor was the daughter of John Russell, a prominent Beacon Hill attorney. She married William Craig and settled in Westport, where she lived until the final months of her life. Her first husband's emergence as a bestselling author of World War II histories and suspense novels inspired her own writing career.
In 1978, she married fellow Westporter Paul Green, a magazine publisher. Their home on Old Mill Beach was the busy center of a large blended family and an extensive network of devoted friends. Paul Green became an activist against Parkinson's disease, and Eleanor Green did not retire from her family-centered therapy practice until 2016.
She is survived by her husband, Paul Green, by her siblings, Claire Megan of Wellesley, MA, and John Russell of Hull, MA, by children and stepchildren Richard Craig of Arlington, VA, William Craig of Thetford Center, VT, Ellen Perlwitz of Putnam, CT, Andrew Green of Oakland, CA, Alex Green of Oakland, CA, Doug Green of Washington, D.C., Katherine Appy of Amherst, MA and Peter Green of Westport, and by twenty grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian burial, August 31 at 11 a.m. at St. Luke's Church, 84 Long Lots Road in Westport. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut.
Eleanor will be interred on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 11:00AM in the family plot here at Willowbrook Cemetery, 395 Main Street.
The Harding Funeral Home of Westport is directing the arrangements.