Donna Ray

Donna Ray heard Ken's name once more, about seven years later.

Donna graduated social work school at a time when not many jobs were available. She went to work at a nursing home in downtown Brooklyn. In the meantime, her sister died of an enlarged heart, and Donna lost interest in her goal of working with the terminally ill.

She worked for a year and a half as a psychotherapist at a Brooklyn-based social services agency, and then went out on her own. She had stayed in touch with her old friends, and she used her contacts at Kearns and other brokerages to begin a therapy practice specializing in brokers and other high-powered salespeople. Kearns and several other firms hired her to make "wellness" presentations to employees and then put her on retainer as an advisor. She took what she had learned and began running day-long seminars aimed at helping salespeople relieve their tension and overcome the obstacles that stood between them and success. She helped other clients figure out that they weren't cut out for the profession.

Five years after graduation, she was making more than half of the $400,000.00 she had made as a stockbroker, and could have been making more still if she hadn't chosen to reinvest in the business. She hired two employees whom she trained to present the seminars. She sold some self-published materials and was at work on a book.

Donna was very happy, though she felt like two people at once: a compassionate woman who voted Democrat, gave money to Emily's List, the ACLU and Medecins San Frontieres, and sat on the board of a local nonprofit involved with introducing disadvantaged children to computer technology; and the dispassionate saleswoman, who dressed and spoke much the same as the stockbroker of years before.

Donna married a civil liberties attorney and they bought a brownstone in Brooklyn Heights. They have two wonderful children, Timothy, 5, and Kara, 3.

Donna never heard about Samantha Lazare from Ken Copeland, but she bought Samantha's second book after it was mentioned approvingly in "Books in Brief" in the Sunday New York Times. It was an account of a New York City scandal of the 1980's, which began with fraud in the contract for a handheld computer for the traffic police and ended with the suicide of a borough president.

On the title page she saw the dedication: "In loving memory of Ken Copeland."

The words certainly implied that Ken had died. She picked up the phone, dialed Manhattan information, and found no listing for him.

She was curious and sad and thought about ways to find out what had happened. She could call Psy Systems and talk to his boss, Lyle Doggett, or she could write Samantha Lazare to inquire about the dedication.

But she did nothing. Her life was busy and happy, she had met Ken a long time ago, and if Ken had died she didn't really want to know.