Good morning. I’ve been thinking lately about people who have made an impression on me during my life’s journey. It’s a mighty short list. Not that there aren’t a lot of people out there who are impressive, but rather, I try not to think more highly (or lowly) of one person over another. I’ve always been that way. I’ve never been one to be excited over some famous person coming to town.
The first person I remember was my father’s cousin, Margarite. She came to stay with us after my mother died. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was not to be permanent. She just agreed to the job temporarily until a more permanent situation could be arranged. I remember her because she loved me. I was not quite four years old, yet I can still picture her playing with me, reading to me, holding me on her lap, hugging me and letting me hug her. That was more important to her than washing the dishes after lunch. I loved her.
Then she disappeared. I don’t remember seeing her much at all after that. She lived in the next town which seemed hours away when I was young.
When I was a young teen, I was visiting her sister in her home. My aunt, who moved in with us when I was five, and her sister, were close cousins and often did things together. We were upstairs for some reason. Margarite was in bed very ill. I deliberately did not go in to her bedroom to talk with her. I had strange feelings of wanting to speak to her, but I realized how mad I still was at her. She had just disappeared in my young mind. To my way of thinking, she had abandoned me. I remember feeling guilty about feeling mad. She, of course, would never have guessed after ten years how I felt. It gave me satisfaction to turn my back on her and not go into her room. For that I was sorry for a long time. I never was able to ask her, “Why did you leave me?”
Another person who really impressed me was my guidance counselor in high school. She did not have much time for any one individual student to counsel, but she did take time to talk with me a few times while I was having major problems my senior year. She asked if she could talk with my father during that time. It’s strange that I don’t remember if it was before or after I tried to commit suicide. ( see my blogs on my father) I just knew she was there.
At first our relationship was purely counselor-student, but I kept in touch with her over the years and we became friends. When I moved to Texas I still kept in touch with her when I visited my home town. We would have lunch together and catch up with news of our families. I couldn’t wait to show her my son for the first time. She’s in a nursing home now. I finally tracked her down but then I lost her telephone number so I still can’t contact her. I do miss talking with her. She was so encouraging all my life. She died in2009 and I didn’t have a chance to say good-bye. I would have liked to have done that.
This may surprise the few of you who really know me, but another person in my life who impresses me is my sister. When her children were growing up, it didn’t matter whether it was 1 PM or 1 AM when you visited her house. She always kept it looking like a showcase out of Better Homes and Gardens. Everything had its place. You’d never guess her house was anything other than a model home. She sewed, she cooked, she knitted. She was in every imaginable club she could find. When she was in school she always carefully laid out her clothes the night before and inspected them for the slightest flaws. She is still that way. I often wondered how she became that way when I was the exact opposite. I guess I’ll never know. I guess she feels she must be in control of every possible situation whereas I was one who felt I had no contol over anything.
My uncle was very important to me. He and his family lived three doors away. I spent more time talking with him than I ever could begin to think about talking with my own father, even when my own father was still alive. He was way over six feet and solidly built. To a little girl, he was a giant of a man. I felt like he kind of took on the role of surrogate father.
I loved to go to his home just to visit. When I would go back home we would make arrangements to go out to eat, just the two of us. He made me feel special. He made me feel noticed. He took an interest in my life.
I asked him to walk me down the aisle when I was married. We were talking on the phone the night before. I mentioned that it had started to snow. As he was walking to the window to see for himself, he tripped over the foot stool. When I saw him the next evening, there he was in his tuxedo with this huge shiner around his eye. He had hit his cheek. When I moved to CT and IL and then to TX, his letters to me were always a joy to receive. He kept me updated on all the trivial things happening with the family…the kinds of things that make one still feel bonded. He died an accidental death and I couldn’t go to his funeral. To this day, I still miss him and the positive influence he had on my life.
I guess I would have to include Maxine on my list. Maxine lives across the street from me and now that we are both retired, she comes over several times a week to sit on the glider on the front porch with me.
She’s not old enough to be my mother but her husband is old enough to be my father. There’s 13 years difference in their ages.
I sometimes feel I have a mother hen in her. She’s kind of a best friend, sister, mother, advisor, micromanager all rolled into one five foot two chunk of pure energy. Every day she’s out working in her yard, taking care of her husband, helping out her daughter, etc. She sneaks our visits in in between her other jobs.
She was a good neighbor from the moment I met her. The day we moved into our house my son became cranky and feverish. I thought he was getting another ear ache but it turned out to be fifth disease. Another neighbor had been kind enough to bring a pitcher of lemonade to my door while I was unpacking. I returned the empty pitcher to her and asked her if she knew where I could find a pediatrician. She found a name for me but didn’t know how to reach his office.
Enter Maxine. She was out in the yard and I asked her if she knew the way there. My son’s temperature was climbing and my worry must have shown. Right on the spot she volunteered to drive us to the pediatrician’s office. I was so thankful. She was out in the street with her daughter cheering when my son learned to ride a bicycle. She and her husband have driven me to several doctor’s appointments and surgeries when I was not allowed to drive myself. She attended my son’s high school graduation and would have attended his college ceremony if he had opted to participate.
Yes, she has impressed me with the distance she is willing to go to be my friend. There have been people along my life’s path all along. I just needed to take off my blinders and see them. Gotta run to church. Namaste. Attic Annie