In my week 3 blog assignment I was to set aside space to talk about my childhood and those people in my life who love, cared and nurtured me. I find myself searching for 5 nurturing people as there were those who I thought loved me and did “nurture” me but when my parents divorced and my father passed away right before I turned 17, I was abandoned by those who I thought loved me. Sol in ways this reflection is a painful journey, but there is light at the end of the tunnel….
So here are the people who come to mind –
My dad – and not just some fantasy idea of him. Some people might think that because he died suddenly that I hold him up on a pedastool, but honestly he was always my champion. He encouraged me in all my endeavors, and showed up at functions to see me even when he wasn’t “allowed” to be there. Each year on my birthday he would take me to the mall and I could go to any store and pick out an outfit. He always made me feel special, sometimes at the expense of other people in his life.
My paternal grandmother Evelyn-I spent a lot of time with my grandmother as a child and always cried when it was time to part. I came along at the right time to get spoiled by her-my older cousins were older and getting married. Her husband passed when I was 3 and I believe she poured all her energy into me, much to the dismay of my mother. When my parents divorced it seemed like a battleground to be able to spend time with her, but we did. She introduced me to the arts – music, theatre, fine dining, and card games. Ah, we would spend hours playing cards and just talking. When her health declined, it was all I could do to deal with it. My father had died in Sept. and she passed the following June, right before I graduated from high school. It was the end of my support system as I knew it.
My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. B. – Well Mrs. B. retired recently after teaching for almost 40 years at the elementary school I attended. She also, at the coaxing of her children, joined the world of social networking and I found her on Facebook. I sent her a message and we have been talking ever since. I believe that God puts people in your life at the right time, and Mrs. Butcher-Mrs. B. to her students, was that person for me. My parents were going through a messy divorce during my 5th and 6th grade years and Mrs. B. gave me the stability I needed to get through it. It is probably the reason why I remember so much from those years. The outings, the history simulations, the photography lab, the squaredancing and finally the year-end trip to Newport Dunes- all wonderful memories.
Recently I sent her a message and told her I was working on my masters degree and if she might be willing to answer some questions for me. She was the teacher every kid wanted – parents requested her for their kids-there was something special about her and I wanted to be like her when I grew up. In many ways I did. I post an entry devoted to our correspondence in the future.
My girl scout leader – Mrs. Winchell. Her oldest daughter and I were in the same grade and went through elementary school together. I spent a lot of time at her house, especially after my parents split and I learned how to sew, camp, and slaughter and pluck chickens. She never let me get away with anything and made sure I followed through on tasks. I am still in contact with Jeanette, who is a high school science teacher here in Riverside County. She tells me how her mom is doing and how much she loved being so involved with us when we were younger.
These special people took special interest in me for me – didn’t expect anything in return but for me to do my best. I believe I assimilated this and have strived to do the same for kids who come in and out of my life.