I know the value of reading those things we have written in the past. I remember seeing how much our children used to enjoy having me read from my journal things I'd written about them or reading to them those things they had said which I in turn wrote in my journal.
My own maternal great great grandfather, Valentine Kimes, born in 1811 in Virginia, wrote a journal when he was in his 70's recapping events in his life. Fortunately that journal which had been written on foolscap paper had been given to a descendant, and I was blessed years later to receive a copy of it. Although many of the events in his life were very different from my own, there were things that I learned about how he handled some of the challenges in his life that were very inspiring to me. At the time he wrote his journal he even questioned its value to any future reader. I will be forever grateful for that which he took time to write. A very touching moment happened after I had read a few pages from his journal to our then three-year-old daughter one evening at bedtime. When I completed reading, I saw tears starting to stream down her cheeks. When I tried to comfort her, she choked back tears to exclaim, "When will I every see him?" I was thankful for the calming words I was able to tell her.
Teachers who made a difference in my life
The very first teacher in my life was my Mother from whom I have learned so much, including a desire to study hard in school.
Mother, age 98, enjoying the sunshine and flowers at the nursing home today.
As a first grader standing in the cafeteria line with a full tray of food, a boy ahead of me made a sudden move which caused me to drop my tray. The bowl of hot soup which had been on my tray was now spilled all over my socks and shoes. My teacher quickly came to my rescue and had me walk back to the classroom with her. She hurriedly removed my socks and soaked leather shoes. She cleaned off my shoes, rinsed out my socks and laid them on the radiator heater by the classroom wall. She made sure someone brought me some lunch, and then the two of us just visited while my socks dried. I have always remembered her kindness to me that day.
When I was in the third grade at a two room school, our teacher liked to crochet during the lunch time. She asked some of the girls if they would like to learn to crochet instead of going out to recess. Several of us were interested. She gave me my first crochet lessons, and I crocheted a lot of caps that year. I always thought that was nice of her to use her precious time to teach us something that I'm sure wasn't in her contract to do so. Of course at that point in my life, I knew nothing about teacher contracts, just that she wanted to help us learn how to crochet. While I don't crochet all the time now, I did expand on my crocheting skills as an adult.
There was a Christmas play that I was in the year I was in the fifth grade. I was kind of embarrassed when I learned I was to play the part of a Grandma in the play. All I had to do was read a poem I had written for a classroom assignment. It had been included in the script as a poem Grandma had received from someone. I think that may have been the first poem I had ever written. To this day I still dabble in writing poetry and still think that there is a season and a time for poetry in our lives.
By the time I entered seventh grade our two room school was consolidated into a larger school district, and I attended a large junior high school. If I remember right, we all had one term of art. One of the assignments we had was worth quite a bit of our grade. We were using poster paints. Just as I was completing my painting, I got more paint on my brush than I should have and a drop splatted on the painting. I was very upset, because I thought there was no hope of getting a good grade now. My teacher came to my rescue and made a suggestion. She said that I could try to turn it into a balloon and paint a string on it. So in my finished painting of a street scene, there was a balloon floating in the air. A few weeks later, my teacher asked me if I had seen the display cabinet in the hall. At the end of class, I walked by the display cabinet and was surprised to see my painting displayed for all to see. By that experience, she taught me that things are not always as bad as they first appear, and that when life gives you lemons, turn them into lemonade!