Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A fond memory

A memory from high school came to me yesterday that made me smile. I wanted to post it up sooner but then hubs asked me to help with something and I got all off track and...well you know how that goes. It also hit me that my in-laws will be here Sunday and I have so much to clean!!! lol They are so great that I don't want the house to be some dog smellin wreck when they get here! I fell completely in love with them the first time they asked me what my two sons like, clothes sizes, and if they already had a college fund started because they said "they're our grandsons too now, you know?" That is just one of the sweetest, big hearted, kind... I could gush on about that forever but it's also wandering off on a tangent, yes? lol

Growing up my best friend's family were from Europe. Her mother taught French at the local high school so from early on I was gentley prodded about it. "When you get to my school you will then take French from me, riiiiight?" Eh, I didn't care which language I took as long as I took one to look good on my college applications. Besides I loved Tina's* mom! Being at their house was a welcome escape from my own and Madame was a mother figure I admired.

Sure enough when the time came I took up French class but I learned more than I thought I would. Not only was learning a new language fun but it was practically effortless for me! In some ways it wasn't always easy, being asked on a weekend if I was over visiting because I'd finished my French homework or spoken to a bit more personally than others in class, but I could tell that she was proud of how well I did in her class. The one time I forgot an assignment all I got was a very sorrowful look and, "you disappoint me today." She assigned me a chapter to translate from French to English to make up for it. I translated it but went so far as to make copies of the pages adding my translation in the exact same place on the pages where the French words were! She smiled at the extra effort and I knew all was forgiven.

I loved it so much not only did I sign up for French II my senior year but I also decided to try Spanish. It was a little odd, the only senior sitting amongst all the lower classmen, and it probably didn't help matters that the teacher singled me out commenting that I was taking both French and Spanish, which was unheard of, but I was strangely proud of it. Normally I wouldn't dare do too well or too poor in school, afraid of drawing undue attention from my parents, but in French and Spanish it was almost like I didn't have a choice! It just came very naturally to me and I found that it wasn't at all confusing to take both at the same time. On the contrary, one only seemed to compliment and strengthen the other for me. Plus I could tell that this teacher was every bit as delighted by my progress in Spanish as Madame was of my French and it was very rewarding to have an adult pleased with me without fear of possible fallout.

In Spanish I sat behind a sophmore, Lacy*. She seemed to be an indifferent student, more interested in the social aspects of school than the academic, so I got various looks intended to insult and hurt which just rolled off my back. If I returned her gaze at all it was with a bland, blank look. At some point I noticed that her looks got longer and more and more she seemed to be studying me like a scientist might examine a strange new bug. Finally one day she turned around and boldly announced that not only could she but she would beat my grade in the class. Far from being upset by this pronouncement I calmly told her, "good, I hope you do." She was a bit taken aback at first, expecting a different reaction I imagine, but slowly a smile grew on her face as she realized that I was serious.

From that day on we became friends of a sort. We didn't associate outside of class but neither of us snubbed the other in the halls either. In class we were a kind of magic! We talked when we could, helped each other, competed in a friendly fashion...we had a great time and both of us were just swimming in A's. A few times when we were a little too chatty I sense that the teacher went a tiny bit easy on us for it because she knew exactly what was going on and was loving it!

Towards the end of the year she told me in all earnestness, "You really helped me. I wouldn't have done half this good if I wasn't trying to beat you." We both teared up and hugged and when the school year ended never saw each other again.

Even after all these years I get a little misty thinking about that. It's so gratifying to me to know that for one person, maybe for just a very short time, I made a real difference in her life for the better. That's just one of the best feelings in the world to me! It makes my heart swell with love and happiness, I feel energized and ready to tackle the next challenge! I know I have more of it inside me and I really want to find a way to make people and this world better. It didn't bring me money or fame and I don't care a thing about that. I absolutely do not ever want fame, that would probably be like torture for me, and though money would be nice I already have enough for my family and I to be comfortable and that's all that really matters. What I really want most right now is a career filled with more moments just like that where I help in some meaningful way, big or small. Think Santa has one in his bag for me?

*of course I changed their names!!


  1. Perfect! And I'm guessing she thinks of you! How wonderful and yes..that is exactly the kind of moments that are magic, that make life worthwhile and joyful. Exactly what we should be aiming for!

    Great story, thanks for sharing!

  2. I think Santa has a bunch of goodies in his back and they are all for you. Your a sweetie and I'm sure you have helped, or made a difference for, more people than you think. It is easier to see for those of us who look from the outside.


  3. Have you ever thought about looking her up?

  4. Breeze, it's absolutely one thing I know I want in life! I don't know exactly how to create more moments like that but if I only can I just know it'll do wonders for me!

    Aw Magaly :) I know I've touched other lives along the way but most often we don't even realize it. I guess that's the whole point, is to do good and trust that you are changing things for the better but I want to know more often when I've done it! That feels pretty selfish though. Eh I'll have to mull that one over for awhile.

    Judy, honestly no. For the most part I've processed and put things from my childhood to rest so it just doesn't occur to me to go dig anything back up out of it.

  5. You're SUCH a great person! And I know just what you mean about the career thing. I feel the same way you do, which is why I finally decided to go into social work.
    And I think Magaly's right, if anyone deserves to get a bagful of goodies it's you!

  6. Aw Jon, shucks...thanks lol I don't really want much though! Just a career that suited me would be just fine :)