Words from a Reader

The “Writing Life Stories” e-mails I receive are such treasures. As soon as I see there is one in my inbox, I read it immediately. I look forward to them and never know how they will touch me. They can be interesting, informative, humorous, and/or touching.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

What we need is Empathy

The Federal Government gives and the State Governments take away.

After reading this article in The Week, a wonderful little magazine that tells the news succinctly and with no bias, and after listening to some of the Sunday news shows, I don't think these governors should be able to cut the unemployment payments for those who are out of work. Many of those who aren't working are mothers who have had to make a decision to stay home with kids instead of going out to a job every day. They had to quit when the pandemic hit so they could become teachers as well as mothers to their children. The virus has not gone away even though we feel better since we can get vaccinated. I was in an office with a woman who said she had not had her shots and was not going to get the vaccination.  I put on my mask.

Why should people endanger their lives for employers who fired them or who are not taking all precautions to keep them safe if they do go back to work? Around my area, I am happy to see some signs asking for workers and offering $10 an hour for the job that paid around seven before the pandemic. As one person in the article in The Week says, this virus forced low-income people into a kind of union whereby they can demand a living wage if they are to go back into the workforce. 

Some of my friends who support this idea of forcing those unemployed to take any job available by cutting off their unemployment benefits, claim that the checks they receive as unemployment make it easy for them to sit home and do nothing. Those who think this way have the misguided idea that low-income workers are lazy and just don't want to go to work. I wonder who those people were who kept the grocery stores running, who were considered essential workers last year? I don't think they are lazy.

If companies pay a living wage, people will go to work if they can physically do so, and if it is work they enjoy or the company is good to their employees. Everyone knows that unemployment benefits end, so many are taking this time to look for better jobs or better opportunities. Some have gone to school to learn a new skill. Perhaps they had to turn to another method to earn during the pandemic. Many became entrepreneurs with stay-at-home businesses. Good for them, I say. Take advantage of what is available.

I did that myself. I could no longer teach in a face-to-face setting, so I had to learn another way to reach my students. In my job as Program Coordinator for NCWN-West, I could not organize and hold a writing conference as we have done in earlier years. But I could use Zoom and hold writing events online for our members. I found I reached more of our members who lived in distant counties because they could sit at home and meet online with lots of other writers. 

We have helped new authors who recently published books to find an audience in places the authors might never appear in person. I also had the opportunity to attend conferences I would not have been able to attend, but with Zoom and online sessions, I was there and learned about writers, their books, their methods of teaching, and what others want to know about the world of writing.

Those governors who have no empathy for those who have struggled with losing their home, having to use food banks for their families, and who take care of their loved ones should just try to put themselves in the shoes of the unemployed who need their benefits. For a year they had no work and no income. Some of our leaders have no empathy for others. Just walk a mile in their shoes is an old and true proverb that we can all take to heart and make this a far better world for everyone. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

The end of a delightful weekend, beginning of a beautiful week

Sunday was Mothers' Day and although I have no children born of my body, I have had some wonderful children to nurture and love in my life. 
One of them never forgets to send me a sweet and loving card on Mother's Day. It feels good to know that I have had a positive impact on someone's life, especially someone I care for. It pleases me, too, that she appreciates her aunt who loves her like a daughter.  

My friend Joan and I enjoyed a delightful Mother's Day brunch together at one of our more upscale restaurants. We had not sat face-to-face in over a year, so I was happy when she called and invited me to this lovely affair. We were given a large bouquet of flowers after our meal. Like me, Joan lives alone since her husband passed away some years ago, and we face many of the same challenges in life. She is a fine poet and an active member of our writers' network. It was fun to laugh with her again.
Flowers I received from the Ridges 

My sister drove me home from her house on Thursday and stayed with me until Saturday. 
I had spent two weeks with Gay and Stu as I healed from my recent fall. I tease them saying their house is Moring's Resort because they pamper me and care for Lexie as well when we are there. I am so, so blessed to have my sister, Gay. And, we enjoy being together just as we did when we were kids.

I am happy to say that I am once again walking without help and feeling good. I now have much respect for those who must depend on walkers and wheelchairs and still manage on their own. I look forward to the coming weeks and getting back into my regular routine. 

My friend, Michelle, and I are genealogy buffs. We spent a few hours together Saturday researching the Posey family because we both have that line in our history. She is a whizz when it comes to online research and could give the TV show some pointers, I am sure. She has discovered that she and I are distant cousins through the Posey family going back to Francis Posey who came to this country when it was being settled in the 1600s or 1700s. We both spend too much time at the computer working on genealogy.

I am once again looking for some part-time help with office work in my studio. I miss Corie, the lovely Pressley girl, who now has a full-time job. I need someone who can use a keyboard, read cursive writing, organize, and a few other things. I am over-run with paper in this world where we are supposed to be paper-free. Recently I filled three garbage bags with paper in one afternoon, and I still have much more to get rid of.

A big plus in my life is my weekly Memoir class taught on Zoom. I am proud of how well my students are learning and the wonderful stories they are sharing. Tuesday afternoons are a bright spot in my week. I will take a break from teaching this summer but plan to teach again in the fall.

I hope you all had a great Mothers' Day if you are a mother. If you have lost your mother as I have, I feel your sadness. Some who were dear mothers in my family have passed away since last May. My sympathies to their children. And my deepest sorrow for those mothers who have lost children. 

Thank you all for checking in here with me and reading my posts. I love to hear from you either with a comment on this blog or if you want to send an email to my msn.com address.  You are all special to me. May your coming week be healthy and happy. 

My mother, Lois Robison Council surrounded by those who loved her most.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

We never know the worth of water until the well runs dry. --- English proverb

Recently, when the pump on my well was broken, and I had no water for twenty-four hours, I became aware of how much I needed water. In the bathroom, in the kitchen, to drink, to clean, to quench the thirst of my flowers on my deck garden. Lexie, my sweet little canine companion, must have water to drink. We take it for granted that when we turn on the spigot, water will flow. 

Early the morning after the pump broke, a crew showed up from the Well company and within a few hours, my pump was repaired. Soon I had water in the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry room, and I felt a huge relief.

But the problem continued. The water that came from my faucets at the kitchen sink was red! The commodes in all bathrooms filled with rusty water and stained the porcelain. No point in scrubbing. Every time water came from the water closet, it was reddish-brown.

I have a whole house water filter, but it did no good although it was brand new. The filter under my sink in the kitchen could not clean the red water. And in the laundry, the washing machine filled with dirty water which would stain my clothes rather than clean them.

I called the Well Company. Someone came when I was not home, checked the well for chemicals, and told me all was fine. He did not come inside and see the dirty water coming from every pipe. He had no suggestions other than getting a good filter.

After almost a week of red water, it finally began to run clear again. I was told that when my water was turned off and left off for all that time, the silt that had settled in the bottom of the holding tank was stirred up from the pressure when the water was once again flowing into the tank.

Now, I know nothing about wells, pipes, holding tanks, or anything to do with all that happened to me. But I was so overjoyed when I finally had clean water again. My filters were replaced, and I am very grateful for good clean water.

I remembered again how much water is worth.

This incident in my life comes to mind after hearing the speech by our new president of the USA last night. My lack of water and the fear, the worry, and frustration trying to fix the problem reminds me of the past four years of my life.

During the last administration when all the news was upsetting, worrisome, and scary coming from Washington, I and many of my friends and family felt on edge every day. We worried about the state of our government and what was going to happy to us in the world where so much chaos seemed to reign.

Many of us lived in a state of fear and felt stressed out all the time. We felt helpless about the future. We were bombarded with fearful rhetoric and listened to friends around the world who were as concerned as we were. We had never seen such mean-spirited comments from leadership in our country. We became a truly divided nation. 

Finally, last night when President Biden spoke on television, I realized we are back on track. Just like the water had finally cleared up and was safe, I am not stressed, not afraid, not apprehensive about the future.

His speech has been compared to the speeches given by Franklin Roosevelt when our country was threatened by foreign enemies and when a great depression had devastated so many lives. I heard a voice of hope and light for all of us. Just a simple straight-forward talk to us, the people of the United States. He told us what has been accomplished in the past 100 days, but he didn’t brag or compare his accomplishments to those of past presidents. Joe Biden is a confident man who genuinely cares and relates to everyone if they will give him a chance.

Just as I missed terribly the water when the well went dry, I missed having a person in control of our government who is experienced in the job, knows how to accomplish more employment for the middle class and so many who have fallen below middle class economically. He understands that when one percent of our citizens own over 90 percent of the wealth in this country, things must change to make it fair for everyone. When CEOs make 300 times more than those who build the products or fulfill the services of their companies, our country is on the wrong path and will cause us to lose our democracy. 

When so many corporations make billions of dollars every year and do not pay one cent in federal taxes, something is seriously wrong.

I just hope those in Congress will support the ideas set forth last night and give them a try. We the people want those who are our leaders to work together, to compromise if necessary to fulfill the needs of our citizens. 

I hate to even think about politics, and I don’t want to argue politics with anyone, but right now, I feel safer, more secure and less fearful than I have in a long, long time.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

A new class begins and I take a fall

Next Tuesday will be my second class on Zoom for the spring session. 

A writing Class I taught some years ago

I am grateful for all the people I have met and still communicate with years later. After taking writing classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School and then teaching there, my contact list is brimming with names of men and women who are dear to me. At Tri-County Community College, which is near where I live, I met locals who want to learn the best way to write and share their stories. From 1996 until a couple of years ago, TCCC was a big part of my life. The pandemic shut down our Community classes there as well as any face-to-face classes. Although I miss those days, I like my Zoom classes. I enjoy teaching a man who lives in South Dakota and learning about his life. One of my students in the present class lives far away from where I live, but still, she is in North Carolina.

This has been a difficult week for me with a home accident that slowed me down a bit. I will have ex-rays on Friday to see if I have a fracture, but I have rested and used heat and cold so I feel sure I will be doing better soon.

The weather has been sunny and beautiful, but today was cold and we will have freezing temps this week at night. I guess it is just as well that I can't go shopping for plants and flowers. Far too soon, I'm told. Spring fooled me again.  I think I will wait to start my deck garden until after Mother's Day.

If you like poetry, visit our Netwest Writers to read good poetry by poets who are my friends and fellow writers here in the mountains.

Have a good week and thanks for reading my posts. I love to hear from you.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Our digital world and me

When my azaleas bloom I know it is spring

I grabbed the handle of my microwave oven to open it last week and it came off in my hand.
That was unexpected. I doubt it can be replaced, and I will likely have to purchase a new appliance and have the present one removed.

Recently the upper element of my toaster oven burned out. I will need to replace that, also.

I miss the days when we had things repaired instead of replaced. 
My brother, Rex, could repair almost anything. He was ingenious at creating new ways to accomplish tasks that dumbfounded others. It seemed he was born with that ability. On the farm, when I was growing up, repairs were made on farm machinery and household appliances, well water systems, and so many things. No one could afford to replace everything that broke.

Today, farmers are using digital tractors and when something goes wrong, a special technician must come out to the farm to work on the computer in the tractor and try to make it run again. It is very frustrating for the farmer who used to be able to pick up a part and replace it himself. I understand that frustration because it happens with all the digital things in my house. My TV, computer, Ipad, printer, copier, devices to play music and so much more. The sensors in my car tell me that my right rear door is open. The first and second time I checked the door. Then I told my mechanic about the false message I keep receiving. He said he could not repair it but I could go to the dealership and they could probably shut off all the sensors. Duh!!  I will just continue to ignore the "right rear door is open" message.

Is the new technology weighing us down, slowing us, and irritating us instead of being the miracle we are told to believe? I know it is more costly to replace than it was to repair a few decades ago.

Years ago we were told that we were going to run out of room for all the landfills needed for our use and throw out society. Computers and electronics must be filling up the landfills now because no one repairs them. The last three wireless all-in-one printers I bought for around $200 each. They barely last until the warranty is over. When I tried to get them repaired, I was told to toss them. "They are so cheap it costs less to buy a new one."

Two hundred dollars is not all that cheap to me. I now use an older model printer/copier that is not wireless and works better than the fancy one. 

I have no idea what I would have to pay for a new microwave over my stove, but I intend to see how long I can go without one and how much I will miss it. I do intend to call around and see if anyone can put the door handle back on this one. The oven works great. Just can't open it now.

I had a friend who bought so much and so many things she had to rent a storage space to hold most of it. Material things can't fill the needs of people who are compulsive shoppers. They often have a deep-seated issue that needs to be addressed. This friend said she had not spoken to her own daughter in ten years. I wonder if the shopping had to do with family problems.

I understand retail therapy and have found myself in need of going to Target to browse for an hour or more. But, if I purchase anything there, it is something I can use or something I want to give someone.

Still, here I am with a cluttered house I work on every day. The problem is I still use the things in my house, well most of them, and only end up ridding myself of paper. I feel I am being invaded by paper that grows overnight when I am asleep. Once it became so cheap to make copies on paper, we have been inundated with junk mail. I tried throwing out envelopes without opening them until I opened one and found a check inside. 

Well, enough of my complaining. We had a beautiful day today with lots of sunshine but it was in the sixties this morning. Later I sat on the deck in the warm weather and watched my dear neighbors as they pack to move away. I am saddened because they have been wonderful friends for years now, keeping a check on me since Barry died. Everything continues to change and I believe if we don't bend we will break. 

Hope your week will be all you want it to be. I will have a visit this week from family members and I look forward to that. Let me hear from you, my friends.

Monday, April 5, 2021

The End of Easter Weekend

Here I am at the end of an Easter Sunday in which I did nothing much but enjoyed the quiet and spring weather. 
For many years, Barry and I sang in the choir at church and I loved the music we sang for this special day in the Christian religion. 

Today I watched the Easter Service at the Alpharetta Presbyterian Church near Atlanta, Georgia where my sister and BIL are members. During the pandemic, all their services have been online and I watch them. 

When I was a small child, my sister and I had pretty new Easter Dresses every year along with Easter baskets with candy and colored eggs. When I was older, I awoke one Easter Sunday to find a big blue stuffed rabbit by my bed. I kept that bunny until I finished two years of college and slept with it every night.

Gay and I hunted Easter eggs in the backyard, and all the family gathered at Mother's and Daddy's house. I think of those happy times, and they make me smile. A friend and I were talking recently about how Easter today is far different from when we were kids. All the major holidays meant family gatherings. Now I have no family near me and with Barry gone, it seems no different from any other day except for the church service. Today was a good day to go grocery shopping because fewer people were there and it was a good excuse to get outside and enjoy the weather.

I was invited to travel down to Roswell, GA, and have dinner with family, but taking a trip means lots of trouble and planning, so I prefer to only go when I can stay awhile. I was gone for two months this winter and now, back at home, I find many, many chores on my to-do list. 

I hope my readers enjoyed this lovely holiday. I always think of Easter as a time of renewal and since it comes in spring, the season of renewal, it is the perfect holiday to me. Instead of thinking of what I miss, I think about how grateful I am for the life I have had, the people I loved, and who have loved me. I am grateful for my sweet little canine companion who makes me laugh and who loves me unconditionally, my car that still takes me where I want to go even with almost 200,000 miles on it, and I am grateful for my friends who all have special places in my heart. 

I look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

I did what I had to do until I became a writer and teacher

Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.  ...Oprah Winfrey

I admire Oprah Winfrey. When we hear the difficulties she faced in her life, the jobs she didn't like, and the time it took to be able to control her own destiny, it is amazing that she now runs her own network, she founded a school for girls in Africa and interviews the most famous people in the world. She is one of the most wealthy people, not just women, in the world. But her happiness comes from her work, I believe.

Her story reminds me of how long it took me to reach a place where I can do what I want to do. I will never be famous or rich, but it feels good to be working and doing what I enjoy. I owe some of this now to the pandemic we are all enduring.

After teaching children for fifteen years, I took a sabbatical and tried being a full-time housewife or homemaker.
I don't like housework but have always done it because I had to do it. I had a husband and a house I loved, but the mundane work of laundry, cleaning, and mowing the grass did not fulfill my need to do something that made me feel worthwhile. I am not a great home decorator or designer or even a great cook. I had no children and my sweet husband ate anything I put on the table. He was not a big eater and was just as happy with a peanut butter sandwich as he was with a five-course meal.

I had been a caregiver for my mother for a number of years, but she did not live with me and she had a caregiver with her most of the day. I found an art teacher and learned to oil paint on canvas. I loved it and soon my walls were filled with my paintings, framed and very pretty. It was a hobby I enjoyed, but I wanted to do more. I began teaching my sister and my friend, Linda, to paint miniatures in my home on my dining room table. What fun that was!

Linda went on to be a terrific painter and continues to paint after all these years. My sister was already an artist and has become a sculptor. I have one of her pieces in my living room today.

Bad photo but beautiful art

Tired of being home day after day while Barry traveled three days a week, I began working for my brother-in-law, Stu, who is an engineer and ran an office in Albany, Georgia for a company with a home office elsewhere. I signed on to work from nine until two Monday through Friday as his secretary. I had become proficient at keyboarding and using a computer. I felt useful and liked being with people even if there were only three of us in the office.

Stu is a procrastinator and often his time got away from him. He would ask me to write a letter or a report for him about the time I was supposed to leave. I didn't mind, however, working an hour or more later than 2:00 PM. I just accepted that as part of my job. I didn't make any more money, but I wanted to help Stu. He was a good employer. 

I enjoyed working downtown, going to restaurants for lunch, and interacting with other people. At the time, I did not realize that I am a people person. I become energized when I am with or talking to others.

When Stu's office closed and he and Gay moved to Atlanta, I was back home again alone on the farm with my horse and my dog. In the early 90s, I began looking for something to do. 

I took another part-time job as a secretary for the district manager of State Farm Insurance. I worked for her for five years, and we became good friends. The agents in her district often called and when my boss was not in, they talked to me about their gripes, their frustrations, or complaints. I was a good listener.

I liked the people, but my workplace made me ill. Shortly after I came on board, the manager built a new office with a much better setup for my office and hers, but I have multiple chemical sensitivity and the new carpet, the paint, and other chemicals I breathed in at the new place had a terrible effect on my health. I bought an air purifier for my office but still, there were days when I just felt I had to lie down and sleep because I was so fatigued I could not concentrate. I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia soon after taking this job. I loved my boss and I felt more like I was helping my friend than I was working for her.
Barry and I moved away from Albany in 1995. I missed my friend, but not her office.

The worst job I had after leaving teaching was a year of selling auto products for our family business. I was a woman in a man's world and many of the good old boys in the dealerships of south Georgia made sure I was not welcome. One day I awoke, dressed, and prepared to leave for a day-long drive out into the rural region that was my itinerary. Suddenly, I began to cry. I was making a good salary and the work was certainly not hard, but I hated it. The people I met were not always friendly or kind and, although I was doing a good job for the company, I was not happy. I turned in my resignation.

Looking back I see that I worked at what I didn't like and thought I would never work in what I did like. 
But fate intervened using my husband and my brother, Hal. Our family manufacturing plant had been sold. We moved to the mountains of western North Carolina, I met Nancy Simpson and soon I found my calling.

Nancy Simpson, poet, teacher, my mentor

Once I became a part of the North Carolina Writers' Network-West, a program of the state organization, and became friends with my mentor and teacher, Nancy, I found the happiness and purpose I had always needed and wanted. I began publishing my writing and volunteered to be a county representative for NCWN-West. I volunteered to do the publicity for NCWN-West.

Nancy gave me my first teaching opportunity at the John C. Campbell Folk School. From then on I taught there and at Tri-County Community College as often as I could. I met the most interesting people in my classes and learned something from each of them. My students have published books and one man, a retired dentist, said after taking my class he was going back to school to study writing. Many of them are still good friends of mine, and we keep in touch by email or on Facebook. 

The pandemic could have been horrible for me with the enforced isolation. My dear Barry is gone now. I miss having him to talk with and to laugh with.
But, thanks to Zoom, I see people every week in my classes. We have interesting moments of conversation and find humor in what is shared. Last year I taught three six-week classes online and this year I will begin my third series of classes on April 20. While most people my age are happily retired with no need or wish  to work outside the home, I still look forward to working with people and doing what I can to make their life as good as mine. 

It is true that we often must do what we have to do before we can do what we want to do. And there can be times when we want to give up, stay in a job or place where we are not happy, but if we persevere in search of reaching our goals or making our dreams come true, we can one day have what we want.

Friday, March 26, 2021

An Acrostic Poem

An Acrostic Poem

An acrostic poem is one in which the letters going down the poem, spell out a word.
In the following poem, I wrote about my husband, before he passed away, the bold letters at the beginning of each line spell Barry Beall. 



Barry, My Love

by Glenda Beall                          

 Better than peanut butter, he

Always makes me happy.

Routinely perks my spirits up,

Romances me with a song.

Yesterdays have been fantastic.


Because he's in my life

Every day holds new excitement

As we progress on a marriage that has

Lasted forty-five years and will

Last for all eternity.

Try writing an acrostic poem. Look up these poems on the Internet and see all the ways you can write one. 



Tuesday, March 9, 2021

I celebrate the women in my life

March is Women's History Month. I love to celebrate women, and I will write this month about the women in my life, in my family who are and were important to who I am today. 

I remember an ad that said, "You've come a long way, Baby." 
We have come a very long way, but still are struggling to get the respect we deserve in the workplace. 

Sometimes it is because of the ignorance of the men in the offices and workplaces. Sometimes it is because a certain type of male thinks his advances, no matter how outrageous, should be regarded as compliments to a woman. Back in the seventies when women were pushing for equal rights for women, they were shamed and belittled. A woman who spoke up in a room full of men and expressed her ideas would often be laughed at or ignored. If you watched Mad Men on TV, you saw what life was like for working women in the sixties. How much has it changed? I don't know, but I know I have changed.

In my home, older brothers were allowed to embarrass or humiliate their little sisters even when we were very young. My father was the boss, the authority, the one you must deal with if you dared speak up. So, my little sister and I learned to keep quiet. 

My sister, June 

My older sister, June, who had the same father and felt his bias for his sons over her, did not let it stop her. Maybe because she was the oldest and her brothers looked up to her, she was allowed to have a voice. As she grew up and became her own person, I saw my father's respect for June grow. He admired her and listened to her.

When her friends from high school were looking for a good man to marry, to have children with, make a home with, June wanted more for herself. Her role models were my mother and my aunts who all were housewives who had little control over their lives because their husbands brought in the funds to feed the family. June wanted to be independent and able to make it on her own.

She attended college on a scholarship. She planed to become a teacher. 
But she had to leave school after two years and did not get her degree because she was needed at home. Our father had bought a farm. Until harvest time, the farm made no money.  He had to find a way to build a house that was not drafty, one that could be properly heated. June went to work at Georgia Stages, a bus station in Albany, Georgia. She used her salary to help with family expenses. She met other young women who were working and through one of them, she learned of the possibility of work at the local military base, Turner Field. The pay was much better. She applied and was hired.

Gay and I admired our tall big sister with her long black hair and pretty dresses. She put on her nylon hose and her high heel shoes, and we thought she was prettier than the movie stars in the magazines she brought home. Years later, my friend Joyce who lived in Acree, the settlement nearest to our farm, said she and others were in awe of June because she was always dressed up and looked beautiful. She was, indeed, different from other adult females in our area.
June dated men she met at the base. One of them was Allen. She fell for him in a big way. He was from up north and of course, he didn't talk like my family with their southern drawl. My brothers made fun of Allen's speech and pronunciation of words that were so different from their own. I think the young man was interested in the farm and asked questions which my brothers thought were ridiculous. Years after Allen was no longer around, I heard him imitated with much laughter by my brothers and I imagine June was hurt because she loved him. 

Eventually, Allen was transferred, and he and June broke up.  As the second world war ended she was transferred to an airbase in Newport News, Virginia. I believe it was Langley Air Force Base. I'm sure my mother missed her terribly. She helped Mother with the children, Gay and me. We adored her and wanted to be with her or around her all the time. At night she read poems and stories to us and taught us to say our prayers. I remember the sweetness of her voice which made me feel safe and made it easier to sleep. The poem I remember best:

She had many talents, but the one I remember best is her ability to draw. The women she drew with pencil only, looked like the models in the newspaper. Looking back, I believe she could have been a fashion designer or someone who worked in that industry. With only a pencil, she created lovely women as pretty as the ones in the Sears and Roebuck catalog, decked out in fashionable gowns, hats, and shoes. She drew paper dolls for me to play with at school. I was extremely popular for a while when the other girls saw them. 

In high school, June's favorite teacher was the art teacher, Mrs. Van Cise. Perhaps that teacher saw June's talent and wanted to help her advance. She as part of the local Woman's Club gave June the scholarship. They did not ask her to pay it back but to pay it forward, to help another girl go to college. June did that.

As I reflect on my life, June was the one who had the most effect on me when I was a child. She was fifteen years older and it seems to me she was always grown up. Times were hard for our family during WWII. My brother, Ray, joined the US Navy. June helped keep the bunch of us afloat with her generosity, love, and compassion for Mother. My older sister hated that my mother had to work so hard.  Not only did Mother cook three meals every day, but she also did laundry by hand for all of us except when she could hire someone to help her. With money so tight, mother did not buy anything for herself. My sister, June, was Santa Claus because she had a job and could put toys on layaway until Christmas Eve.

June's story goes on and her influence in my life goes on, too. She met a young lieutenant in the Air Force while in Virginia. He fell madly in love with her and would not give up until she agreed to marry him. But that part of her story is for another time. 

I celebrate my sister this month because she was the most important influence on me when I was growing up, and she lives still in her two daughters. 

Who was the woman who was most influential in your life? Was it your mother, a sister, an aunt, a teacher, or someone who was not related to you at all?

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