Our grandson, Ryan, entertains a love of Thomas, the Train, and a great ability, just as any other four year old little boy, to pretend and imagine. It used to be John Deere tractors was his fancy and filled his waking hours. Now, for the last several months, he is fascinated with Thomas and all the other train engines in the Thomas series for children.
Now what I’ve told you so far isn’t so noteworthy. But our grandson has taken Thomas to a new level. I am no longer known as Grandma Diane to him but instead am Edward. Papa Paul, my husband, is Victor. Grandma Pat is Henry and Grandpa Dee is Diesel. Aunt Rachael is Toby. Mommy is Gordon, Daddy is Rosie and Ryan himself is Emily. One can see in Ryan’s mind there is no differentiation between feminine/masculine names. I think certainly for the train engines that we all are, it makes no difference for this Preschooler.
Just a little inside information for you. I keep a list by the telephone of all the family names with our train identities. Whenever I talk with Ryan on the phone, I can quickly refer to the list to keep the names straight. As I ended my conversation with him tonight, he trailed off saying”Bye Edward”.
The engine name of honor though has been given to his baby brother who has yet to be born. Definitely, he is coming soon for Callum’s due date is March 4. The name of honor, you guessed it – Thomas, the Train Engine. For some reason, the thought that Ryan saved this special name for his new baby brother, soon to join their family, just warms my heart. He is anxiously awaiting his arrival as we all are. Yes, Thomas or should I say Callum, will be pulling into the station soon.
I have more time to connect and visit with people now that I am transitioning from my teaching job to whatever I might call the spot I’m in at present. Notice I used the word transitioning instead of transitioned – I continue to be in the process. On this past Monday, I had the opportunity to deliver to nursing home residents the altar flowers from this past weekend’s worship services at our church. Both ladies who were the recipients were more than gracious, in fact I am sure that receiving those bouquets were the greatest blessing of their day.
One of the women, her name is Joan, wanted to tell me about some experiences of her youth. She spent a lot of time playing with her cousin at her uncle’s house which just happened to be at the local cemetery, for he was the caretaker. The cemetery was one of the prime locations for the high school age dating couples who wanted to do a little “Parking”. For all of you younger readers, parking in days past meant some heavy kissing going on. Joan and her cousin knew all the spots at the cemetery that this “Parking” usually took place. We laughed together as she told me how she and her cousin would hide behind gravestones near those popular spots and after the couples got started, the girls would begin making haunting, ghostlike sounds. Of course the “Parking” couples couldn’t get that car in gear and get out of there fast enough.
I don’t really know what brought those memories to mind for Joan but the fact that I had the time and took the time to listen and share her memories was my greatest blessing on Monday. I can’t wait until it is my turn again to deliver altar flowers. Maybe it will be Joan again who will be the recipient and I can hear some more stories from her youth.
Since leaving the “day in day out” teaching life, I have been able to spend more time delving into studies such as the book we are reading for our continuing education requirement for our Stephen Ministry at our church.
The title is A Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. Palmer – the journey into an undivided life. Sounds deep and a bit mysterious, doesn’t it? The question that pops up continually in the first few chapters and asked by the author about most everyone – “Is this person the same on the inside as he or she seems to be on the outside?” The chapter we just discussed was titled “Across the Great Divide – Rejoining Soul and Role”.
With these challenging, thought grabbing words rebounding in my head during the week, I couldn’t help myself as I put them to the test of the national news topics. Like … Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifying to Congress about the attack in Benghazi, Libya which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three others. Some of the remarks about her testimony included the emotion she showed. She was close to tears or possibly really had them. Is testifying to Congress a place to show emotion? Is it real? I think so and I think emotion should be shown wherever we are. We’re human. And I also watched the first night coverage of Oprah’s interview with cyclist Lance Armstrong as he revealed the truth or his truth. Can we really believe him? Is what he says to the world reflective of who he is inside? If there wasn’t this great divide in people – this disconnect from soul and role as author Parker J. Palmer writes in his book, it sure would make it easier to trust and believe people.
I really like the words genuine and real –especially in describing humanity. I’m working my way through the book A Hidden Wholeness – hoping there isn’t too great a divide between my soul and role.
Here I am! Hopping on this new vehicle of communication for me – blogging. You might wonder why I chose the name “Still Mrs. Sprole” as the name of my blog. Teachers will most likely understand and agree that one thing students, former students, and families of students tend to do is lock your name in their memory banks as “Mrs. Sprole”, who I am and seemingly always will be. Believe me though, it is an honor and I cherish it. I can tell you the names of many of my grade school teachers like Miss Carlton, my fifth grade teacher. I know she had a first name but I don’t know it. When I run into former students and their parents, even if I suggest calling me by my first name, they just can’t do it. And I’m okay with it.
Back to the blog – this itch to get my words out to others has been working on me since I left the classroom on the last day of school. Yes, I retired at the end of the previous school year. I don’t even like the word retire – better for me is the word transition. Thirty five years spent in the classroom and thirty of those years engaged in teaching three and four year old preschoolers. I do miss them – their energy, their excitement, their wonder and interest in life.
What to do now? Thus a blog. Writing has always helped me think more clearly and find direction.
Today I am thinking about the two words purposeful and productive. I need to have those two “p” words in my days and I admit it still is a little difficult for me that I don’t have that other “p” word “paid” in my day. But maybe that is fuel for another blog.
Today’s purpose is to establish and begin this blog and my goodness, I’ve done it. And in doing so, I’ve been productive also.