Think back on your life. Who do YOU remember?
We all have one, maybe two, individuals who leave a heavy imprint on our minds, similar to tiny handprints pressed in wet cement. We may have only known them a short while, though we carry the memories with us throughout our years.
Like a sweater we wear, they become threaded in our existence.
My ‘thread’ was Mrs. Kuhn. She taught kindergarten and I was the shy girl with blonde hair who cried in the carpool lane when it was time to get out of the station wagon with wood-paneled siding.
I remember her eyes hidden behind librarian glasses with pointy sides. Her short strawberry hair was styled in big pincurls that fell just past her ears, and she was older than I had envisioned. Age marks around her eyes and mouth showed she had lived life and experienced more than I in my brief 5 years.
Mrs. Kuhn made me feel safe.
She taught me how to make snickerdoodle cookies and encouraged me to tell stories, something my sisters later told me at family dinners that I accomplished a little too well. Those cookies are still my favorite, and I have flashbacks of the little girl I was every time I eat one. It is also still the only cookie recipe I use that calls for cream of tartar.
Mrs. Kuhn was soft-spoken and patient, even with a child who needed constant coaxing. I loved her unsteady voice, not one that demanded attention but rather reminded me of the grandma we all love.
I found my place in her care.
A place away from the safety of home that I could be me. I’ve carried Mrs. Kuhn with me over the years, a memory that I gently tucked away. I hope my children find the same, if they haven’t already. That one thread they connect to their being. Maybe a grandparent. Maybe a teacher. Maybe a bus driver.
Someone who takes an interest and leaves their mark.
Like Mrs. Dillmon, my 4th grade teacher who threw out the traditional ways of running a classroom and encouraged us to care for the class bunny. I loved that rabbit, though my parents didn’t feel the same when I announced it was my weekend to bring Bunny home. I also loved Don, the bus driver who greeted me with a huge smile that caused laugh lines to form around his eyes. His giggle made me smile as he often teased me about running late.
Some things never change.
Life eventually loops back around and we will likely be a Mrs. Kuhn to a person we meet along the way, unless we miss the opportunity. We get busy, run ourselves to the grind and hope just showing up is all life requires of us. We tend to forget that littles eyes and ears are eager for someone to take notice and could be the very ones that retell our stories one day.
Even if you don’t have pointy glasses and a killer recipe for snickerdoodle cookies that taste like heaven.
Think about it.
Who do you remember? And who will remember YOU?