Sixty, a number, and my age this year. I am sixty years old. BUT I do not feel like I am sixty years old. YET, I have never been sixty years old, so I would I know what it feels like to be sixty. Actually, I can not really wrap my thinking around being sixty years old. But the birth certificate does not lie, I have celebrated or marked each year and the total is sixty years of age.

At work, I am the second oldest person working. There is a cashier who is older than I am, but I am not sure how much older. We both work hard. Although she does not get down on the floor when stocking items on the lower shelves, leaving that task to younger folks. Most of the workers are in their mid twenties with management a few years younger than I am. Most are shocked to learn I am sixty. “You do not act sixty.” is a common phrase.

How is a sixty year old person supposed to act? Most of us, including myself base our determination of how a sixty year old person acts and tasks they are capable of doing by television or life experience with someone who is sixty. Stereotyping is how we form our ideas of what a person can or can not do at a certain age.

I do not have many grey hairs in my naturally colored hair. Some of my coworkers thought I had dyed my hair, until they look closer. My face does not have that many wrinkles, although the sun and years have aged my face and I no longer have the face I had when I was twenty. I move well, I work hard starting at getting up at 5 AM each morning to do chores before I go to work.

At work I climb ladders, but do not stand on the top step. I have not stood on the top step of a ladder since hurting my lower back. The injury has caused my balance to be a little off. Yet, I climb ladders in order to stock the top shelves. I sit on the floor to stock the bottom shelves. Although it is not a pretty motion of getting down to the floor or getting up off the floor, but is improving the more I do it. The one area I need to work on myself more is flexibility. My joints are a little stiff sometimes when I go to sit on the floor. I have not done a lot of sitting on the floor these past few years. I tell my coworkers I am stiff and have injuries, but I have lived life in my sixty years.

One coworker who is twenty years old made a comment yesterday after I showed her how to get a cloth bag of flour to stand on the shelf, that I know how to do a lot of things. My response is I have lived and learned for sixty years, that is a long time to learn things. I enjoy learning new things. I enjoy new experiences. I have injuries and can name each horse that caused the injuries, yet I can not name every horse I started under saddle and trained, or the ones I watched come into the world.

I began sharing with her some of my life experiences, watching a pronghorn antelope being born, standing and nursing in the wild. The evening I spent a few hours watching a pair of bald eagles teach their young how to fish. Or watching a fox catch mice. Seeing hundreds of elk in the morning dusk, start moving towards cover over the mountain ridge as the sun came up, seeing them silhouetted on the mountain ridge. Watching trout swim in the current of a mountain stream. Or watching the glorious colored lightening during a nighttime tornado. Playing in the snow, standing still and listening to snowflakes fall. Memories I hope one day I put to canvas to share with others the magical pictures in my memory.

This year I am sixty years old. I no longer have the speed to run a race or stamina I had when I was twenty-five. I have injuries that affect my movement and I live with back pain most of the time. But I have lived life and I continue to live life. Searching for new adventures and things to learn. I have goals to reach of things I want to finish or do. Some of youth’s dreams will never be, but there are plenty of dreams to look forward to. Sixty is a number, a number of my winters, but it is not a barrier or fence or prison.

I have lived life and continue to live life regardless of how many winters I have seen. Age is a number not a prison.




Bloganuary #14 : What is your preferred mode of travel?

A Horse of Course. From a very young age I have had a passion for horses. While living in Colorado, I traveled many miles over mountains and through valleys trying to find cattle and enjoying the scenery. The town I lived in still today, has cattle drives down the road when cattle are moved from one pasture to another or up to the high mountains for summer grazing, and back to the ranch for winter feed and calving. Along with the cattle drives, it was not uncommon to see the local “horse trader” in town with is team of blacks and wagon, tied up at the local bar after going to the grocery store.

Mr. Green was a well known horse trader, buying and selling horses as well as raising cattle, who also happened to be an alcoholic. He lost his driver’s license due to drunk driving. So, when he wanted to visit the local bar or buy groceries, he would hitch up his matched set of black horses to an old wagon and go to town. When he arrived at the bar, he would tie the horses to the parking meter, put in his money for parking and visit the bar. One day, the police decided to give him a ticket on his way home, as he was intoxicated. When they got the wagon to stop, they gave him a ticket for driving while intoxicated, thinking this would get the team and wagon off the roadways. Mr. Green opposed the ticket in court. His defense – he was not driving since he did not have his hands on the reins to the horses. He was laying down in the wagon, not holding the reins, not driving therefore the ticket was invalid. Mr. Green when he was ready and intoxicated, would untie his team of horses, climb into the back of the wagon and tell them to go home, of which the horses would start walking towards home. Mr. Green was not charged with driving while intoxicated. He continued to drive his team of blacks hitched to the wagon to town, then let the horses take him.

While I would enjoy riding my horse to town to pick up a few groceries, it is impractical. The people in the area where I live are not ranchers or horse people. A horse tied up outside the grocery store would create an attraction. There is a liability of having a horse around strangers, especially if someone chose to pet the horse or put their child on the horse while you are inside. The people do not know the proper rules or etiquette involving a horse.

Currently, there is a ring of thieves in the area stealing riding horses out of pastures. I would run the risk of someone walking away with my horse. It is an interesting aspect in Texas, a major cattle producer and the number one producer of horses in that a lot of animals are stolen due to the way they handle livestock.

In Colorado, I had to have a brand inspection or inspection of the animal everytime I purchased or sold an animal. Texas is not so. If you take a cow or horse to the local auctions, you do not have to provide proof you own the horse or cow. If by chance you discover your stolen cow or horse has been sold at auction, then you have to hire an attorney and take the seller to court to get your money for the animal at the price sold at auction, not the actual value of the animal. In Colorado, you had your animal returned, and the buyer had to get his money back from the thief. So it is better to be safe, than lose an animal.

I travel by automobile more specifically a truck. I have a truck as my income does not allow me a pleasure vehicle and a work vehicle. I need a truck to pull the stock trailer while transporting sheep to or from the farm. I also need it to pull a trailer when we purchase hay or to haul grain. I do not drive more than necessary.

Traveling to visit family, I like an automobile. With an automobile I can see the varied majestic landscapes along the path of travel. I drive slow, and stop often. I enjoy seeing small towns and visiting historical markers. I have the freedom of choosing my path and direction that other modes of transportation do not offer.

Airplanes are faster, but they land in big towns or cities. You are not offered any historical information of the areas you travel over, there are no historic architecture to see, or old homestead or fancy farms. You do not get the opportunity to stop and enjoy the area you are flying over.

I enjoy the trail riding in our area, a slower pace with the ability to watch the wildlife and slow down for conversation. No busy city distractions and noise. My friend, my horse and wildlife are an excellent way to enjoy a day.

I think the journey should be enjoyed. A slower and chosen path is pleasant for my travel.


Me, Myself, and I – Happy Anniversary

On January 12, 2022 I wrote my first post for Me, Myself and I. I am a day late, but life has been a little busy. I started this site after accepting the challenge of Bloganuary 2022 where daily prompts are given and you write about the prompts. I had a sheep site, but most of the prompts were difficult to write under a sheep based site. So, Me, Myself and I was created.

It has been a wonderful journey of learning, writing and sharing with others. I appreciate those who follow and read my blogs. The subjects are varied and sometimes I just share a part of myself and the emotions of what is going on in my life during that time. I appreciate all those who stop by for a visit.

The year of writing a blog I have grown as a writer. I have learned that I really do enjoy writing. My writing has grown as much as I have. I have been encouraged to continue to write, and to write a few books or more. I never thought of being a writer or an author of books until I started this blog.

I have also greatly enjoyed reading others’ blogs. I have been encouraged in life. Learned how things are in other parts of the world, places I know I will not see other than through the photos other share. There are some really beautiful places, peoples and cultures besides the ones in our own backyard.

My eyes are open to different ways of thinking and expressing ideas and thoughts. I know from experience, five people can watch an event or accident, and there are five different accounts, with a few similarities running through all five- the facts. I have grown to appreciate others thoughts and beliefs and have gained some understanding.

This year of blogging has been a year of learning, understanding, and personal growth. I am thankful that for some reasons unknown, as I do not really understand why I started this blog, I started writing, and blogging. Thank you for sharing this past year with me and I hope you continue.


Coming In For a Landing

This year began with my husband and I going somewhere, just not knowing where we were going. I raise sheep for a small income. My husband works to provide our main income. In November he was dismissed from is job. We were living on the modest income from the sheep and our savings.

I learned that applying for work has changed. Everything is done on the internet. There is no walking into a business, and filling out an application, even if they have a sign on the window saying they were hiring. I submitted applications for employment for myself and for my husband. My husband had a few interviews, but we would not receive news concerning any jobs until after the New Year. We felt like we were flying, but did not know where we were going to land, but we were going somewhere.

Since we were no longer restricted to staying where we currently live due to my husband’s employment. He was applying for jobs in other parts of the state, meaning we would be moving. We both really desired to move closer to my daughter and her family, to be closer to the grandchildren.

After the New Year, I received a call for an interview at the small grocery store where we live. At the interview I was hired. I have not worked outside of the farm for fourteen years. A day after my interview and hire, my husband received a call for an interview for a place of employment near where we live. He asked during the interview the possibility of transferring to the area where my daughter lives. A couple of days later, he received a call, after a short interview he was hired to work in the area where my daughter lives. We are both employed.

It is going to take time to get our place ready to sell, for us to find another place to move to near my daughter. I will be able to continue working and caring for the sheep while we do some minor repairs and repainting on the house to ready the house to sell. We are also dividing our property in order to sell for more money. The process of dividing property takes time. We have a plan for temporary housing for my husband if the need arises.

We are no longer just flying, but we have a destination, the destination of our heart. I have started the process of packing up what we do not use everyday. Getting rid of what we do not need. Our destination of finding a new home, and moving is now in sight.


Getting Things Done

There are times, most times for me, there are more things that need to be done than hours in the day to complete the tasks. I have been home for three days. There was the market lambs to take to the sheep sale on Friday, then to go to the sale on Saturday. Sunday was separating sheep, the ones I will sell from those I am keeping, trimming sheep hooves and deworming. I am selling some adult sheep at a special sale on October 1, and need to have them separated and marked so my husband can load up the correct sheep on Friday to deliver to the sale, for October 1. Shopping for groceries and bills to pay were done on Monday. Tomorrow I will be going back to my daughter’s to assist during the week, only to return late Friday, for a special sheep sale on Saturday at which I have four sheep consigned to sale. In the evenings I have been sewing baby blankets for my grandsons. A busy four days for sure.

The only way I can accomplish my tasks is to prioritize them as well as multi-task. I can clean and cook, and have laundry going. My husband assisted with working the sheep, getting the task done quicker than if I was doing it alone. We divide and conquer some tasks, like him going to town with the bills to be paid and checks to deposit, while I clean, cook, get paperwork together and sew. Some of our tasks are done together, and some separate covering more ground in less time.

The list was long, but everything was important and finished. I like getting things on “the list” done. Although some of the items my husband could accomplish without me.

I do not like for my husband to feel neglected while I am away. I am cooking a stew and a pot roast for his lunches and dinners. His laundry is washed and put away. The house is clean, dishes washed, ready for him to be a bachelor for a few days.

Since I am the one who does the sheep, it would be difficult for my husband to sort out the ones going to the special replacement sale. He is good about doing the feeding while I am gone. But, there are some tasks that would be very difficult for him to do alone.

The task of finding the registration papers for the sheep, would be a challenge. He would have to enter the office, my spot in the house where I keep everything important. The office is for our finances, my writing, all things related to sheep and livestock, along with my craft and sewing supplies. It is the one room in the house that the door is always closed. My husband calls it my chaos room.

With instructions via the phone, very detailed instructions, he would be able to find the binder where I keep the registration papers. Then he would have to read each registration paper so I could tell him if that was the paper needed for the sheep going to the sale. Being home, I have gathered the correct registration papers and placed them in a spot, outside of the “chaos room”, so he will find them to take with him when he delivers the sheep on Friday.

Before I leave tomorrow, I want things to be in place for him while I am gone. Can he cook? Yes, he can. But he works all day, does my chores and his chores. Dinner is nice when it can be warmed in a microwave. We do work at eating healthy meals to keep our health strong at our ages. Can he do laundry? Yes, he is capable of doing laundry. I do not want him to have to do additional work. I want things in place as they always are when I am home, because I love him. I work to make his daily life easier because of love.

What does he do for me? A lot. He helps me with the sheep when I need an extra body or extra hands. He does the heavy jobs around the place. He also keeps the vehicles running and operating in a safe manner. When I need a bale of hay moved, he is the one to do it for me. When I buy grain for the livestock, he unloads the grain with me. He is the main financial supporter of the family working nine hours or more a day.

We are a team, each doing their part and assisting the other, to have things go smoothly. We together, have everything ready for the days I am helping my daughter.


August 2022 Endings

Photo by Ray Bilcliff on

August 31, 2022 last day of month. I sit in my small office and ponder the month, the summer and this year so far. There are many things to be thankful for in my life.

The rain is falling, a much needed rain with the drought we have been having this summer. The grass has begun to turn green from the last rain, with this rain it will continue to grow for a few more weeks.

I enjoy rain storms, watching the lightning and hearing the thunder. Afterwards, everything looks so clean, smells fresh and is brighter. It seems easier to face the rest of the day, and tomorrow, and the future once the sun comes out and I see and smell what the rain has taken away, and what is left behind.

I have looked back at this year, and realize this is the year of change. I was blessed with the visit from my grandson, Mr. J. He will be a teenager soon, and there will come a time he will be too busy for a summer vacation with Granny. We had fun at the fishing hole, working with the animals and riding horses. Another summer blessing to join the other memories we share.

I was blessed with a visit from my daughter, her first visit to my house since I moved to Texas. We had a blast remembering the horses and rides of yesteryear as we watched her children ride the horses. The children learning about the sheep, and my grandson sitting on PeeWee, my favorite ewe. A grand time we had with a visit to my youngest daughter, her sister, with great food, games played by all, water games and conversation. A house full of laughter and good times. A blessing for sure. There are plans to continue to get together at least once a year.

The year has been focused on one major change in our family, a huge blessing. Every family member has been excited, helping with any necessary items, and constantly praying … the arrival of triplets. My youngest daughter is pregnant with triplets. There has been baby formula purchases by many family members since baby formula was hard to find, and limited in quantity that can be purchased. We as a family has come together like an army to help with the needs of the triplets and the parents.

With the end of August, the arrival of the triplets is close, September 14. I will go to my daughter’s home on September 11 and stay until I am not needed. It will be a few weeks at least. I may not be able to post much during my stay.

The other change, we are working on moving. My youngest daughter lives 2 hours from us. We want to spend more time with them and helping them. I have been working on getting our place ready to sell. Looking at properties in their area. Moving is a huge task. I cannot just buy a house, as I have approximately fifty head of sheep, eight dogs, and five horses to relocate as well as us. I need a place that I will not have to do a lot of work before the animals arrive. A task to find. Moving is in the future. I know everything will fall into place when I find the right place at the right time.

A year of changes and many blessings, with more blessing to arrive. As a family, the blessings have rained down on us this year, but not without change and at times struggles just like after the rainstorm, the sun comes out and all is clean, fresh and ready for the day.


“The Box”

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

A red Budweiser case box sits on a shelf in a closet. The box shows wear from many moves the past two decades. On the front is an index card labeling what is inside, “Research Paper”. This box is special, a trophy. Not stylish or fancy to put on a shelf and admire for its beauty, but a trophy nonetheless.

Recently, when my oldest daughter, Mrs. J, was visiting with me and her younger sister, Mrs. E, she asked,”Mom do you still have your research paper?”

Mrs. E instantly responded, “Mom is never going to get rid of that, it is too special.” She was not joking or being sarcastic, but serious about the value of the box. A value I did not know they had for an old worn box full of papers.

Mrs. J asked, “Can I see it sometime Mom?”

“Yes, when you come down next time for a visit, I will get out the research paper.”

This research paper is from college, a class required for graduation with an associates degree.

Colleges have stories about teacher and classes, this class was tough, grueling and not fun. Mrs. Ackrey taught the class, and it was a challenge. She was very particular on the steps, resources and how this research thesis was presented. Mrs. Ackrey had four Phds and was working on another, she was qualified on teaching students how to write a research paper that taught the skills to write a masters or doctorate thesis, the purpose of the class. The research paper written and presented to her was the total grade for the class. Because of the importance and amount of work required, I did not load up with the 18 to 21 credit hours I usually carried a combination from three colleges. I took a bare minimum of credit hours to get government financing to assist with the cost, 12 credit hours.

The first day, we were handed the syllabus and given a list of supplies needed, including 5 legal type notebooks, index cards, and post it notes. She went through the syllabus with us word by word. Everyone was to understand and be aware of the requirements for the class. For homework we were instructed to think about a subject for the research paper that had to be at least 25 pages in length. Leaving class that night, I knew what my topic would be – horses. I had a lot of books, magazines and personal experience with horses, as a topic, my research paper would not be so difficult.

Second class meeting opened with us voicing ideas for a subject. Mrs Ackery was quick to shoot some down due to not being a large enough topic to meet the required number of resources and pages. She stated some topics that were common for research papers in her class, and others that would meet the requirements if a person choose to do the research. Before class was over she looked at me, said my name, “You can not do a research paper on horses. In this area, you are known as an expert, and choosing the subject would not require you to learn the process sufficiently. And I will not accept you doing a paper on any animal.” My topic shot out of the water before I even started. Ok, now the work of picking a topic as we were to have a topic chosen before the next class.

Choosing the topic to do research on was difficult. The minimum of 25 resources from the following required: 1-5 books read cover to cover, 10 or more magazine and newspaper publications, at least one video interviews or movies or documentaries, 1-5 person to person interviews, and limit of 10 internet sources. What was I going to choose?

The movie, “A Beautiful Mind”, about John Forbes Nash Jr., a famous mathematician, was just released to VHS video. I had heard it was very good to watch. One of the topics Mrs. Ackrey mentioned was schizophrenia, a hard topic she said to compose, but a lot of resources. I would combine school and a movie night with the family.

My topic chosen I was ready to begin work. I had one semester to do research, work two jobs and care for four children and their various activities, and get this paper written and bound to present for a grade.

Remember the five legal size notebooks, one notebook for each chapter. Index cards were for quotes. We were to have a introduction quote, table of contents, an introduction, five chapters and a conclusion, resource appendix. We could not do research in the class meetings, that was for instructions on how to write our rough draughts, chapter by chapter, and typing of the final research paper.

In one semester, for one class I read four books, cover to cover. I was at the library with my children, me in the reference area, them in the children’s area. I read at work between waiting on tables, read and took notes while my children did their homework. My children experienced with me the research and writing of this paper. We watched the movie three times, then I read the book, “A Beautiful Mind” written by Sylvia Nasar. I had the resources and was putting the information together chapter by chapter. In total I had over 35 resources listed and quoted in the research paper. My hand written chapters were turned into the teacher on time, and I went over her notes in detail.

Now to type it all together. Christmas was fast approaching, and I had cut my hours at work in order to do this research paper. I am very proficient at typing and understood how to type the research paper in the format instructed. There were three fellow students who paid me to type their research papers. This was allowed, you could have someone else type your research paper as long as they were noted on the title page as being the typist. I did not get my research paper typed and bond on time. I was late in presenting it the teacher. Those that I had typed their research papers for, were on time and presented on time. I had to travel to the school where she taught to turn my paper on the last day of acceptance. This translated to I needed to make an “A” on the research paper because I was so late in turning it in, I would just get a passing grade.

Two weeks after turning the research papers we would have our grades. For the first and probably only time in her life, Mrs. Ackrey was not ready to hand back the research papers with the grades. She told the class she would need an extra week due to a situation she had to deal with. We would continue with moving the last week up one week.

The day arrived, we were to get back our research papers with the class grade. I had been praying for a passing grade, not wanting to have to take this class again and put off graduation.

She started the class saying our grades were late in being given due to having sent a student’s research paper to the board of directors to review and later meeting with them to discuss the paper and action. In my mind I thought someone had plagiarize another’s work, which meant expulsion from the college.

She continued tell the class a student had turned their work in late. When I read their work, it was beyond excellent, beyond excellent. I had my husband read it, and the director of this campus. They concurred with me to send it to the Board of Directors. I also sent a few copies to colleagues at other colleges and university who teach on the subject. All came back with the same conclusion – the paper is definitely a master’s thesis and could be a doctorate thesis.

The students and I were puzzled, if this paper is so great, just give it an “A”, why take it to the Board of Directors.

In conclusion, she stated anytime an exception is made in a course syllabus it must be made by the Board of Directors, she could not do it on her own. By the syllabus, the student would be entitled to a “D”, but this thesis is way above a “D”. I must make every student aware that an exception has been made and why. Putting the research thesis that she was holding on the table, he looks at me, state my name “has written a doctorate quality thesis without any format mistakes and it should be published. The Board of Directors and I agree that she should receive a B grade for this amazing work. This thesis has been scrutinized by people in the top of that field on information and presentation and all were amazed that a student, who is in their second year of college wrote the thesis. She has over 35 references, She read four books, I saw her read them at work between waiting on tables. She has a family to take care of and works I know of two jobs. Some of you did not put any effort into your papers. And those of you who had her type your paper, the format was flawless, I hope you paid her well.” Then she laid three more research thesis on the table, those that I had typed. “You can come up and get your papers from the table.” and she started laying others on the table. When I went to pick up mine, she told me “I hope you publish this, it is truly that good.”

I had never been praised for my work as I was that night in the classroom. Within the box is a copy of the research thesis, all my notes, all my note cards, the seven legal notebooks, and a couple of letters from the people she sent the thesis to for review. I never published it, as I thought I would use it in another class if needed.

The box sits on a shelf in my closet, a story within itself.


Searching a Path

Photo by James Wheeler on

When I lived in Colorado and rode horses in the mountains, we would start out on a path or trail. Later in our ride, we would leave the path in search of a way to reach a certain peak or area.

In life, we start out on a path of our parents’ choosing. As children we do not make the decisions that affect our lives, our parents to. As we mature, leave home and beg the searching for our way to reach a certain dream. We begin making the decisions on what we should do or not do. Now the responsibility of where our path leads us is our own choosing.

I have shared stories of my past and learning as an adult I was adopted. Then a family relative learned they were adopted as well. I was asked not to share my family past history as the family relatives did not want someone to learn who they were and what may have been said. So I stopped writing my past stories.

I feel I should share my life history with others. I know I have gained encouragement and hope by reading or listening to someone else, and that they have overcome the unpleasant or traumatic event in their life. So, there maybe someone, somewhere that needs to see a full story of how a person overcame the challenging events in their lives.

I know I am not the only person to be molested as a child, but for years I felt I was, alone and no one else had ever been treated that way. Learning that I was not the only person to be molested, helped me to not be ashamed and to speak out.

When you think you are the only one that has had something bad happen to you, you blame yourself. “I must be bad or something is wrong with me and that is why bad things happen” are the thoughts that go through the mind.

By sharing my life story, I hope to reach others and let them know they are not alone. I want those around me to maybe have some understanding as to why I think or behave the way I do. Sharing also helps with my healing. I am no longer hiding those things in my mind and heart, I am getting them out into the light so I can continued to be healed.

There are still things that I am working through from my childhood. How do I overcome the bad situations that have happened to me, with an inward strength from above. I do not do it all by myself, I have a God who cares and helps. Sometimes that help is in a message from another person. The important thing is you are not alone.

We are quick to share the joys of our lives with others. We should not feel like we are alone when the bad things happen. Good or bad, we need others to share it with.

Thank you for stopping and reading.


A Gift

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The post “The Calculator” brought back some memories, some not so pleasant but also awakened a realization. As we travel forward we see our life in a fog, but looking backwards things are clearer and at times we have eagle vision. I realized after writing the post and reading the comments made, I do have something to be proud of, a gift from the Creator.

We are all given gifts. Some people recognize these gifts from the Creator, and excel in life using the gifts. There are a few who never see the gift they possess from the Creator. It has taken me almost a lifetime to see the gifts the Creator has given me when He created me.

The majority of my life, I have considered the gift the Creator gave me to be a hindrance and sometimes a curse. From an early age I showed that I was smart, learned quickly and could put what I learned into practice and expand on what I had learned.

My love for mathematics started before I was in school. I remember watching my dad at the dining table using a ruler to measure lines on a blueprint of some building, writing those numbers down on a legal pad, and adding them up. I would watch, more entranced with what he was doing than any television show or cartoon. I learned my numbers and how to add sums at the dining table, with little answers to my questions from my dad.

When the time came for me to be in school I could count to a hundred, as double digit sums, say my ABC’s and read small words. I remember the trip to the school with my dad. It was almost Thanksgiving when we went to visit and put me in school. Why I was taken after the school year started, I do not know. We went to the office, dad filled out some papers while I watched. Then the lady showed us the kindergarten room. The room was round, apart from the main building. When we entered the room, it was dark as some of the kids were watching a movie, some were playing and talking, a few were literally running around the room. Dad talked to the teacher and then we left. I was to start school the next week, on a Monday.

My first day of school, I remember it so well. My dad was proud to take his daughter to school. I was dressed in a new dress we had purchased that weekend. The dress was white with yellow and blue stripes forming a plaid pattern, new shoes that were white with black, and new socks. I thought we were going to the kindergarten room, and I remember where it was, when I started heading that direction, dad said we needed to go to the office first as the principal wanted to talk to us.

My first trip to the principal’s office, one of three visits I made in my school years. We went the office, the lady my dad spoke with and filled out papers showed us a room near her desk. Inside was the principal she stood and shook both our hands. For the first time, an adult was acknowledging me. She asked us to sit down and she sat down.

” I hear you are a smart young girl.” started the Principal. I just nodded my head yes. In the following minutes she asked me to say my ABC’s, count, do some sums, and read from a small book about a bunny. I only read two pages before she said “that was enough for now.”Looking to my dad, “Mr. Varbel, you do have a very smart young girl. She knows too much for kindergarten as most of the children do not know their letters or numbers yet. I think we need to put her in first grade instead of kindergarten.”

My dad’s response, “Ok, that is fine.” Looking at me with a smile and pride in his eyes, “You are going to be in first grade, a first grader because you are so smart.”

The principal stood up, “We let’s walk her to class, I am sure she is ready to start going to school.” She lead us to the first grade classroom, knocked on the door then went in. We waited at the door for the teacher to meet us. There were children sitting in desks, they were all looking at us, at me. The principal spoke quietly to the teacher and gave her a piece of paper. Then the teacher bent down to say hello, and her name. ” I guess we need to find you a desk. I think I will have you sit at the front of the class in case you need help.” Before leaving with the teacher, dad said good-bye and do your best, then handed me a pencil from his pocket, “I think you are going to need this.” Speaking to the teacher, “Let me know what she needs for supplies and she will have them tomorrow.”

The teacher asked a boy to move to another desk, and said “this will be your desk.” Then she introduced me to the class, and the math lesson continued. A girl sitting across the isle next to me, gave me a piece of paper with a smile.

I began first grade at the age of five years. A year to two years younger than the students in my classroom.

The gift of being able to learn, my brain as I call it, has enabled me to learn facts and knowledge with relative ease. I was a straight A student in school and did very well in college. But it was also something my mom and other students made fun of and put down. One very often heard phase from my mother was “You think you are so smart because you get A’s, but you know nothing.” I grew up learning that A’s did not mean you were smart, it only meant that you got A’s in school, nothing more. Yet, I worked very hard to have A’s on my report card, my dad was proud of my A’s and my hard work, every report card was a time I could make my dad proud, and see his eyes twinkle.

Today, I still fight a low self-esteem put there by the negativity of my mother. But I am finally proud of the gift the Creator has given me. Like my dad, I see this gift with pride. Because I am able to learn, I have been able to make decisions, face life’s challenges with an answer and instill in my children and grandchildren a love of learning. I am no longer embarrassed or ashamed of having a high IQ, or having knowledge, but instead will share the knowledge to help others better themselves or find a solution to a problem.

I do have other gifts the Creator has given me. What gifts have you received? Are you proud or ashamed of the gifts the Creator has given you?


The Calculator

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This coming week many young people will be heading back to school. The beginning of a new educational year. Their parents have been busy getting school supplies, school clothes, and other necessary items for their children.

I remember always looking forward to returning to school. I love learning. I enjoyed the classroom where I excelled. The classroom was a place where I could be myself, not worry about upsetting my mother. I may not do things right at home for my mother, but in school I was free from her constant disapproval. My father was always proud of my academic achievements.

I did not have many friends in school, actually only one or two the entire time in high school, and they graduated before I did. My last two years of high school, I was alone during lunch time. But it did not matter if I had friends or not, I had books, knowledge and learning.

The purchase of school clothes was simple, three pants, four shirts, undergarment, and a package of socks. When I started junior high, a P.E. uniform was required. These clothes had to last all year long. I would not get any other clothes until the following school year, with the exception of Christmas. At Christmas we all got a new package of socks, and if I was blessed a new shirt.

School supplies were the bare minimum for the year. The first day of school was just a pencil and notebook. I was to write down all the required notebooks and supplies from each class. The following weekend we would go shopping for the supplies. I remember my sophomore year, I was required to have a certain calculator to use in chemistry and geometry. My mother said “no, that is too expensive.” (Later I learned this was a lie.) So, for chemistry and geometry, I took scratch paper from home to solve complex mathematical equations with a pencil and my mind. Just before Christmas, I received a letter from my chemistry teacher to give to my parents. All school correspondence to my parents was seen first by my father. The letter stated that I need the calculator for class, it was required. I was called into the room my father used as a home office, door closed with my father and mother inside.

Now what is a child supposed to do? My father would not tolerate any untruth from me, and I am a terrible liar and poker player. My mother would be mad at me if I told the truth. I also knew that the truth would cause an argument between my parents. My father asked the question I knew was going to be said, “Why did you not tell us you needed this calculator?” Looking at the ground, not daring to look at either parent, I replied my mother’s words that it was too expensive. “How much does it cost?” my father asked. Keeping my eyes staring at the floor I replied with the cost. My father dismissed me, after I closed the door the argument began. That Christmas, in my stocking was the calculator, the only gift I received that Christmas.

Home was a difficult place. While I got along great with my father, I was always in turmoil with my mother. School was the place to get away from my mother.

Every year when school is beginning to start and I see children and parents purchasing school supplies, this memory comes forward. Yes, I became very good at chemical equations rounding the answer to five places behind the decimal. I was able to do the calculations as fast as the older students with their calculators. I used a lot of scratch paper, a forest worth. And every year, as I watch children and parents get school supplies, I hope a child does not have to go through what I did for a calculator.