Two years ago today was the memorial service for my sister, Lorraine. She died on September 4, 2012, so unexpectedly. I was in shock then and am still in shock today, two years later. This is Lorraine and her little dog that she loved. She had written on a sheet of paper the song Just A Closer Walk With Thee so it was sung as a solo by a student of Christine who is a music professor and Lorraine’s oldest daughter. It was a beautiful service. Richard, my brother and I both gave tributes. Two of her daughters, Rhonda and Linda, also gave tributes. A poem was read, by a granddaughter, that was written by Lorraine’s youngest daughter, Sonja. I was privileged to read a poem Lorraine wrote and had published.
I started at age five.
Buttons from my mother’s sewing box, my first students. In rows, according to size, round, eager eyes seeking mine; they recited. At recess, in circles, they played games, color and design making each unique.
Our spice cupboard, another classroom. Tall children in back: Sage, Saffron, Cayenne. Standing on a chair to reach the shelf, I told them stories and read them poetry. Ever obedient, they were always there when I opened the classroom door.
When I was eight, the children were alive, gathered from neighborhood families. School was year-round. Our garage, the summer classroom; In winter, beside the furnace in our basement. Desks and chairs made from old crates. I taught them of Columbus and Sacagawea, How to add and subtract; We read Dick and Jane, Made time for recess. We dismissed school only when the last child Was called home to dinner.
More difficult my years in real school; Paperwork, test scores, hall watches, parents, principals, Old math, new math, their math, phonics, no phonics, phonics, sex ed., nuclear ed., no to drugs.
Thank God for the staple, the children.
I’m retired now. Thought I’d enjoy resting and reading, maybe golf or tennis. Instead, I find some boys next door Who need help with homework.
Sixty years so far, my teaching career. Not planned, not agonized—what shall I do with my life? Buttons, spices, neighborhood, real school, after school. Where students are, there I will be.
I am a teacher.
Her memorial service was held in Augustana Lutheran Church, which had a large bell. It was rung every time there was a funeral or memorial service. Two of her grandsons, Joe and Sean, got to ring the bell. I took a picture of the bell too, but wouldn’t you know it…it didn’t turn out! If you stop and listen…you just might hear the bell ringing, dong – dong…
After the service there was a very nice luncheon put on by Lorraine’s four daughter’s, Christine, Rhonda, Linda and Sonja. There I got to meet some of Lorraine’s friends. She had written a book for children. It was published a few months before she died, thank goodness. The woman who did the art work was there and her two children who had inspired at least two of the stories! I was privileged to meet them! So…two years and I’m still grieving. I loved Lorraine so much and God loved her even more. I believe I’ll see her again some day!!!