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Posts Tagged ‘mile markers’

A two-week safari in Africa was certainly a mile-marker in my life. Here I’m standing at an overlook of the Ngorongoro Crater in front of a sign with mile markers to various cities around the world. — Photo by Kim Perrin

My Story Circle’s writing prompt this month was to write about life’s mile markers. I chose to create a 10 point list of people who helped get me through some of those times.  Here’s my list – which easily could have been much longer.

1: My grandmother. During my early years, the only person I was for sure loved me was my grandmother. Our dysfunctional family lived with her. She was not a sweet granny, although she cooked like one, but a woman with strong opinions and standards that she expected to be met – and she favored a supple switch to the back of the legs if they weren’t.  But I could outrun her and she had a quick-to-forgive nature. Sadly, she died when I was 11.

2: My mother, although I wouldn’t realize or accept it until I was in my mid-30s. She, too, was a strong woman, one who took what life allowed her before equal rights was even considered. She loved her four children but was not vocal about it, or a hugger. She was the rock that made sure the family had food on the table and a bed under a roof to sleep in at night. She was not a complainer but a doer.

3: A cadre of “village” women – Dorothy, Louise, Jeri – who took a too-young woman with five children under their wings and supported her until she could get her own feet on the ground.

Kim and I shared Africa together, and here is a photo of us after a very long, but wonderful, day of bouncing in the back of a Land Rover over the Serengeti.

4: Roberta, the city editor who pushed a wanna-be writer and would-be reporter over and over again to the crying point, teaching her how to become a professional and ethical journalist who would go on to have a successful 37-year award-winning career in the newspaper industry.

5: David, a gay man and my reporter colleague at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who supported me during the hardest two years of my personal life, which included divorce and family failures.

6: Cliff Cheney, a managing editor who believed in my journalism potential. He hired me for a very difficult job, and when I whined after undertaking it, and asked him why he had done this to me, he sat back, put his feet on his desk, and said: “Because I knew you could handle it Pat.” He died in a car accident that very night, but his words empowered me for rest of my career.

7: My friend Kim, who has been in my life for 40 years now. We fill each other’s holes because we are two very different people. We have worked together, played together, celebrated birthdays together, hiked together, argued together, traveled together, gotten lost together, and these days Zoom together because we now live in two different states. My life is richer because Kim is part of it.

A recent Facebook picture of my friend Jean, who is a teacher and having her own mile-marker moments of learning to teach online. She makes me smile and laugh.

8: All the wonderful, talented women in Story Circle Network who helped me find my personal, non-journalistic voice after I retired.  Without the support of this group, my book Travels with Maggie would never have been published.  This group also keeps me daily in touch with like-minded, caring intelligent women who encourage this old broad to keep writing.

9: My friend Jean, who like Kim is as different from me as night and day. It is the best kind of friend to have because it ensures that life is never boring. Jean is part of my daily life here in Tucson, the kind of friend this old broad needs to stay on her toes. Jean challenges me to continue thinking outside my comfortable box, brings the world into my apartment where I’ve tended to get too comfortable, and makes me laugh. She’s my Happy Hour a couple of times a week, and the person my kids call when I go missing for more than a few hours.

10: Last, but certainly not least, is my family. I have five children and their families, 15 grandchildren and their families, and seven great-grandchildren. I have a different relationship with each, am closer to some than others, but all have a place in my heart. I regularly learn from them. They fuel my life and make it feel meaningful.

 

 

 

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