She looked right into my six or seven year old eyes, made sure she had my attention, and told me, "There's no one else in this world like you. Your mommy and daddy could buy a new dolly or new books, but they could never buy a new you!"
Her name was Doty Ryan; good friend of our parents'; lived down the road; and occasionally had the pleasure of babysitting yours truly. I'm not sure how we got on the topic of the house burning down, but she was impressing upon me the importance of getting out...quickly...without taking time to gather my little girl belongings. I remember her insistence. I remember her eyes looking deep into mine, making sure that I was paying attention. For some reason, I remember the table in her oh so clean kitchen.
As I prepped my students yesterday for the (finally!) beginning of this Slice of Life writing challenge I had been hinting at for so long, I borrowed a resource from the Two Writing Teachers website. It included all of the Who? What? When? and Where? info that my students needed. When I got to the Why? section, my eyes fell on these words..."There's no one else in this world like you." I was once again six or seven years old, and Doty Ryan's oh so clean kitchen came hurtling back to me through time and space. I saw her insistence. I saw her eyes. I knew in the depths of my heart that she loved me and that she would keep me safe.
Today I love memory. Now, those who know me well will literally laugh out loud at today's love...I have a notoriously bad memory. I have been known to have trouble with my own name from time to time! The terms "user name" and "password" have been the bane of my existence this school year as we have taken the leap into the world of iPads and lots and lots and lots of different email addresses and log on info. I, in fact, had to phone a friend just yesterday to even be able to recall the email address associated with this blog so that I could log back on! Earlier this week a dear friend showed up at my house to pick up a batch of cookies I had promised. The Man just didn't quite know what to tell her, since I had taken said cookies to school with me!
But that afternoon in Doty Ryan's kitchen? I remember it like it was this very afternoon. Such a deliberate impression was made upon my tiny being that it has stuck with me all these years later.
"There is no one else in this world like you."
When I read those words with my students yesterday, I did my best to be Doty for them. I told them about Doty and little girl me and how old lady me still remembers her words. I told them that this is what the Slice of Life Challenge is all about...capturing little bits and pieces...little slices of their lives...because those very special and yet very ordinary experiences need to be....nay, deserve to be...written down.
And so we are off! I hope maybe a few of you can join us as we round up our slices each day. I'll be posting my students' slices on a different blog, while I'll continue to keep loving things back here. Because, you know what I always say...there's always something to love!