One of the stories in my book My Clients…My Teachers is a story about Mrs. Cooper.
I recently passed through a town where Mrs. Cooper lives, and stopped to visit. It was a treat for me and hopefully for her. She told me she so enjoyed getting my book.
She lost her husband three years ago, and said, “I just wanted to go and be with him.”
We visited about her family and her husbands family and how she particularly missed one of her brothers who made her laugh. I told her I remembered a sign he had in his downtown store window that read, “Open when I’m here!” We laughed.
She mentioned her sister several times and said she and her husband and family had been out to see her. Their relationship and visit was significant.
She said she was estranged from one of her sons and she didn’t know why, “He just quit talking to me.” She thought it was about farm land. It was very painful for her. She also spoke of how another son was a true blessing; “He comes to see me every day. He even does the dishes. He tries to get me to go places, but I really, don’t want to go. It is too hard.”
She also spoke highly of her daughter-in-law, “She is always cheerful. She sees the best side of things.” I told her how I babysat for her daughter-in-law, even though there must not be a year between us. I remembered the large Lazy Susan of chocolate candy in her house. Awesome to a thirteen year old.
Mrs. Cooper spoke of how both she and her husband were raised in , “very poor families.” She knew she wanted to be educated when she was quite young. She started teaching in a country school and she named students Joan and Clydeen as being, “So very smart.” She thought small schools helped kids learn better. Her next job was in a small town where she retired thirty plus years later. Her eyes sparkled as she spoke about her teaching.
She described in detail her husbands tombstone, and what pictures she chose for his side of the stone and what she chose for her side. “Without him, I have nobody to really talk to.” Her statement caught my breath.
It was hard to leave her. I get teary as I write about the moment.
She is a strong rural woman who I hold in such high esteem. She reminds me of my mother; strong, proud, and classy. They were both such positive models for me and many young girls.
Thank you, and Merry Christmas Mrs. Cooper.
Until the next time: Live while you live!