The StoryCorps Reports – Participant #4

  1. The saddest moment in my life was standing at the railroad station watching the 17 year old high school boy off to war. I planned to marry him. He didn’t know it. We’d never dated beyond, “Hi.”
  2. Four and one half years later, my happiest moment when the train rolled to a stop and a 21 year old man walked off – full of smiles. He had planned to marry me. I didn’t know it. We worked out the details.
  3. Do I have regrets?

Who doesn’t? I do not let myself think about regrets – to me it’s just a waste of my time. Family always was and always will be most important to me. If I have regrets, it is not spending more time at home with family or traveling to Minnesota to be with family there. Who cares about the cleaning, ironing, polishing silver? Who even remembers?

 

  1. Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to pass along?

I wish I could pass on to share:

Enjoy this day.

Yesterday is gone and cannot be changed.

Tomorrow may not come.

But, today is here.

Yours to enjoy.

Enjoy it while you can.

It will be gone quickly.

5. How did we choose a name?

Not sure we did! We had read the adventures of Peter Pan and Wendy. She became our adventure and her name became Wendy.

6. What was the hardest part of her leaving home?

Was standing at the airport, watching an 18 year old dance off to the airplane taking her east, smiling and waving as she shouted, “Isn’t this great?” We learned at that moment letting go was easier than trying to hang on to her AND it did turn out great!

7. What were our dreams for Wendy?

Our dreams for Wendy were, and are:

To dream and aim high

To be responsible and independent

To know right from wrong

To act and speak accordingly

To believe all things are possible

To know some things are harder than others, some things take

longer than others.

To do it her way

To be true to herself

To lend a hand to her fellow man

To be aware of different cultures and realize we are all alike – we

need food, shelter, water,

sleep, friends and faith

To stay positive, and the negative ignore

To be happy and healthy

To her credit and our pride, Wendy has always done her best and

continues to dream on and aim high.

8. Where were you born?

Minnesota was my home. It was the land of 10,000 lakes, Paul Bunyan and Hiawatha. A small town on the shores of a river rifting down stream from the west, at the bend of the river between two tall bluffs, on the piece of flat land on the river’s banks was the small town Mankato, my home for 20 years.

  1. What was it like there?
  2. Hills on all sides; hills in winter covered with snow; hills in spring

    covered with new green leaves; hills in summer covered with wild flowers; hills in fall covered with red, yellow, brown leaves.

    That was my home, where I skated on frozen lakes in winter; where I planted vegetable gardens in the spring; where I wandered the hills in the summer; where I went back to school every fall.

  3. Did you enjoy school?

School I loved. Libraries, books, pens and notebooks, what else could one need? While others joined clubs, participated in sports, partied, not me. I read books and wrote in my journals. I worked on the school newspaper. I wrote for the Daily Free Press – a journalist in the making, I thought.

 

It must have been, however, I was meant to be a teacher. Little children caught my attention. Little children with their curiosity, their energy, their unique view of the world, and their challenge never left me. I learned far more than I ever taught. So it was for 35 years.

 

I never planned to retire. Sad to say the day came when I had no choice. My mother needed us, our neighbors needed us, and last, but not least, my husband needed me. I’ve never regretted that I retired. I’m grateful I had those days and nights with those I loved.

The last five years of retirement have not been easy. But it was meant to be. I have faith it was meant to be.

Would I change growing up where I did and as I did?

NEVER. NO WAY.

Would I wish I’d had a different career?

NEVER. NO WAY.

Would I wish retirement was different?

Probably, but that’s NOT an option.

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