Ever wonder what we will be remembered for? Will we do something amazing and life-changing, such as finding a cure for cancer? Will we write a book that will inspire people? Will we teach others so well that they will go on to teach others? Will we create something of monumental importance to our planet? Will we become a voice for others who cannot speak for themselves?
Perhaps we will be the person who raises an incredibly kind and loving child. Maybe we will hold out a hand to someone who desperately needs acknowledgement. We might donate our time reading to seniors in rest homes who have no families or visitors. Or we could just strive to make our time here on the planet count.
My heroes have been family members, teachers, friends, and so on. There isn’t a famous person among them, but they have left indelible marks on my heart. There is my former English teacher, Ray Lord, who encouraged me to try out for our school musicals. I wasn’t a particularly good scholar and I was dismal in athletics, but I fell deeply in love with theater. Being in those wonderful shows changed my life and gave me a “tribe” in which to belong.
Miss Gladys Churchill was another hero of mine. When I met her, she was in her 80s and I was nine yeas old. Besides my grandmother, I had never met anyone as old as she was. Visiting her was like visiting the queen in her palace. She lived in a small space, but it was filled with her Victorian furniture, mementos from her family and friends, fragile china tea cups and so on.
Our visits were straightforward; she talked, I listened. She told me about her family, her jobs, her views on life and also how young ladies should act. She gave me advice that I still remember (and use) to this day.
The first time I visited her with my brand new purse (the first one I ever owned), she told me about the “necessaries” that every young lady should keep in her purse. I remember these two “rules” the most:
“A lady always carries an extra pair of white gloves, just in case. Keep them in the bottom of your purse, and cover them with a handkerchief. Keep a spare handkerchief so that you don’t spoil the one over your gloves.”
“A lady never “roots” in her purse.”
Of course, the only time I ever wore white gloves was to the Easter Sunday services, but I remembered to put my clean handkerchief over them. To this day I do not grope around in my purse in public. Funny what we keep, isn’t it?
So, in our lifetimes will we be heroes, mentors, teachers, peace makers, friends, advocates? What will we be remembered for? When I think of this, I remember my mother once saying that, when she died, her tombstone should read, “She hath done what she could.”
May we all do what we can, whether or not we are remembered.