Saturday, December 5, 2015

Through "Another's" Lens- "Down Memory Lane" by Metta Miller (The Premiere Post on This Blog)

Through "Another's" Lens Preface:

I decided a while back to embark upon a project journey that interested me very much. Long years ago, on several separate occasions of working for Home Health through the Nocona General Hospital  Home Health in Nocona, Texas, I was fortunate enough to have the same patient each time I worked. Not to say she was my only patient. We had many ranging from the low days of maybe 60 to the high days of maybe 120, but this lady won a space in my heart that no one else ever had and to this day hasn't. 
I'm not sure how old she was when I began seeing her. She was born 8-8-14 and I began working in the home health care system in 1997 or 1998. Time already gets away from me. I could do the math but I don't want to. I'll just say she was a tiny sweet little white haired lady with the most infectious smile and eyes that glimmered with mischief even though she was legally blind. 
When I say tiny, I mean tiny. Thanks to osteoporosis, her height had diminished through the years. I'm not sure where she started, but she, to my estimate, stood about 4 feet 10 inches. Her shoulders were frozen, meaning she could not lift anything higher than shoulder height. Her closets all had special hangers that were popular back then for "space saving" but really they just hung really low in her closet so she could reach to hang up her things.
She was one of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. I don't bestow that title on just anyone. Even now, after she's been gone close to ten years, I still think of her often, especially in times of strife or emotional turmoil and wonder what her "take" would have been. I wonder this because I never saw her experience any situation that she didn't turn it all around and find the silver lining despite all the storm clouds. 
My little hero...or would that be heroine...wrote an article for the Saint Jo Tribune for many years. I don't know how many, though I intend to find out no matter how long it takes. I want a copy of every single column she wrote. For myself, I shall make it into a book or an ebook. I am not sure yet. I just want it because I miss her and her stories and I am always inspired after reading one. I would like to pass them on to my children and my grandchildren for a few reasons. I want them to see what it is like to be truly selfless. I want them to read about what life was like back in her day. And I want more than anything, not that I really believe it is possible, for them to learn to find that silver lining like she always did. 
So I checked with the Bowie Public Library because they have an amazing genealogy/ local history section that people travel from all over to visit. (Did I mention I once worked there for about 8 months til I was wrongfully terminated by an insane librarian? I was found by a panel to have been wrongfully terminated but the city never gave me my job back or any compensation for that.) The nice young lady asked if I had inquired of the Saint Jo Public Library. Honestly, I didn't even know they had one. So I came home and called and the nice man I spoke to, Terry, told me that they did have copies of all the papers BUT they were in the back in boxes. He said I was more than welcome to come and look and do whatever I needed to do. 
I went that day and to the surprise of both of us several years were actually "bound". I had no idea where to start. So 1990 was the first bound one I saw. I didn't even know if she was writing then, so I grabbed it and we took it to the table and began to look. And sure enough. There it was. My first "Down Memory Lane" by Metta Miller.
I had this bright idea about some cool trick my Microsoft One Note was supposed to do which was to take a picture and pull the text from it. Ha! Nothing like that ever works for me but I did use my Microsoft Surface back facing camera to take pics of each of the columns that I could find. I was so excited to be finding so many. 
I went back the next day started in on 1992. I can't FIND them, but I know I had a good six months worth, but no worries. They've been there this long. I will get back over there to get them. 
Meanwhile...I pulled up the picture on one side of my screen and One Note or Ever Note on the other side and I read and typed them out. It's quite possible that I enjoyed doing them more this way. Because that way I was reading and absorbing them and remembering her eyes and her smile and her unflinching optimism in the face of all obstacles. I found myself learning so much about her that I didn't know and so wished I could go back in time to our many conversations during my nursing visits and ask her more.
I got to the point that I would schedule her visit at lunch time and I would order my lunch from somewhere and eat it with her at her kitchen table. She was always so filled with at the least acts of kindness. My act of eating with her made her very happy she said. She said she always ate more when she had someone to visit with as she ate. And I understand that because I don't like to eat alone either. 

So without any further adieu... I will begin throwing in one of her columns here and there in my blog. If I happen to have a picture that I feel like goes along with her story, maybe I'll post it but mostly I will post the picture of her column from the paper. I took the liberty of spelling a few things correctly. Mostly she was an excellent speller, but I didn't change the words at all. 

January 12, 1990

Down Memory Lane
         by Metta Miller

When I was young and in my prime, I welcomed winter time.
Now, I am old with creaky knees and have to enjoy the season in
Before the era of school buses, school was never closed on account
of the weather, especially winter weather. Why should they have
closed the schools, then everyone lived in walking distance, and the
State did not pay on the basis of how many times a pupil attended
Classes. If there was no school the kids were out in the snow anyway.
Besides, this was the only time some children who lived two or three miles
Out of town got to come to school.
On pretty days these children had to work on the farm. On snowy or rainy days,
When they could not plow, hoe or pick cotton, they walked to town to learn the
Three "R's". Really, I think those were the ones who studied the hardest, for most
Of them knew they would not be able to complete high school and wanted to know
How to read, write and add their future days earnings.
No lunchroom then. Every one, except those who lived near the school, took their
Lunch and on bad days (the only time I took my lunch) we ate at our desks. I used to
Envy the "upper crust" kids. They brought their lunches in shiny lunch pails, which held
Such goodies as sandwiches made from store bought bread. My lunches were toted to
School in a small, beat-up syrup bucket. (It was beat -up because I hit my brother over
The head with it.) It held biscuits and home cured ham or scrambled eggs. Instead of
Fresh fruit, I had a small jar of canned fruit, or maybe berry cobbler. Little did I realize
Then that I had the better lunch. Not as eye appealing, but better for me, and it
Was certainly packed with as much love as could be crammed in a bucket.

Then I thought nothing of the fact that as the fruit ripened Dad would put a big box in the
Little, used to be red but rusty now, wagon and take all the kids too little to work to a local
Orchard to pick up the wind falls. If Mama was not washing for someone that day she went
Along. We were forbidden, by my parents, to pick any fruit from the trees, that fruit was
For sale, the windfalls were free. I really think Mama enjoyed those days, they got her
Away from the wash tub. Mom would work far into the night canning the days gleanings.
Dad and each child big enough to handle a knife was put to work peeling. Mom and Dad
Liked Indian and cowboy stories or sometimes they would tell of how things were around
Callisburg when they were young. This is where I got my small jar of fruit in my lunch
Bucket. I did not find this way of life unusual, for it was our way of life. It was up to each of
Us to improve on it, if possible. Above all, no matter what our station in life we were to be
Trustworthy, always keep our word and help others.

In fact, I think, "Help Somebody Today" was not just a song but our parents slogan which they
Practiced daily.

The love instilled in me by my parents go out to all of you, wherever you are. God loves you and
I do, too.

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