Sunday, September 29, 2013

Grandmother Lidbury

I've been remembering my Grandmother Lidbury lately; I think it's because when I look in the mirror, I may not see her face, but I've definitely inherited her body.  Grandma was stocky; barrel-shaped - so am I.  When I work out at the gym and I see all of those ectomorphs around me, I just tell myself, "I have my Grandmother's build."  I think all of us sisters do.

Grandma liked to do handwork.  She tatted, and crocheted, and knitted, and made hairpin lace, and...  During the last part of her life when she had difficulty walking, her hands were always busy.  She taught me to tat, although I don't know if I remember how now.  She tried to teach me how to crochet - I remember making a chain that stretched from one end of the house in Moose Jaw to the other.  Every furniture surface in Grandma's house was covered with doilies that she had made; most of them were crocheted in the pineapple pattern.  It was my job to go next door to their house once a week (on Saturdays) and to dust everything.  Grandma would hide pennies under the doilies, and you couldn't see them unless you picked up the doilies and dusted it properly.  I always understood the parable of the lost coin, because if I finished dusting and had only 24 pennies, when a roll of pennies contained 25, I would start over again, looking for the missing one.

Grandma loved to have visitors; she was very hospitable.  Because I was fortunate having my grandparents live next door to me when I was growing up, there were many times I would be over there and someone would stop by.  Grandma would introduce me, and if I was lucky, I would be invited to stay for lunch.  Although she was born in Tennessee and lived in Texas before she was married and all of her siblings and family lived a long ways away from where she lived in Canada, she stayed in touch with them all through letters.  She wrote regularly, and would keep in touch with everyone.  She tried to visit as often as possible too.  She was the oldest of a large family and she was the one who kept everyone connected.

Grandma had a strong sense of humour.  She liked to tell us funny stories, and when she got to laughing, it was really contagious.  When she laughed, she would be helpless with laughter.  When we heard the sound of her laughing uncontrollably, we knew she was in trouble, but you couldn't help laughing with her.  I remember one time when our family and the Boatwrights were driving together up to Yellowknife to visit David and Shirley and family up there.  (I actually wasn't on the trip, but this has become a family story to be shared many times.)  The Boatwrights had a pickup with a camper on the back, and the kids would go back and forth between the cab and the camper through the sliding window in the back of the cab.  Grandma had to be boosted up into the back of the camper up the steps though, because she had difficulty walking and the step up was so high.  So she decided that if the kids could go through the sliding window, she could too.  She got about half-way and got stuck.  We knew she was in trouble when we heard her laughing.  We all laughed so much, but it took a bit of effort to get her unstuck.

Another time she was in the bathtub and couldn't get out.  Grandpa heard her laughing and asked what the problem was.  She explained that she couldn't get out of the tub.  (After this incident, we installed grab bars in the tub.)  He wanted to pick the lock and come in to help her, but she wouldn't let him see her without any clothes on.  He had to phone next door to have mom come to rescue her.

Grandma died in 1983.  She was down visiting family in Texas and was buried down in Allen, Texas.  Grandpa was never the same after she died.  He had lost the light of his life.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Who am I

For the first time in over 20 years, I have not started out the school year with the usual teacher anxiety; what classes will I have; how can I reach this particular student, have I planned enough, etc.  I also have not had the usual teacher nightmares, where I am supposed to be teaching a particular class but can't find the room; or I left all of my materials at home; or it's a subject I know nothing about.

The reason for this is simple:  for the first time in over 20 years I'm not teaching this fall.  I'm still working - being able to afford retirement is a long ways away, but I made a decision last fall that I wouldn't substitute teach (I did nearly 10 years of that when my children were small) and that I wouldn't go back into the public school system.  Instead, I hoped to get a position in adult education, where I had worked before moving south to Regina.  Unfortunately, although I had many, many interviews, I didn't get any of the positions I interviewed for, and so I am working, but not teaching.

I have always worked in business as well - usually part-time; but before I took my degree in education, I took a diploma in business.  It has always stood me in good stead, and it's proving its value once again.  Currently, I'm working two part-time jobs; one position three days a week at the Orr Centre (my brother's my boss there), primarily doing books but also doing "other duties as may be required".  There's a lot of the second part of the job description.  I am also working two days a week for a legal firm (my sister's) as a legal assistant.  So, I'm working for family; I'm working in business; and I'm adapting.

It's also a bit dislocating.  I've always been a teacher.  That's part of my identity.  I'm not sure how to introduce myself when I don't state that I'm teaching here or there. However, there's lots less stress working outside of the educational system; and I don't mind that.  (There's also much less pay, but, the Lord always provides for me, and I am doing fine).  I have decided that regardless whatever I'm working at, I'll be the best I can be.  "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, it is the Lord Christ you are serving."  (Now that's from memory, so it may not match up with the text verbatum.)

I have also decided that part of my job needs to be to ensure that I make my coworkers' jobs easier.  I find that enjoyable - doing my best to look out for my coworkers.  I have to say I am enjoying rediscovering who I am.  Long may the journey continue.