Top 10 Influencers
1 & 2. My parents – they raised me in a home full of love, laughter, and chores. Lots of chores – wash dishes, fold clothes, make my own bed, feed my dog, clean up the dog’s messes, sweeping, you name it my brother and I did it as a chore. Guess that taught us hard work pays off. They also made sure I was involved in every activity that I wanted to be involved in from softball, swim team, dance, and technology fairs.
3. My great-grandmother on my mom’s side of the family – she lived to the ripe young age of 98 years old, half of her life without her husband because he died young. She was always independent, generous, kind, nurturing, all that and more! She lived in a small garage apartment when I was young and I remember on the staircase up to the apartment she always had plants. Later once she moved into a independent living facility, she was the resident gardener making sure to keep the grounds looking nice and leaving enough space for some tasty veggies for herself and others. The year she passed, was my first year teaching middle school, 11th year teaching. I just remember when she went into the hospital on nights I stopped in to visit her she was always worried about me making it back home safely. Never worried about herself one time.
4 & 5. My grandparents – Growing up they lived just a few streets over from our house in Houston. My grandma was our babysitter when my mom worked, so we were with her until we entered Kindergarten and then we stayed with her after school all through elementary school. Lots of time to influence me! My grandpa was a truck driver, but he also was a farmer. He had several pastures where he ran cattle and other areas where he grew a plentiful garden. I spent many summers out in the country with my grandparents learning how to work the cows, plant a garden, work together and love. Huge life lessons from them!
6 & 7. My Busha and Jaja (other grandparents) – They lived in the country (I say country, because it was a small town, but they were right off of main street in Bremond, TX), so during the summers with my grandparents, they would share us by taking us over to stay with my Busha and Jaja as well. They had to be the most frugal people I knew. They recycled glass soda bottles, aluminium cans/foil, tin cans, but of course that is what you did in the old days and boy could my Jaja drink some Big Red! They raised and ate their own chickens, had a garden out to the side of their house that my Jaja plowed by hand (or he sent us to work on it), and grease was always saved and used to fry up the next meal. I earned money for helping my Busha pluck the chickens feathers. It was yucky, but it helped me to be able to get a small toy at the local five and dime when we walked there with my Busha, she never did drive. My Jaja on the other hand drove all over, weaved in and out of train crossing arms that were down, and did not buckle up! And have no fear if there was money to be made, he would figure out a way to make it. Just a little example – it was big at the time when I was a kid to sell raccoon skins. If ever he was driving and saw a little road kill, he was going to stop and pick it up, you could guarantee that! I remember many summers sitting on the porch watching while he sold raccoon skins to various men that would stop by. I have no idea what anyone made with all those skins, but he sold lots of them! And he always told us we were eating raccoon, turtle or something crazy for dinner, I am not 100% sure if he was ever serious about that or not.
8, 9, &10. TEACHERS – there were certainly more than 3 of them that I can remember, name, and give you an example of what they did that encouraged me as a learner, but I was blessed with AMAZING teachers in my years of schooling and NO I do not have a yearbook or my old pictures out. They have been engraved in my memory because of how they treated me as a child, cared for me, and cared enough about me to educate me in their classrooms.
Here is the list: Ms. Deerborne, Ms. Eddington, Ms. Lopez, Ms. Wadsworth, Ms. Shoemaker, Ms. Van Horn, Ms. Fantz, Mr. Charles, Ms. Maddox, Ms. Eaves, Ms. Young, Mr. Hill, Mr. White, Mr. Bernard, Ms. Wisenbaker, Ms. Kelly, Ms. Conway, Mr. Reynolds, Ms. Wilson, Ms. Javors, Mr. Laurenzana, Ms. Pinto-Almond, Lt. Col. Kendrick, Sgt Major Martinez, Ms. Buelow, Ms. McGraw, and Mr. Miller