The last time I saw Susan she was three years old.
She lived in my hometown and was Julia, my best friend’s, little sister. I was thirteen years old when my dad died and we left the town where he taught at the local college. Mother got a job out of state and I lost touch with both sisters. Years later, Julia and I reconnected, followed by my reconnecting with Susan. We became Facebook friends and were in touch almost daily. Her creativity, compassion for others, and energy, were a breath of fresh air.
On October 9 this year, Susan passed unexpectedly. When I saw her daughter’s post on Facebook, announcing her Mom’s death, I was heart sick. Even now, thinking of it gives me a lump in my throat.
A few days ago, I found the Christmas card Susan sent me last year.
This is so much more than a Christmas card to me. It is a reminder to take the time to let people know how you feel. Susan’s card will inspire me to send physical reminders to let others know they matter to me, and why.
Years ago, I read that sincere compliments are so rare, we remember them for a lifetime. At my age, a physical reminder is helpful. In the age of everything quick, reactionary and electronic, a personal note is especially treasured. This year may be the perfect time to send a hand written note to loved ones to let them know you care.
Stay safe and share your love and light. No day is promised.
One of my most powerful lessons on creative thinking was my aha! when I realized that half of eight was O!
I was in an arithmetic class in elementary school and as I looked at the number 8, I realized that "half of eight equals 4" wasn't the only right answer! This discovery thrilled me and I immediately raised my hand to share this with my teacher and the rest of the class. The teacher was neither impressed nor pleased. She was visibly annoyed.
By the time I got home, my dad, a calculus professor at an engineering school, had received a call. He sat me down at the dining room table to have a conversation. His face was expressionless (my dad had made a considerable amount of money in the Korean War playing Black Jack and unlike me, had an enviable poker face).
He told me that my teacher had called and given her perspective, quite negative, on my discovery, and he asked me to explain mine.
"Well, I just realized that half of eight can be zero," I said quietly, my head down.
"Can you prove it?" he asked, and I saw a grin cross his face. He knew I could!
So I drew an eight, and covered the top. 0!
My dad was not angry. He was pleased! And as I looked at the 8 I realize it could be an E or a 3! And if I turned it on its side, it could be an m or a w!
It was then that I realized being creative in school might not be well received. Over the years, many teachers wanted me to memorize and regurgitate. Thankfully my dad, a Calculus professor, wanted me to think.
My life would have been very different if he has scolded or reprimanded me as my teacher had. I have often wondered over the years as I've worked with young people, how many times their creative ideas and potential contributions have been squelched. Seeing things in new and different ways adds such joy to life.
Just this morning my daughter Mycala came up with an idea that i could see changing everything in her life, and have a humorous and joyful impact on others! I've been smiling since and thinking of how blessed I was to have support in my life for looking for more than one right answer!
I started Collecting Firsts years ago, when I was weary of the same house, job, drive to work, etc., and I decided if life was going to be more varied and vibrant, it was up to me to take a more creative and proactive approach. It never occurred to me that my ‘first’ plague was in the future, or the first time watching my youngest daughter struggle with Covid 19.
On a brighter note, as she began to slowly recuperate, inspite of on going after effects, she asked me if I’d like to participate in the virtual Baltimore 26.2 mile crabby walk. At 70, I knew it would be a challenge as it was my first, but wanted to support her, so I agreed.
On Saturday, October 10, we completed our required miles and yesterday our t-shirts and medals arrived so we opened them together on a Zoom call!
We’re planning to do the turkey trot on Thanksgiving Day and run a marathon in the spring. Setting goals together has helped to make this bittersweet year a little more bearable. Even during a pandemic, there are ways to collect firsts. I hope you are all setting goals and making wonderful memories.
Happy Birthday Nancy!
My dear friend Nancy celebrated her 75th Birthday in late November and we threw her a surprise party at one of my favorite restaurants in Baltimore, the Bygone, located in Harbor East. Nancy and I decided on the date and time together which fortunately gave me plenty of time to collaborate with her daughters who created and sent out gorgeous invitation by snail mail.
Since the Bygone has a 1920s theme, coming in period garb was suggested but not mandatory. I encouraged Nancy to wear the Roaring 20s outfit she had worn for Halloween. The creativity and variety of costumes were impressive and the restaurant, with it's Art Deco theme and spectacular views was a worthy backdrop!
Yet as the time of the party drew near, Nancy began to ask about changing the day and/or the time of the celebration. She thought only the two of us were going and seemed confused that I was so adamant about keeping it at the designated time.
Everything worked out well and she was undoubtedly surprised. Later she said it was the best birthday of her life so the efforts were certainly worth it!
If you live in Baltimore, or plan to visit, the Bygone's spectacular views, scrumptious cuisine and superlative customer service and attention to detail will provide the perfect setting for your most memorable moments!
A Festival of Light, Music and Innovation!
The lights in the harbor in Baltimore are always spectacular, but the city really lights up when Light City Baltimore comes to town! It's an event I don't miss - one of my favorite city spectaculars! This is the third year and every year the displays vary.
"In just three years, Light City has become one of the world’s most renowned light art festivals, transforming Baltimore with large-scale light art installations, performances and music. Situated along the Baltimore Inner Harbor and Waterfront, Light City features international, national and local artists, innovative culinary experiences and an interactive children’s area. 2019 marks the 4th year of Light City. Light City is held outdoors in tents, and inside the Inner Harbor’s most popular visitor attractions. The outdoor festival is 100% free and accessible; all indoor venues are accessible and some indoor/private venues may be ticketed." ~ Light City Baltimore 2019
The videos below are the next best thing to being there,
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!