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LOSS AND MEMORY
14 August 2013
I had a call from Compassion yesterday, letting me know that my correspondence sponsored girl, Esther, in Indonesia, had graduated from school, got a job, and dropped out of the Compassion program. Esther is sending me a good bye letter and I wrote a good bye letter to her as well.
I've lost other children before, whose parents pull them from the program for one reason or another, but Esther is the first one who completed the program and moved on into her adult life.
I have been writing to her for the past three years. Not surprisingly, I am a prolific writer and she has been, off and on, an excellent writer as well. The children who actually can speak and write in English are the ones with whom you make a closer connection, I've discovered. She had written to me about being uncomfortable on her last birthday because it meant she had become an adult and had to learn new adult habits and responsibilities.
She once sent me a handful of tiny photos of herself with her friends and her cousins--the first (or maybe only) of my sponsored kids to have done so.
I am going to miss Esther, but Compassion is going to choose another child whose financial sponsor, for whatever reason, doesn't write and I will start a new relationship with this new one.
Having written my goodbye letter to Esther, I sat down to write to the other 13 kids. I usually use Compassion's on-line stationery where you write on their web site and include photos, they print the whole thing and send, with a translation, to the kids, and you can easily duplicate a letter to all of the children (personalizing part of each letter). It's been a great way to share photos with the kids.
The subject for this mass-mailing to the kids was school, prompted by a news report that some kids in this area are already starting back to school (where did the summer go? Not that I'm complaining, of course!) I decided to use memories of my grammar school years as a prompt for asking them questions about their school. I said that I had gone to school in a big city and that the building was a big concrete building.
I told them that I walked about a mile to school each day (I checked this with Google and was surprised to find out how far it was. My mother says she walked 3 miles to school each day, something I thought was exaggerated until I visited the site of her family farm and clocked the distance to the school...and it was 3 miles, rain or shine, she says.)
I explained that the nuns who taught us lived in a building attached to the school. I also talked about the clothes that the nuns wore (these were Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)...
...and said that my teachers had names like Sister Mary St. Patrice, Sister Mary Humbaline, Sister Mary John Etta, Sister Mary Bernardone. I talked about how each classroom had one grade in it and that probably had about 30 kids in each class. I then asked them about their school, the name of their teachers
I also found a picture of myself in my school uniform, at age 10.
Oh how I hated that middy blouse after 8 years in it. We went to Macy*s every fall and bought new blouses and a new (navy blue) pleated skirt. You then attached the collar and cuffs to the blouse and wore it with a tie, tied in a square knot. Every. day. If nothing else, I never learned to compete with other girls for who had the best dress!
(This is, by the way, about the time I went on my first diet, about the time I was "too fat" to take ballet lessons.)
The thing about the letters I'm writing to the kids now is that I'm
mailing these letters to Compassion's office so that I can include little gifts, like
coloring book pages, stickers, and other paper products. I haven't done this in a
long time, preferring the on-line letters, but I have a huge backlog of things to send and
I'd like to get some of them fnally sent.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is a paper mirror I bought and decorated for
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