October 15 – Soon after volunteering at the Adult Learning Center came our move from Pennsylvania to Missouri to be closer to our kids who had settled in Kansas and Missouri, about 50 miles from each other. Just after we arrived, we were invited to Grandparents’ Day at the Kingsville School where we could enjoy visiting our two grandsons’ classrooms and eating with the boys. Wouldn’t you know it? At the end of the visitation, the principal welcomed everyone and asked if anyone would volunteer to spend time at the school helping out in the various classrooms! When I asked Dale if I should volunteer, he said, “It’s up to you, but you know the garage is full of stuff we haven’t even unpacked yet. The furniture isn’t even arranged. If you think you can handle it, go ahead, but count me out!”
Would you believe that not one other person volunteered! I tried to get someone in our neighborhood to join with me, but she was really too busy and tied up in work on the farm. So, on Monday morning back in August of 1998, I was off to Kingsville, hoping that all would go well and that I could keep on with the career I had chosen right out of college fifty years before. Fifteen years later, Dale thought it would be a good idea if I finally called it quits at Kingsville and just settled in at home! Although I really didn’t agree with his suggestion, I did “retire” once again.
And the kids? Along with so many happy memories of them, I am still reminded of their love when I go back to visit with Anita, the school secretary, in her office. When it’s time for classes to change, she urges me to leave the office and stand in the hall, waiting for kids to go by! What a joy it is to note that the kids really haven’t forgotten, and the hugs go back and forth before the kids have to leave to get to classes on time. It’s still hard for me to believe that the kids who used to be so little are now in their last years of high school, some seniors already! Do they just pass me by and go on their way? Thankfully, no they don’t! I will always consider these young folks “my kids,” and be so thankful that I could share in their lives.
About six weeks ago as Dale and I were driving one of the country roads on our way to church, I saw some beautiful golden yellow cornflowers. “Stop,” I said to Dale, “I want to get a picture!” As I was making sure I ended up with a good picture of the bright flowers, I heard a car stop in front of me. Since I was more interested in the flowers than I was of the car, I just continued snapping the photos, until I heard, “Hey, whatya doin’, Mrs. Fairchild?”
Now that DID capture my attention. Somebody in that car knew my name! As the young man continued towards me and I could see his face, I knew who he was! His name was Bryce, a mischievous young kid who had now turned into a senior; Bryce, the jokester with the beautiful smile. Through the years I had seen him grow up and mature, thankful that he was still just a bit mischievous, and still returned my hugs.
Several weeks later, not too long before school began, Dale and I were volunteering with the Harvesters’ program in our church parking lot. I was standing near the truck waiting for the first cars to drive into the driveway. But before the line started to move, another driver pulled his car right up to where I stood. The young driver hopped out quickly and called, “Hi, Mrs. Fairchild! When I saw the truck, I knew you would be here, so I drove up to say hello before you began!” Now, was I happy or pleased or thankful or surprised, or all of the above?! Because it was Bryce on his way to work, but he chose to stop to say hi to this “somewhat old” teacher and get another hug! – CHRIS