Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mrs. Linke had an impact

It's interesting to look back in your life and realize that some things that happened and their significance doesn't become truly realized until later in life.  That's what I have been doing lately.  Reflecting backwards and paying tribute to those events.  I'd like to share this one with you.

Let me tell you a brief story:
I grew up in a family of 8 and for most of my childhood we were very (financially) poor.  My parents were hard working but just couldn't bring in enough money to support our family. Because we were poor the public health nurse would visit our house frequently to make sure all was OK.  She, also, would assess the children prior to being enrolled in school.  I was extremely introverted as a child, and my communication skills were extremely limited.   I preferred to be by myself.   As I neared the age for going to kindergarten the public health nurse came to visit and determined that I was mentally retarded (now called challenged) and her recommendation was for me to be put in a home for retarded children. (back in the 50's this was a common practice)  Mrs Linke, who was the Principal of Garfield Elementary, was to do her evaluation, as well.  My mother told me that after Mrs Linke met with me she convinced her that I was not mentally retarded,  That I was just special.  Mrs Linke said that she saw a "twinkle in my eyes" and I was just a little girl that has held herself within.  She encouraged my mom to let the school work with me for one year before sending me anywhere.  My mom agreed.  They had to teach me to literally talk.  The process was to teach me to speak French in order for me to learn English.  There is only one sentence I remember in French.  I recently asked someone what it meant.  I was told it was "what is your name?"  I was assigned to a Speech Therapist named Mr. Lovejoy and he worked with me daily during that first school year (and until my senior year of school) and I improved.

Mrs Linke saw something in me that no one else did.  She called it a "twinkle in my eyes".  I now believe that was my soul's light coming thru all the darkness.  I am so grateful for Mrs Linke and her foresight and compassion to look deeper, not just settle for what she saw on the surface.  I have kept a picture of her near so last night I decided to draw her.  This is Mrs Linke from the school year of 1956-57.
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!


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