Memory Triggers

Elephant coloring

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Today I am grateful for memory triggers.  My family knows me well so several of them gave me adult coloring books, gel pens, colored pencils and markers for Christmas.  What fun I’m having.


The very cool thing about coloring is that you can do as much of it as you want in dribs and drabs without worrying about your paint pallet drying out.  I now have a bag full of coloring tools hanging on the corner of a kitchen chair.  Hey, it’s my house!  If I want to leave a coloring bag hanging on the chair I can.  So there.


I can also carry the bag with me.  I started coloring the elephant on Christmas Day at my son’s house, where a few others joined me for a while.  While I was coloring it, I felt very nostalgic, but it wasn’t until it was finished and I had taken a picture of it that I realized why.


I was not a good student in high school, yet there was one teacher who believed in me.  She was very short and very wide, and very cheerful, with a twinkle in her eye and deep dimples.  And she and I played. . .just enough to keep my interest but not so much to cause disrespect.


The class was Business English.  The assignment was to do a creative letterhead and write a persuasive letter.  Finally something I might succeed at!  I created an elephant in profile, that took up much of the page, using the mascara and eye liner from my purse to enhance the elephants eye.  Then I wrote a great letter, from Mammoth Construction Company, with the text tucked inside the elephants uplifted trunk.  I felt brilliant!


She loved it!  Not only did she love it, but she used it as an example of true creativity to her other classes.  Fifteen years after I had graduated from high school, that teacher started coming to get her hair done at the salon where I worked.  I asked if she remembered me.


“How could I ever forget you?” she laughed, with an eyebrow raised, acknowledging what a “challenge” I had been.  I started to apologize for my youthful sass, but she stopped me.  “Don’t apologize for your spirit and creativity!” she said.  “I used your Mammoth Construction Company letterhead as an example until the day I retired!”


Wow.  So many years ago and she still remembered my project.  Coloring a silly elephant was a memory trigger for me. . .of her. . .her kindness. . .and her belief in me.

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