Chiggers at Vespers


“Oh, no!” I said out loud to myself, as I finally read my mothers e-mail correspondence from last weekend. My sister has the chiggers.

“Wow, does that ever bring back memories,” I thought. The first time I ever  heard of the chiggers was when my parents sent us twins off to overnight church camp in Virginia. Camp Glenkirk holds many fond memories for me. I recall my mother’s anxiety as she and my dad drove off leaving us girls in someone else’s hands for a week. It was the first time I was away overnight from my parents since my “pioneering” heart surgery.

Although I didn’t completely understand the magnitude of that turning point in my life, I know it was a step toward independence from the watchful eye of my parents. I don’t recall my uneasiness, only that of my mother’s. My anchor, my rock, my twin sister was by my side. And when there were certain strenuous camp activities that I was unable to participate in, my sister sat on the sidelines with me. She never left me behind. What a loyal sister! quotesonprayer

What I  also remember is when we went to evening vespers (evening group prayer), I prayed saying, “Lord a Mercy,” (mimicking Fanny, the stellar character in my memoir), “please don’t let me get the chiggers!” I’d heard from other campers that they itch something awful.God knows, there were plenty of them in the backwoods of  Virginia but, I managed to stay free – I guess someone greater than myself was watching out for me.

Jan – I hope you get rid of those chiggers real quick! Find something to sooth the itch! Be still and know that it is just the chiggers driving you crazy!

Today’s blog is brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard and that was just another childhood memory  not included in my publication Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Turning Points

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Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.” ~ Ralph Blum

air raidsOver the last week, I have been writing  about freedom of our country. Today’s topic concerns my own journey toward independence from what was to my life as it is today.

The first four years of my elementary school education were spent at Hampden Elementary School in Towson, Maryland. Those years held some uncomfortable times for me as a student and also uncertainties for our country. Remember air raid practices?

Overcrowded conditions in Towson and in other growing post war suburban neighborhoods led to the building of  new schools. In fifth grade I began attending Cromwell Valley Elementary School.

Cromwell is now  a magnet school. It was recently nationally recognized for it’s excellence in outstanding technology programs.

cromwell valley elementary schoolIn retrospect, Cromwell probably holds happier memories  than Hampden Elementary. By the time I entered fifth grade, I was really getting stronger from my “pioneering” heart surgery at Johns Hopkins. A chance at new beginnings.

Two years later, when I was in seventh grade, one memorable day in the gym became a real turning point. That day is recounted in my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, in the chapter titled Stronger than You Think.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Sue’s memoir

Photo above:  The second of my two elementary schools.