Archive for the ‘heart’ Category

When Batlight Calls

October 8, 2017

One day my daughter in law, Hope, called to tell me that the children’s school was having super hero week & knowing how I love to go see my grands in their second natural habitat, she told me parents & grandparents could go & read the children a story in their classrooms.  I’d read to their cousin, Benny’s, preschool class a while back & shared lots of bedtime stories to all of these beloveds, so she knew i had experience, heart & qualifications for the task proffered.  Also, knowing my love of school activities & being involved in the children’s lives by showing up to their events, she asked if I would like to do this fun sounding job.

Would I!?! And how!

‘Please, Let them know that’s a resounding yes!’

Date & time set, my mind started whirling.  Hmm what to read? Level. Subject. Time needed. I’d be reading to Selia’s 2nd grade class & Jack’s kindergarten. How long? It’s super hero week. Which books? I checked out the artwork projects in the school hallway to get the drift. Did the adult readers dress up? As specific characters children would know?

With it being short notice (no months to make a full costume & Superstorm Sandy had sadly taken all my stock of Halloween & stage costumes from various shows I’d done over my career.   It was next week!  & I found out it really wasn’t necessary….the focus was on simply reading.

Still….how to make it fun for the children? What books did I have left intact & unsodden by the flood from which I was still struggling to recover? If so, were any of them specifically about super heroes? Hmmm. No books on the totally loss first floor, survived. I looked through the 2nd floor, where what I could put upstairs on the day of prep for the coming storm, I’d done as best I could. What a wreck to wade through! ”That would take a super power!’ I thought.

The few survivors I could find were old dusty ones from their Dad’s childhood. I kept searching until, lo & behold, I found a slim unopened Amazon book mailer among the piles of pillows, blankets & boxes. Upon opening, I found what must’ve been kept for Christmas or Birthday gift giving. (I always shopped well ahead of Holidays & celebrations; keeping an eye out for sales! & stacked away the gifts until the fun days arrived. Friends fondly called this yearly clutter, ‘Gramence’s store.’)

Staring up at me was a crisp glossy white-jacketed book entitled, “The Invisible String.”

It had a drawing on it of 2 children & a heart on a piece of string flying above them. I opened & read a most wonderful story of children & loss & how ultimately no matter how far away we all may go or be, we are always connected by love in our hearts. It was packed with feelings that every human has & I remembered purchasing this gift for the two of my grandchildren who lived through the night of the terror of the giant storm with 100 miles per hour wind whipping & whining in the night; rocking the 7 story building in which we sheltered;  hunkering down in the dark with flashlites when the power went out in the whole town & the ocean roared down every street; smashing into houses & buildings.

People got uprooted & families got separated

In the storm & after.

Many people had to find other places to live, away from their houses that got damaged in the flood. Kids couldn’t go to their regular schools. They too were flooded & wrecked. Everyone who knew everyone got scattered.

I wiped my eyes touched with tears as I finished reading & wondered if, as lovely as this book about hearts always being connected no matter how far away people can go; the next room, across the world or out of it when they die, might be too heavy for the elementary children of East School of Long Beach New York.  It had just gotten repaired  & opened again & was filling up with students who were returning to their home area as it healed.

Yet no matter what other book I found, this slim volume tugged at my heartstrings & its simplicity & comforting truth gave me the courage to choose it.

Now to tie in the fun of the theme. Super Heroes with Super Powers!

I borrowed the short red cape, I’d given Hope for a prior Halloween Super Woman costume, because she is a super Mom & woman.  I Tied it around my neck, scrunchied my hair up in two pony tails; standing out, one on either side of the top of my head, wore red clogs, blue slacks & a turquoise long sleeve top.

& off I went to school!

Arriving & reporting for duty at the principal’s office, I, announced myself ready for heroic reading to class.

They cracked up at the ‘costume!’ & loved it!  Calling the teacher, for time to read & getting the ok, off I went; cape flying in the hallway breeze. Kids on errands turning like tops,  agog with the sight. Who was this superhero?!

As I knocked on the door, one teacher invited me in, introduced me to the children while another got their students seated in a semi-circle on the carpet of the story time area of the room; a small chair awaited me at the front of this arc of bright eyed, bushy tailed kiddles who chorused good morning Gramence! I took my place & Selia took her special place for the visit, on a little chair next to me, as the privileged page turner.

After the exchange of the ‘hello chorus’ & book title introduction, I took a deep breath, centered & began….’once upon a time…there were two little children who couldn’t sleep one night. ..who cried for their mother because she was so far away from them…in the living room!  So, their Mom told her not-so-sleepy, sleepy heads about how many ways people can be far apart & still always be close with each other.

The children in the story asked lots of questions & so did the boys & girls in my reading circle when the last page was turned. What I thought might be possibly a tale too serious for young children,  turned into fresh-scrubbed, upturned faces of thought, understanding & inventiveness of their own, as I answered the end-of-story curiosity.

Selia was beaming from ear to ear; centered with me in the ‘stage-door-after-show-mob-scene’ on the reading carpet; holding the now beloved book up for her classmates to see up close & personal.

Questions, questions, oh, boy, did they have questions! Silly & serious. How far out into space can the invisible string go if you’re an astronaut? Does it work with pets? What about fish or turtles? Or Grandparents who live far way & only get to visit on your birthday. One boy told us his grandfather had just died. Hearing that the invisible string could never be broken even when some one goes as far away as heaven, he was serious & seriously smiling when he approached me after the reading; adjusting the little yarmulke on his head; nodding the tone of certainty like he was a miniature Rabbi instructing me of this knowledge; happy in his step as he went back to his desk to inform his two friends. All three conversing on new insights.

At the moment before I left for my  next class, a tiny, wisp of a girl who had sat at the edge of the carpet circle in complete silence, came up & whispered haltingly in my ear, “The hurricane broke my house & we had to move away. I miss it & my doll & kitty. My best friend next door had to move away too. I don’t know where she is. Do you think she remembers me? Does she have an invisible string? Do I? Everything is gone, I’m very sad.”  Visibly heavily burdened,  she barely got out this confidence through tears rolling down her sweet cheeks. Answering her in gentle affirmative that when she was missing her friend, her friend was probably missing her too, evoked one of the biggest hugs I’ve ever received!

I enfolded her in my arms, thanked her for her brave  sharing & questions & told her that she & I now had an invisible string & that no matter how far away I was, I would always remember & think of her & that when I did I’d send love through our special invisible string from my heart to hers…just like I do for Selia & her brothers, Jack & James & cousins, Sofia, Benny & Joey, when I go traveling.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught both teachers nodding & when I stood at the door to the hall, one said, “ ets  all thank Selia’s Gramence & say good bye!” & the other whispered to me, “Thank you. You have no idea what a positive breakthrough you created. That little girl lost everything in Superstorm Sandy. She & her little family evacuated to a shelter & have been displaced ever since. A shy girl to begin with, she hasn’t talked about any of the losses since. None of us has been able to get her to open up. Did she tell you?” I nodded. “She rarely speaks. This was major. Thank you so much!”

As I waved goodbye & walked down the hall from 2nd grade to kindergarten, I now knew why the Angels kept drawing me back to this book of choice…

For this boy & this girl…and for the children

in a community where children had been scattered & were first returning to the homes, schools & safety from which a major devastation had wrenched them.

My heart swelled with gratitude for the ‘super guidance.’

My grand son, Jack’s, kindergarten class was equally receptive & the children just hopped in on the reading of the last page with their own delightful additions as to who & what their invisible strings were attached. Spontaneous happy hugs arose from one child assertion that hugs were part of the whole equation & could be visible AND invisible; seen with your eyes… & stuffed in your pockets for when you went on vacation!

Such were the super powers of super heroes like themselves.

What a day in my ‘still struggling to survive ‘3 years & counting, Sandy aftermath, where  not only possessions were ruined, but in the dealing with the wreckage of my own home & life, where they’d been  no time or ability to even remember connection to beloved books, teaching & learning.  Fun had faded to a too distant memory.

What a gift these children, this school, this daughter in law gave me… under the guise of helping out a school project; helping children, I got the gift of opening of my own heartstrings!  Remembrance that, though beaten by weather, insurance crookedness & helping agencies hamstringing’ which had narrowed me down to slim scope of ‘one foot in front of the other,’ ‘recovery’ survival, I was still connected by my own invisible string to people I love & the work I have been given abilities to do,  which can enrich others.

We all can & do make positive differences & can  be pleasantly surprised by that.

We are all worthy & we all have superpowers of our own, which we can choose to implement when need arises.

Children gave me back a clue in their response to a story.

I can now happily say: “My name is Gramence & one of my superpowers Is reading!”

What are some of yours?


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