The Mind, a Remarkable Thing
I didn’t say it in panic. More like astonishment.
When my husband and I were talking, he reminded me that some of my high school students were now in their sixties, that some were even seventyish.
(I started teaching high school juniors in Arkadelphia, AR, when I was 21.)
I set my cup of tea on the counter and looked at my husband. Not possible.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Well, you were 21, they were 17. You are now 75, so those you taught that first year would be 70 or 71.” He smiled. “Just Monticello math,” he chirped.
I may have held my breath.
I continued scrambling the eggs, but those facts had not yet sunk in.
“You know, that makes me sad. My students of the 60s and 70s are almost as old as we are. I’ve never thought of them as getting older. I may have frozen them in time at that beautiful age when life and hope and dreams are sound and strong. Strange how I did that.”
“The mind, it’s a remarkable thing,” he said.
That’s for sure.
I moved on with my day, which involved going through books in a bookcase. Our Monticello High School yearbooks were on the bottom shelf. I sat down and thumbed through a couple of them.
Though I have gone to a couple of reunions and seen changes in classmates, their personalities seemed the same. Clearly, I am keeping these dear people as they were, unless I’ve seen them on and off through the years.
I did not decide that I cannot slow the hands of time, so I’ll just keep them as they were. No, I’m on auto-pilot when I do this freezing-in-time thing. It’s subconscious.
Several days ago, I received an email that we’d lost another class member. I remembered him as he was in 1961 and 62. A pleasant young man.
While I’ve been aging, I’ve kept my classmates as they were—lively and young. Though my cognitive side says they’ve been aging and meeting life’s struggles just as I have, I’ve managed to keep them as I knew them in the early Sixties.
I just have not contemplated this before.
Maybe they’ve done the same with me. That means I’d still have auburn hair and be a size 11. Nice!
But you know, in those days, I didn’t watch the redbirds and the changing light, I wasn’t as sensitive to others, and I spent my time on chores and hullabaloo that didn’t really matter in the long run. Oh, I take that back. Maybe that hullabaloo did help me grow into the person I became to teach those wonderful young people.
The wheel of heaven continues to turn, and I’m Jack-and-Jilling up different hills from those I climbed in my fifties and sixties.
God continues to take good care of me. That still astonishes me, but it’s a fact.
Knowing it’s a fact, I’m giving those students I taught to the care of the Father. Those classmates I graduated with, too. I can turn that into a prayer. You never know who needs one.
And may I remember all of them as God would have it.
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This is the old Monticello High School, Monticello, Arkansas. It's a photo of a print by artist Daniel Coston from Fayetteville, Arkansas. He and I attended the same high school. You can see some of his amazing paintings at his website, https://www.costonart.com/