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She doesn’t know she changed my life–Now she will

Article posted on Monday, July, 26th, 2010 at 8:00 am

I’m not a writer.  I’ve never thought of myself as one. But I do love to write.  And I can remember the exact moment in time that forever changed the way I think when I put pen to paper.

I was in second grade, and it was Valentines Day. (Imagine dreamy music and a wiggly-blurry screen as I take you back there.)   It was the coolest year ever – for a lot of reasons.

  1. My Birthday was on May 7 and I turned 7 years old. (For some reason I was fascinated by that – thinking it the most ironic coincidence in my history of existence and spent the year telling everyone about it.)  I also lost a tooth that day – Score! (Not only could I expect Birthday presents, but a visit from the tooth fairy as well.)
  2. I had my favorite teacher, Barbara Hartsoe. (She was also my 5th grade teacher – I like to think that she moved to 5th grade because she didn’t want to miss her last opportunity to have me as a student.)
  3. For the better part of year, I could stick my tongue out through the empty space where my front teeth had been. An awesome party trick for a seven year old.

But let’s get back to the point of the story.  For Valentine’s Day, Mrs. Hartsoe asked us all to write poems. (We were still writing on that paper that has the lines that look like a highway. Dotted line in the center that helps you remember which part of the letter is “upstairs” or “downstairs”)  My poem went like this:

I love you, I love you

Will you be mine?

I love you, I love you

Sweet Valentine.

(Brings tears to your eye’s….I know)

Anyway, Mrs. Hartsoe chose one poem to read in front of the entire class and display on the Valentine Bulletin Board.  And Guess whose poem she chose?  Mine.  I was in heaven. I can still see the little valentine sticker that she put at the top of the page beside her “Good Work” comment. (It was two little green cartoon grasshoppers with a heart in the middle)

From that moment on – I loved to write.  And I never stopped.  My journal is never to far out of my reach and I have volumes of them.  I even majored in English when I went to college.  Barbara Hartose made a profound impact on my life.  Her encouragement, support and willingness go far beyond what is expected truly helped shape the person that I am.  She is great example of what it means to care about your work and care about the people whose lives you touch.

It isn’t often that you get to see first hand, the destination of the wheels that you set in motion.  The negative experience that we had with Christie Pediatric Group led to my becoming an advocate for Knowing Your Doctor and being your own best healthcare advocate.  And the positive experience that we had with Greenville Children’s Hospital and Dr. Augusto Morales led to our being a source of support and encouragement to other families like us through the Transverse Myelitis Association Network.

I don’t think it matters what you do…meaning Teachers, Co-workers, Nurses, Doctors all have the same opportunity to make a positive impact on the people around them.  But not all of them do.  I’m glad Barbara Hartsoe and Augusto Morales did.  And I hope that my daughters will be fortunate to always have people like them in their life.

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