A few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting a girl I hadn't seen for at least twenty years.
Jan lived four houses around the corner from me. Her parents still live there.
Jan was a nice kid. She was quiet, polite friendly and many other positive qualities. I live on a corner and sometimes Jan walked by. She always stopped for a visit if I was in the yard. It was always a conversation that moved from topic to topic. I threw a few things out to keep things going or challenge to promote a reply. I usually found out what was going on in her family , the neighborhood or school.
Sometimes Jan was happy and sometimes she was sad and down in the dumps. I'll never forget one time when she came by and she was not very happy. In fact, I thought she was going to cry. It soon came out what was wrong. She was upset with her mother. Nothing out of the ordinary. Lots of kids get upset with their mothers. But it further came out that she had used the f...word and she'd caught it from her Mom. Later she admitted that she deserved what she got. I'd like to think she went away a little better than when she came. She'd had a chance to make a confession and admit that she'd got herself into trouble. I thought that it was a good thing for Jan to be able take ownership instead of blaming somebody else for her problems. In cases like this I did not stand in judgement. She knew she could safely confess.
Jan's Dad had a monster garage sale a few weeks ago. I dropped in for a quick visit with Don. We joked back and forth about the stuff he had for sale. He thought I should buy the tap shoes! After a minute ,out of the corner of my eye I noticed somebody sitting on a stool quietly having lunch. It was a welcome site. It was Jan. Then we had a half hour visit. There was a lot she wanted to know. She's still the same person but with a set of twins and a single and one streak of gray hair! She made a remark about my retirement so I took the opportunity to get in a good dig that she was closer to retirement than she thought. She's 42 and has had a long nursing career.
Now something that she didn't know was that when I was delivering papers one day, I went to her Dad's house and I heard a little voice say,"Grandpa, the paper boy is here!" I told Jan that those were words I wouldn't forget.
It's always a pleasure for me to meet former students or former anybody.