A few weeks ago I was listening to the radio and heard the Fifth Dimension (one of my favorite bands) singing “Aquarius” and suddenly I was transported back to 1969 remembering someone in my past who was such an incredible mentor to me.
Over the next few days I couldn’t get her off my mind as I would remember so many conversations about things like her favorite books, new discoveries she’d made or her favorite classes in school. She had a boyfriend and her own sports car. She was a beautiful, kind, teenager with a great spirit and tremendous sparkle. I was four years younger and I admired everything about her and would listen to everything she shared, always making mental notes, taking every word to heart. We drove together to a neighboring city twice a week to take dance classes. During this time we spent a lot of time together and I’m still amazed that she never seemed to have gotten annoyed with me. Instead she encouraged me.
Over the next few days more thoughts and memories from that period of time would come to mind so I finally decided to try to find an address or contact information so that I could write to her. It really felt good to sit down and write a note of thanks to her for the years friendship and mentoring that she’d given me at that time in my life. Even as I think about her now I’m still amazed that a junior in high school would speak about books she’d read by John Steinbeck with such excitement or cry as she talked about the love of the boy when discussing The Velveteen Rabbit. I’d never known someone with such passion and knew these were remarkable memories. At the time it was astonishing that a teenager would discuss a children’s book.
Yesterday you cannot imagine how surprised I was to find a package from her in my mailbox. Inside the package was a book, a card and a note from this enchanting friend and mentor.
Of course it is one of John Steinbeck’s and one page in the book was flagged for me to note a section of text. She still shares her enthusiasm. One very special book has just moved to the top of my summer reading list and I can promise you that this book will always be treasured.
The best part of the package was her sweet message back to me. So here we are more than forty years later and even now I still look up to her.