I always wanted to be a writer, even before I attended (in 1989, 1992 or so; yes, “back in the day”) what is now North Greenville University in Tigerville, SC. Writing and reading books were two of my favorite things, even in my childhood and in my youth! As a matter of fact, while graduating from High School in Lawrenceburg, TN in 1986, my fellow class mates had the best name for me in the section of the yearbook that reads what we think will happen to those of us in our school class. My destiny, according to my school friends, was the title I still think of with pride and with a grin, “Miss Book Worm”! 🙂 Yes, one could always find me with a book in hand and going to the library to actually study and read; not that I was an “A” student; far from it! But books, words and the literary world held a great place in my life and in my dreams. This desire for language and writing was inspired largely by my dad and my mom. My dad, being a pastor, was educated and taught us the value of history, education and books (of course, The Bible being the most important of books). My mom often would help me with my reading, especially in my lower grades of 3rd and 4rth; that time when the world of words can burst open and one is transported into dimensions, depths, and delights one never knew existed! I actually remember having trouble reading in those early grades and my mom would ask me to read to her as she cooked our dinner, washed our clothes and basically kept us all going! 🙂 My grandparents also play a part in my literary development and literary appreciation, too!
I have a deliciously warm memory of myself and my Grandpa Edwards sitting on the front porch of his home in that summer my family and I moved from TN to SC in 1986. We were talking about what plans I had for my future. What did I want to study? What kind of job did I want to pursue? As a young 18 year old girl who had just moved to Greer, SC with my parents and siblings, I really was trying to find myself and the way in which I should go. Basically, I was clueless as most young people are! We need time and opportunities to explore and even fail before we know where to go and how to even get there. I had always kept a diary in my youth and even younger perhaps. Life just made more sense for me with time to reflect and with pencil or pen in hand, the words that could not or would not come out found their way onto paper and there was clarity and peace that would not come otherwise. 🙂 I can recall sitting with my Grandpa and sharing with him my hopes of being a writer. I think we discussed local jobs that might lead one into a career path of writing and it helped to just sit and share ones dreams with my Grandpa! What an incredible man he was in his lifetime and what a legacy he left behind for us; not just his family, but for the local world of SC and in Greer!
I can still recall the view from his front porch (my Grandmother lived there too!); the peaceful lull of the fields across the road that swayed in the slight winds of the summer heat created a quiet spirit within and I can feel again the peacefulness of the conversation and of his presence as we shared a moment of life’s dreams. Later, the front porch would always be a place of decision, sharing, prayers for new beginnings or to stay focused on where one was, visits that were gone too quickly, and a place of refuge against the rush of life’s highway; which literally lay just a few feet from his porch and yard! What a treasure ones’ front porch can be when we take the time to sit, dream and to share! What joy and peacefulness can be there! 🙂 As I write these words, I am once again sitting with my Grandpa E. and smiling at his words and smiling at his faith in me; I relish the feelings of peace, hope, and of knowing God who can cause all “seeds” to grow at the right time.
Although in that summer, I did not choose or even feel led to pursue a path towards writing, the seed was planted and it would later grow into a means for me to understand myself, my world, and my God. Seeds are like that you know, they can be planted in one season and may not sprout in that summertime yet, will bloom after years of its’ initial planting. Life is a lot like gardening, I suppose. We till, prepare, toil with weeds, plant the seeds, water, and nurture. The seed itself, with its’ life inside and with the help of the first, Master Gardener (God) can leap from the earth with the tiniest shoots and a bloom of a flower, fruit, or tree is born!
Thanks, mom and dad and Grandpa Edwards and Grandma Edwards for the times you laid a foundation for a love of literature early in my life! I am a life that is changed and is changing! 🙂