Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Home always has a light on

Going through the ornament box sometimes takes hours...and hours
Like becoming a time traveler. Sometimes you need a box of tissues right next to you
as you unwrap and unwrap the years of your life
This ornament stopped me this year for a long pause....I was back in high school, freshman year
homeroom....A quiet, blond haired, bespectacled tall girl sat next to me. She was friendly if you talked to her, but she walked down the hallways of school alone and head facing downward. No one really noticed her..she was smart, well thought of..but no one knew her..we all thought she was a bit of a snob in a way..avoiding any real intimate conversations. I think one year she might have actually sat at my lunch table. Lets just say I liked her but thought she thought she was above us.
Well, when I moved to the suburbs in the 80'.s I saw her one day at the store, and was glad to see her..She was married now (to a wonderful I man I later found out,) her kids went to school with mine and she hadn't changed one bit..same glasses, same long hair, and same gentle and removed behavior. We became friends in a way..the only way she could become friends...She was an artist, and at the time country folk art was all the rage..and she did work for a local store.
I tried to get to know her deeper..but there was this wall,
until one day we talked about high school.
She let go suddenly and with emotion how much she hated going to our school. I was shocked.
Seems she wanted to go to another high school but her mother thought it best that she be in a religious environment at the time.
The month before the start of the school year she was in a head on car accident in Wisconsin. She was in the car with her father... and only she survived.
That's how she started high school the next month..away from her neighborhood friends...alone and suffering. We knew nothing of this.
One Christmas she painted this wooden house for me with lights in the window. Most years, I put it up and briefly think of her.
 I live in a different suburb now and don't see her much. She is a wonderful artist, and a wild gardener and bird lover like me, but that wall only came down for a brief moment.
This Christmas as I pulled out the little house with the lights on in the window, I thought of the suffering girl in high school so wounded ...all alone... Would our knowing have changed anything?

Home, she said that year as she gave me the ornament, always has a light on.I put the ornament up this year, and whispered to a quiet room...Merry Christmas my friend...

Sometimes we have to be the one to put the light in the window...


  1. What a nice story Suz. High school is such a hotbed of misunderstanding. And teenagers (or at least the one that I was) aren't good at ferreting out what's really going on.

  2. No they aren't...everything is surface and immediate
    but I guess that's the way it is supposed to be
    My heart is so sad for my friend everytime I think about her sitting next to me in class and having not known her breaking heart
    There is more to her story..but I just wanted to share my ornament story about her..and how she learned to turn her own light on finally and make a home
    you're a good egg Bug..hug

  3. Gosh what a moving story. HAPPY CHRISTMAS. May your light so shine :O)

  4. Madeleine..I have had that ornament for over 25 years...
    I guess I was introspective this year opening the box of stuff and her's was the first ornament..I don't think I will ever forget the gut kick I got the day she told me about her father
    May we all have home lights indeed

  5. What a sad story but with a healthy touch of hope. Seeing behind the surface is always difficult but in your case "the light came on"!

  6. That is why we all should be kind to everyone. We just don't know the whole story.
    A sad story but a happy ending.

  7. I like what happyone said about being kind to everyone because it is just impossible to know what somebody else might be going through, especially these days when people seem to be struggling more than ever.

    No wonder this woman seemed so removed in high school.

    I like your advice about keeping a box of tissues nearby when going through the ornaments. I would certainly need one, if I could even muster up the courage to open the holiday trunk!

  8. What a great story to share with us at Christmas. It is a gorgeous house, and I love her statement that "home always has a light on"

    Merry Christmas Suz.

  9. Oh Suz, what a beautifully told story. Made my heart ache. Sweetness and light. Yes, a candle for her and the teenager she was then so lost and sad.

  10. My heart felt her pain as you told of her sadness. Walk in another ones shoes, right. How does one know.
    I'm glad she has found her way. You are a good and patient friend.
    BlessYourHeart and MerryChristmas

  11. Jr. High High School, hated them all.
    So glad she felt like she could reach to you:)

    Happy Holidays!

  12. Very moving story, thank you for sharing it. It's true that as school children we really only saw the outer person ...but are we different as adults? I would like to think so.
    Home always has a light on ...I like that.

  13. That is a sad story, I hope the woman has many lights on in her home now.

  14. Oh what a beautifully told story and how sad it is that we can be so alone with our sorrow sometimes.

    Bless you Suz for your compassionate heart. x

  15. Very sweet. High school is a time of mixed emotions and some fun and crazy times but also hard times.

    Love the HOME painting. Says love to me!

  16. Lovely story, Suz. That poor girl...


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