I grew up in a very small town in the country.
So small we didn't have one single stop light.
Or even a fast food restaurant.
I had less than 75 kids in my graduating class.
And it took 5 towns like mine to make that many.
Although the town was small, the people of the town were anything but.
It was full of characters.
There was Jerry.
He owned Jerry's Dairy Freezer, our ice cream joint that was only open in the summer.
He looked exactly like you would expect him to.
I still have cravings for watermelon slushes and vanilla cokes.
No one makes them like Jerry.
Then there was Hillard Porter.
He had been around as long as anyone could remember.
He had the prettiest flowers in his yard and decorated one of his trees with teddy bears.
He was the town historian and everyone loved him.
There was also Larry Hall.
He was the principal at the elementary and the town benefactor of sorts.
He always scared the bejeebies out of me.
Those were the days when paddling was still allowed in schools.
I was never in danger of getting paddled, but I saw him go at a kid one day.
Scary stuff when you are 9.
I see him occasionally when I go home and still tremble a little.
Of course, he is as nice as can be, but to any kid he principaled,
he is no joke scary.
And finally, there was Ann Meister.
She was my third grade teacher and a friend of the family.
God Bless Mrs.Meister.
She lived, maybe a quarter mile from me.
As a child, her house was exactly half way between my house and Mocks.
Mocks was the old general store where we got our candy.
It was dusty and old and wonderful.
A doller could buy you a bag full of sugar.
At least once a week, my mom would give me a dollar and send my on my way.
Every single time and I mean every. single. time,
I would stop at Mrs. Meisters house for a drink of water and band-aid and a blue mint.
I didn't even really like the blue mint, but they were always so pretty in the bowl and I was convinced that this would be the time I would love it.
Can you even imagine that?
Just popping in like that and asking for refreshments?
I probably drove her crazy some days.
I would sit and visit and probably overstay my welcome.
She never made me feel that way though.
She would ask me questions and be (or pretend to be) terribly interested in the answers.
As a kid, she always made me feel so special.
At my bridal shower, she bought me water and bandaids, cause, you know, I always seemed to need them.
It was also around then she told me I could call her Ann instead of Mrs. Meister.
I still have trouble with that one.
She will always be Mrs. Meister to me.
Ann has been having a few bad years, and I just got word she fell and hurt herself pretty badly.
I think she reads the ol' blog here.
I am thinking of you Mrs. Meister! Sending lots of love from Cleveland.
Feel better soon!