Some anniversaries are happy affairs, marking the occasion of a wedding or first date or some equally memorable – well, memory. Others, like today, are not. Two years ago I woke up to a post on my FB page….”Sorry for your loss.” Instantly, though I can’t tell you how, I knew what it referred to. Did the cyber equivalent of running to look it up, and there it was. Shirley Temple Black had died at the age of 85. There were tears, of course, not just at the news, but at the outpouring of condolences to ME by friends and even acquaintances. I mean, all you have to do is look at my profile picture to figure it out. Texts, Facebook posts and emails came through all day – with words like, “You’re the first person I thought of when I heard,” “I remember how you had a poster of her in your room,” and “I know she was like a member of your family.”
At school that day, a student came to me and said, “I heard something sad.” This was before Shirley had the huge presence in my classroom as she does now, so I wondered how this child knew about my connection (the answer? Her mother saw my FB profile pic. I’m telling you….says a LOT about a person!) She went on to say that her mother told her not to mention it to me, as it might make me sad. (Sidebar: If you want a child to do something, tell them NOT to. Guaranteed to be done immediately). “Are you sad?” she asked. “I am,” was my response.
I could not have known on that day where I’d be two years later. Could not have imagined it. But here I am. A part of a Shirley community like NO OTHER. A person who has an active role in preserving her legacy. A person who has met and KNOWS her family members. A person who is blown away every single day that this has happened.
At this point, most people would say “feeling blessed.” I eschew the overused – “awesome,” “amazing,” “it is what it is.” Variety, people! So I guess I could say I’m fortunate, or lucky, or some such adjective. But nothing else quite fits the bill. So, just this once, I’ll say it – feeling blessed. Very, very, very.
And I think there’s more to come.