Nurturing

Feb 13, 2011 | 0 comments

Oysterville Moms and Kids, 1939

     I don’t think of myself as a nurturing type of person.  Yet, I must have been once.  My earliest school memory is of myself, probably a kindergartener, and my friend Nancy Cannon, a year younger than I.  We were at Saint Helen’s Hall in Portland, I on one side of closed French doors, Nancy on the other, and Nancy was crying.
     She and I both remember the incident, the 70 intervening years notwithstanding.  Though we couldn’t see one another, we could talk through the crack between the doors.  She was sobbing as if her heart would break and I was reassuring her.  How we knew we were in adjacent rooms, neither of us can remember.  I have a vague notion that I had been attending school there for awhile and it was Nancy’s very first day.  Maybe we had expected to be together and, in the way of all schools, we were separated by age.
     Nancy was my good friend.  I had known her and her sister, Anne, since our cradle days.  Our mothers had been best friends since their girlhoods in Oysterville – my mother a permanent resident, their mother a summer girl, related to the Heckes/Kemmer family of Heckes Inn fame.
      I have no memory of how Nancy’s first day turned out.  We moved to California shortly after that, and I don’t even remember if she continued her schooling at Saint Helen’s Hall.  (I’ll have to ask her sometime.)  But I do remember how concerned I was about her.
     I also remember being mystified – although I wouldn’t have been able to label my feeling quite that way – about the cause of her unhappiness.  A few years later I would feel the same way about kids at summer camp who cried with homesickness.  I just didn’t get it.
     But, by then, I didn’t offer sympathy and understanding.  I thought, (and probably said, in my seven-year-old vocabulary) that they should suck it up and get on with it – definitely not a nurturing sort of reaction.  

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