Telling Our Own Story

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Dear Reader:

IMG_7984As children we only have a limited amount of control over the memories we take with us from this brief brevity (stage) of life.

Childhood is very short..retaining memories from it…made even more precious. My one and only memory of my father…involved bringing me home, one day,  a “double stick” lollipop on each end. (cherry and grape) My prize was the envy of the neighborhood children…I must have been around four or five when I received this memorable gift.

I, also, remember spending summers with my cousins and grandmother in Laurens…during this time my Uncle Herschel was farming and he, also, ran a little country store to bring in more revenue.

Grandmother would give me two dimes to walk down the dusty, red clay road from her farm house to the store so I could get a coke and a little bag of peanuts. I had to promise to hold David’s hand and “Old Blackie,” the farm dog, always, faithfully, followed behind…hoping for a few scraps from the store.

IMG_7982 I patiently pushed each individual peanut down into the icy cold glass bottle ….nothing ever tasted better than a coke with peanuts floating around. A salty fizz!!! (David always got a Nehi orange drink…even if he lost his dime along the way….which he did a lot)

When I look at my middle school and early high school photos I am never smiling or showing my teeth…they were buck (from sucking my thumb too long) and split -today Michael (Kelly & Michael Show) is famously popular for his split. I was all lips…no teeth.

IMG_7983I, finally got braces when I was thirteen, but I  didn’t get my braces off until my senior year in high school… perhaps that is why I have never stopped smiling since…It took me sixteen years to get my smile straight.

 

 

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After our sophomore or junior year in college…a fellow friend got married and we (Brooke, Jackson, and myself) experienced being bridesmaids for the first time.

Mother assured me that everyone would wear their hair “UP” for the special occasion…”It is protocol,” I remember her repeating. (Perhaps in her day)

I had chin length hair but somehow I ended up with the “biggest” hair-do around….while everyone else, including the bride, wore their hair flowing down. (If Hurricane Hugo had blown through… my hair would not have budged…the hairdresser used a can of hair spray on the “do.” (along with Dippity-Do)

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So humiliating….you knew it was bad when the little old “blue-haired” ladies, sitting on the front pews, start oohing and cooing as I walked past…my only saving grace…it was 1969…and my memory box has mercifully locked the incident away.

I remember we left the wedding on a Sunday and went to Jackson’s parents’ lake home on Lake Murray. Brooke and I loved Jackson’s daddy and decided to adopt “him” as our daddy too.

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When we walked in…he said something to me like “My my what big hair you have Becky…very pretty…very tall!” I told him I could hardly wait to go swimming and lose my “big” hair…..

I will never forget coming back about an hour later…my limp hair was hanging flat on my head with green wads of “dippity do” clinging to the ends. Mr. Jackson fell out of his chair laughing. I was “Little Bit” again. (with just a little bit of hair left!)

Even though I, sometimes, felt invisible in middle school…I began blossoming in high school and by college a stronger, more confident seed inside me began growing..I could actually feel the change occurring.

For this…I have to thank countless people in my life who went out of their way to let me know that I was loved and valued….grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and especially, mother. Without feeling love, it is so hard to achieve the inner strength we need to get through life successfully.

As difficult as it was to lose my father so young, my brother too young, and then watch my mother struggle….raising three children with one hand….I know now, without a doubt, that each of these very painful episodes taught me a strength I would not have today if my life (and those lives around me) had come easier.

At a young age I saw miracles transpire before my very eyes….mother cooking a Thanksgiving dinner by herself, dressing me to the hilt, taking us to church each Sunday, and never losing faith in God.

The shock of being diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer (2008) was a challenge but I had seen what my own mother did with her cancer challenge and she became my spiritual and “mental” mentor.

My personal story, my personal schema,  prepared me for this type of challenge…It was strangely  “normal” for me…almost deja vu.

When I found this scripture for breast cancer month I thought it to be most fitting for everyone meeting and addressing this health challenge.

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To me this quote can be “he” or “she” who laughs without fear at every health and other kind of personal obstacle that falls in our path. We only have to believe and hold on tight to God’s Hand.

So until tomorrow….Father, let us only give YOU our pen to co-author our story… never turning over our permission to another human being to re-script the life we are destined to live.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Look at this beautiful bloom…it is called a “rose camellia” and you can immediately see why…isn’t it gorgeous? (the best of both worlds!) And no thorns to contend with!

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About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to Telling Our Own Story

  1. Johnny Johnson says:

    It is said all things happen for a reason known, it seems, only to God in most cases. But its miraculous when you see later in life that all the events in your life lead to something as in your case a strength God knew you would need. I can see clearly now why certain events happened in my life and I know now God was slowly preparing me for the rest of my life! God knows what’s best we have to trust Him and follow His lead and know it’s the right!

    Like

  2. ambikasur says:

    Wow Becky! You girls looked so beautiful ( especially loved your baby pic)… We know that Our Almighty God has never abandoned us when we look back and think of how He brought us thus far in our lives… Only God knows the trick to make our lives exciting!!!😉

    Like

  3. Becky Dingle says:

    How very wise Ambika…you are more knowledgeable about the important things in life than most.

    Like

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