A Time to Remember…Again

Dear Reader:

As further restrictions on human gatherings tighten and time approximations for the length of these quarantine controls increase…due to the predicted intensification of the coronavirus outbreak…the reality of this unknown and unexplored situation is feeling completely alien to most of us.

It is like reality has gone askew…and we can’t quite lasso it back.

We are all going to have to take that deep breath and let it go.

And ‘letting go’ is one of the hardest human actions in life.

It is also one of the most important facets of faith…that we can turn it over to Someone Greater than Ourselves…our Creator. 

Earlier yesterday as I unpacked from last week, washed clothes, worked in the garden…I felt a real sense of normalcy returning…”I can do this”…and I found myself lost in thought about the lowcountry schools being out for three weeks (tentatively) and suddenly that number brought back a powerful memory. Hugo!

Students were out of school for three weeks following Hurricane Hugo in September of 1989…it is hard to believe that it has been over three decades since Hugo hit. *(The one emotional piece of baggage I still carry from that terrifying storm is the wind.)

I start getting quite antsy whenever the wind picks up…whether it is due to a summer thunderstorm or a smaller tropical storm…it was the sound of trees falling the night of September 21 and parts of the roof cracking that are hard for me to forget…even after this lengthy period of time.

I recall we teachers went back a few days earlier than the students. Our wonderfully, talented team of social studies teachers at Alston brain-stormed a way to help students work out some of their emotional scars they might be returning with….as well as, create their own memory scrapbook of this historical time period in their lives.

Since eighth grade teachers teach South Carolina history (along with American) we created different maps for the students to fill in..perhaps drawing in the path of Hugo as it went through our state into Charlotte and further upward as our geography lessons.

We then had students study the paths of other destructive endeavors like Sherman’s March and compare/contrast the two paths and the amount of destruction each left behind…including the students’ original picture drawings.

After pulling in more academic lessons…we then went to the personal memoirs of each student. I remember telling them that this memoir booklet that each was creating…if saved carefully, would one day be a story told to their children remembering Hurricane Hugo and later their grandchildren. (Of course the 13 and 14 year old students thought that was funny…but to date I have had several former students write me and thank me for this memoir that they found (perhaps in the attic) and have now shared with their own children.

The questions asked in the personal memory section were questions like:

What was the scariest part of the storm for you? Discuss your feelings when seeing the outcome of the storm early the next morning on the 22nd? Was your home completely damaged or salvageable? Are you living in your home now or with friends or relatives? If you are living in your home, what are the conditions there? Was anyone physically hurt in your family?

What positive things came from the storm? Are you and your neighbors sharing food and supplies? Did some stores open to let customers get fresh bottled drinking water? Have church groups, out of state militias and other benevolent groups come through to help cut down stumps, and/or move trees to help get power back up?

Do you appreciate inventions like electricity, radio, television, air-conditioning and  the phone more since going without? Make a list of the inventor and inventions that you have missed most.

Do you feel stronger and more confident now in certain areas about yourself that had never been tested before in an extreme circumstance? List all the positive changes that came out of this disaster that taught you more about yourself…your strengths and weaknesses.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

You get the idea. I think it was one of the best projects we teachers ever created for the students. It had meaning to everyone on a different personal perspective.

With children home from school now….teachers and parents can create the same type memoir for their students and children. Small children can answer your questions as you write down their answers and perhaps let them draw scenes or pictures of what is happening.

Examples: A picture of their school with an X over it for closed or ask children to draw what they think a coronavirus actually looks like in their imagination. (For many it will probably look like some kind of monster for knocking them out of their little soccer games, baseball games, socialization with their friends, missed parties and holidays…and yes…missing school and their teachers and friends.)

I have decided to keep a journal myself…because how quickly we soon forget if we don’t….I want to list as many positive things to emerge than just negative.

So until tomorrow…Let’s get creative during this unusual time period and look for everyday miracles because they are there…in fact everywhere.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

AND HERE IS ONE EVERYDAY MIRACLE!

HAPPY NEWS!!! The CT Scan showed no cancer in Poogie! She is back home and up to her old tricks…finding left-overs on the table!

The family is overjoyed and wants to thank all of you for your prayers...it did the trick…from a scary prognosis probability to a clear report and hope…alive and well.

 

Well…I still haven’t gotten a photo of Sammy the cardinal on the cardinal suet cage but got one of him on the newest bird feeder and on my car. Now Sammy….let’s don’t get any ideas about being a bad birdie again…and pecking out my mirror!

Here’s to my latest additions to the garden and around the house….hoping for rain tonight to plant the flowers around the tree tomorrow.

*Remember beauty and courage go hand in hand…surround yourself with beautiful things! 

In our family Happy St. Patrick’s Day means HAPPY BIRTHDAY LACHLAN!!!!!!

Boo Boo loves you Lachlan!

Five Years Old Today!

 

We love our Irish Dingle….what a blessing you are to your parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, and all who adore you!

*Remember always wear a green shirt on your birthday!   🙂 (Left)

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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