Memories, Gatherings, Gratitude, and Faith

Dear Reader:

When I got home Sunday afternoon I was exhausted but got the blog post completed and fell asleep watching television that evening. Since yesterday was Monday….it was time to answer the latest StoryWorth question which asked me about memories regarding my childhood vacations.

I struggled with this question because, strangely, I was one of those kids who didn’t like to go places…I was a home body and only felt secure at home. I am sure it had a lot to do with losing daddy so early in life and understanding that mother was still fighting a potential life-ending cancer…back in the 50’s.

I was afraid if I left…she would be gone when I got back…so camps were terrifying to me and oh how I suffered from intense home sickness the whole time I was away. As I got older it was a little easier but still I would have preferred to have had a “staycation” with mom and let my siblings go to camp.

*Little did I realize that mother desperately needed some time alone…to reacquaint herself with herself….she was a mom foremost and forever.

During one early vacation at one of mother’s cousins’ lake houses…mother had been given the week vacation house to wait out a scary medical finding. She had completed her annual cancer screening when a shadow or smudge appeared on the bone. Back then it took over a week to do another x-ray… so they could compare and make sure it wasn’t cancerous.

Poor mother was a basket-case and we children were hustled all over to the different cousins’ lake houses and kept busy swimming and doing all kinds of activities so mother could have some rare time alone.

It turned out that one lab tech had smudged his thumb print while taking the x-ray. Mother had a melt-down when she heard this casually explained…it had ruined her vacation and she had nightmares about the possibilities of that shadow.

She was so traumatized by the incident that she never had another x-ray after that and refused to see a doctor…until she was living with me and had gall bladder surgery. She lived to be almost 81 and died from complications of pneumonia…not cancer.

Camp Yonahlossee was the only camp I enjoyed a little when I was about twelve or thirteen…I went to this camp located near Blowing Rock, North Carolina for three weeks…it was a very nice camp with horse back riding lessons and cool excursions.

I went with my two cousins, Marcia and Susan, but Honey Burrell and I realized, while talking about childhoods, that we were both there one summer at the same time…  of course, we didn’t know each other then. She was homesick too when she went off to camp she confessed.

Sunday… as I drove out of Wakendaw Lakes…I loved the new message on the sign post. Today I will be watching the kids for Walsh and Mollie so they can go vote. My contribution, beside my early voting by mail… for election day.

I remember, as a social studies teacher,  putting on mock elections each election year, in which I taught… with students dressing up as candidates and campaign managers, banners.

Later as the social studies district coordinator we set up machines in each school for the students to vote prior to the regular election and the Post % Courier disclosed how students voted for each candidate in the tri-county area prior to the real election.

I also had  Presidential Pumpkin contests on election years…that was so much fun! We gave out prizes and participated in all kinds of crazy activities. My students’ pumpkins didn’t exactly look like this professional artist’s rendition this year…but still, I remember, they were amazing.

What made me so personally sad this year was when Eva Cate told me that they weren’t allowed to talk about the election at school. I thought to myself…‘Have we really sunk this low…that our children are excused from learning about the election process because of the political climate of adult distrust this year?’

I remember vividly telling the students that when our first President, George Washington, willingly left office, after two terms, the world was amazed! No leader had ever done this before? Give up power willingly during the days of dictatorships? What was this new ‘democracy’ all about…a world leader left on his own accord and the transition from one leader to the next leader was peacefully handed over ?

The people were/are the government and their wishes for their leader each election year were/are honored…this peaceful transition has been repeated over and over with no turmoil or strife for over 200 years.  It has been a guiding light, hope, and dream for other countries under dictatorships and coups. How amazing that the people in this country get to  determine their leader? How amazing indeed!

Washington’s first election was in 1789 so it has been 231 years until this 2020 election and elections have been events of celebration, as much for the freedom of voting in this country …as for the candidate…it has not been considered a time of fear from civil disobedience.

My prayer is that this time-honored election process, an envy to many countries around the world…won’t fail us this year…because the office of the President should always symbolize dignity and high standards of public conduct for all of us…especially the children watching to see what a President should act like and care for… all the people.

So until tomorrow….

We, the people owe it to ourselves to cast our votes today…understanding that democracy isn’t perfect but with our help it can be “perfectible.” Our country is still being molded into its real potential…the land of the free and the brave… which includes everyone.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh


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 Memories, Gatherings, Gratitude, and Faith

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Amen….we are so blessed to live in this great country…this democracy…prayers for peace…saddened me to see King Street being boarded up in case of violence…hope that does not happen…I don’t watch TV anymore except gor Netflix but this popped up on my computer
    . Be safe driving to Mandy’s. On a happy note Fred and I celebrated 45 yrs of marriage yesterday…that is a long time…


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    Happy Anniversary…..humans are capable of long lasting relationships…so we need to show the world that today….rise above pettiness.


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