Life Changers

By Marie F Martin

Our blog assignment this month is about someone who influences or changes the world for the better. That is such a broad scope with so many brave and kind people speaking out and standing tall. Who would I choose? I decided to narrow the field to my family. Much more immediate.  First one I know of is my great-grandmother who took my three-year-old mom and her sister in to raise after their mother died. Mom told me she never once felt unloved or in the way. Mom also became a kind loving woman.

The second one was a Gypsy Queen. My sister Norma was a nurse specializing in wound care and colostomy bags. One of her patients in a large Seattle hospital was the gypsy queen. Every day the room and hallway was filled with dark, handsome, colorful people making sure their monarch was well taken care of. Norma handled the confusing crowd in her usual take charge way. Kindness and no non-sense. The gypsy queen was so impressed that she begged Norma to come live with them. And even offered Norma a husband if she would. My sister declined, but the offer of a handsome gypsy for a husband was a game changer. She still wonders what she gave up for her career, and it’s great fodder for storytelling.

My game changer was when my Mom went to work for the small Columbia Falls library. After school, I helped her file and put books back on the shelves. I read so many of them. And I scrubbed the floors. I learned work ethic with a big wet mop. I was shy from country living. Watching mom easy and friendly with folks who read books helped me to overcome my shy ways.

My daughter’s life changed for the better in a bus filled with old codgers from the nursing home where she worked as the activities director. She was taking them fishing. She had obtained a blanket fishing license from the state for them and away they went. Her natural impatience was tempered by unloading wheelchair bound fellas, rigging poles for them, slipping them each a can of beer and waiting for them to enjoy their moment in the sun.

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