so my friend at the view from the third floor has been doing an ongoing contest since the beginning of the year. i’m pretty sure i’m losing, but that’s okay. for round seven, we were asked to create our own mount rushmores, tributes to those americans who have not served as presidents whom we feel are worthy of the recognition. i was quick to google stupid shit like best americans and had a look at lists like this one because i thought for sure the four i would pick should be ones of whom others could approve… otherwise how could they be the best? but then i cleared that crazy notion and realized i wanted to make a list of the four people who have best influenced my life, the ones who have saved me, who have been like a patronus when too many dementors have circled much too closely. i’m sure i’ve mentioned them before, but i can’t mention them enough. i can’t. they are my rocks.
one. pauline elliott. sixth grade language arts teacher at what was then o.a. reaves intermediate. she was not the most well-liked teacher by the students mostly because of her size, sense of style and simplicity. my peers made fun of her. but then my peers made fun of everything, everyone because that’s what sixth-graders do. i remember underestimating her, making assumptions that she would be like every other teacher i’d had for the past few years. she was a light, which is what teachers should be; i’d not seen one shine upon me in quite some time. i’ve mentioned her in this post and this one. the other day, i thought i’ve failed her because i’ve not used my talents anywhere near as well as i should. it’s not a sentiment that sits well with me. i hope i can do better by her, and others listed here, and soon.
two. carol newsom. counselor at york junior high school. i was in high school, i think, when i met her. her husband worked in the administration building with my father. my parents, terrified for my well-being (they were right to be so… and it shames me greatly to say that), had already sent me to a couple of counselors without success because i didn’t want to talk. i played games, literally and figuratively. my psyche had been plagued, by this point, for six years. there was far too much to discuss, and the words were as ugly to me as i thought i was, as the majority of the world thought me to be. the high school i attended was across the street. i remember that i would walk over after school and meet with her. i’m sure i played games with her, too. i’m sure i didn’t say much that was worth saying. i’m sure i would’ve been much better off now had i cared more for the compassion she’d shown me then. i loved her for her kind nature and the warmth she bestowed upon me. not many were gracious enough then to show me such consideration. i knew that she loved me. i clung to that knowledge.
three. brother nicholas. born clarence prinster. monk at abbey of our lady of the holy trinity in huntsville, utah. i’ve not known a man to have more faith and devotion, more goodness in his soul than this one. he is my maternal grandmother’s brother, the last alive of eight siblings. he’s been more a grandfather figure to me than a great uncle. he has always thought the world of me. i’m grateful that the last time we were at the monastery — a year ago — i had a moment to sit with him and look out over the fields and beyond to the mountains. i wish i could remember what he said, but i know that it was good, that it had something to do with my history and how i’ve endured. not many can beat me at scrabble, but he could and soundly.
four. amanda holloway. more commonly called minn. neighbor and friend. she was always so happy to see me, and knowing that made me feel good. she was patient with me when others couldn’t be, willing to listen when i needed to vent, quick to share her faith and friendship. she had a smile that seemed bigger than her face. i miss it. i miss her.