December 15, 2012 9:53:01 PM
I have not talked with you in a while. I still think of you. I still feel with you.
We have watched our children grow. Some of our children have had to endure heartbreaks, yet most of them have matured into responsible adults with careers: teachers, bankers, writers, photographers, lawyers, doctors, etc. To feel cool, they no longer are compelled to borrow each other's clothing or to see who can make an A in Uitohoven's English class. Some have babies, and those babies are OUR grandchildren.
The last two days have been horrific. I was working at The Dispatch when the Columbine massacre occurred. Away that day for a conference, I heard about it on the car radio. It was the first time I have ever cursed in an editorial column. That's something I don't do, but my life and my children's lives were forever changed.
Friday was a day I spent alone. Alone. No matter how many people were around us, I was alone--we were alone. We were thinking of our children who could have been in that school. That imaginary school. Then, we thought of our grandchildren, in that imaginary school. That school could not be real, right?
Until, I called my beautiful granddaughter today. She endured a wrenching year of her life, when her parents weren't together. Could there be anything worse than that for a little child?
Yet, the first thing, the first thing she said to me was, "What do I do if an intruder comes to my school?
What if I don't know what to do? What do I do if he wants to shoot me?"
What do I do if he wants to shoot me?
I told her to hide. She asked, "What if there is nowhere to hide?"
How is there an answer to that question?
Well, when I was a kid, I walked all over my small town. Mom was always at work, and I dropped six cents into the Lion's gas station to get a Coke. My cousins and I sneaked into the only movie theater.
Everyone looked after me. Even the neighbor's dog helped when I burned marshmallows in the oven.
That was the worst thing that could happen to me: my mom's finding my burned marshmallows.
Now? What do I say to my granddaughter? What if there is nowhere to hide?
You can hide in my arms?
In the early 90's, I loved to write about all the silly things pre-teens and teens did and how those things annoyed their parents.
Bless those annoyances.
I wish you could hide in my arms.
Martha Neyman, a former managing editor of The Dispatch, lives in Hernando. She is a mother and grandmother. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.