by Carol Graham
I have been thinking of women in general and all the contributions to various aspects of society by influential women around the world. I thought about women who had made an impact on my life; as a child, a young woman and midlife.
I realized I needed to focus on one woman who had a great influence on my life for over three decades.
Her name was Lucia. She was born in 1926 and basically lived a very simple life. She lived her entire life in the state of Wisconsin. She was an elementary school teacher in three different country schools and was content to live her life as a single woman.
Interview with a Strong Woman
Yet, she definitely marched to her own drum as she had very strong opinions about any given subject and was not afraid to express them. When she was in her early forties, her life took a dramatic change. I had the privilege to interview her last summer and asked her about that change.
I asked her about her courtship with a man 25 years her senior.
Carol: “You never married until you were in your 40’s. Did you date when you were younger?”
Lucia: “Yeah, but I didn’t much like those boys! They were always trying to kiss me!”
Carol: “What did you do when they tried to kiss you?”
Lucia: “I hit them!”
Carol: “You HIT them? Why would you do that?”
Lucia: “Who wants somebody smearing all over your face?”
Carol: Laughing…..”So what happened when you met your husband? Did you hit him?”
Lucia: “No, he was polite. I knew he wanted to date me but every time he would write me a letter or leave a message on my telephone that he was coming to visit me, I would make sure I wasn’t home.”
Carol: “So, why were you avoiding him?”
Lucia: “I liked boys but I didn’t like smooching boys. I just liked what the boys did for fun.”
Carol: “So, were you a Tomboy?”
Lucia: “Yeah, I would stick my skirts into my bloomers and go right up the tree with ’em.”
Carol: “But you were in your forties when you met him, I don’t think you were still climbing trees.”
Lucia: “Oh, dear. I didn’t realize I was that old. But I didn’t change much. I liked doing what the boys did, at any age.”
Carol: “I don’t think he gave up that easy. Did he keep calling you?”
Lucia: “Yep, and I still made sure I wasn’t home when he was supposed to be there. I would stay away as long a I could and when I got home, he was waiting there for me.”
Carol: “He was a determined man.”
Lucia: “Well, I tell you…..he said he had a dream. In that dream, he knew he was going to marry me and so THAT WAS IT. I told him he was nuts in the head. But, he just kept coming around and I grew to love him.”
At this point, she stopped talking and looked off into the distance. I knew she must be missing him terribly as he died 32 years ago.
March 13, 1926 – March 2, 2014
At Lucia’s funeral, there were many of her students who shared what an influence she had in their lives. They told of how she was as much a mother to them as she was a teacher and the best teacher they ever had. She was a major influence in the lives of these fifth graders.
Lucia came into my life when I was 19 years old. My mother had died two years earlier and although she was a complete opposite to my beloved mom, I easily and quickly accepted her into my life.
She married my dad and had been my mom for 45 years. I miss her so.
Carol Graham is the author of a fast-paced award-winning memoir, Battered Hope, the blog Never Ever Give Up Hope, a regular contributor to several blog sites and has been published in three anthologies including a best-seller. In 2015, Carol received the Woman of Impact Award from Focus on Women Magazine. She hosts a bi-weekly talk show “Never Ever Give Up Hope” in which she interviews people with remarkable stories of how they overcame overwhelming obstacles and achieved success.