I found a picture of me wearing glasses, two year old glasses, because now I am a vain 4th grader. In the group picture from 4th grade I am blankly staring into space because I have removed my glasses. Probably can't see a thing! I also remember being sooooo disappointed with this head shot because of the reflected light on the glasses. I begged my mom to get it fixed. She finally relented and took them to the photographer who lived in the same small town. Hum, no photo shop back then, just some funky kind of white-out dabbled right on the picture. Maybe he was trying to match those frames?!
All of these old school photos kind of go with my theme for this last week. This weekend I had the honor of giving an address to a group of women at a stake Relief Society conference on loving learning. In it I shared the following about my mother:
You can be an example of one who “lives to love to learn.” I, fortunately, had a life long learner for a mother. She was the very first in her family history to go to college using the GI Bill after serving as a WAC during WWII. She was an example of a learner in her home as she subscribed to and read National Geographic as well as journals supporting her profession as a medical technologist. She was a gospel scholar. She was essentially a single parent as my father was bedridden the last dozen years of his life dying when I, the oldest, was 25. Every summer we would travel from Arizona back to Idaho to visit family. She would work for someone else at the Madison County Hospital so they might go on vacation. The funds earned were used to pay our expenses for we never drove straight through. She made sure that we explored places such as Zion National Park or Mesa Verde National Park. Let me tell you about family home evening. Sometimes our course of study might be “The First 2000 Years” by Cleon Skousen. Upon her death, her six children divided up her library each taking home a book shelf full of books. She never discussed “if we might go to college.” It was always “when you go to college.” BYU was often a part of our travel north as she introduced us to her favorite campus. All six of her children graduated from BYU and all six have received additional or graduate degrees as well. Her love of travel was fulfilled as her adult children spread across the world and joined her in fulfilling her dream to visit some of those places she had read about in the National Geographic.
I will be forever grateful for her example and way she enriched the life of her family and associates. Some of you may only remember her as she struggled with Alzheimer's during the last eight years of her life. I take great comfort in my belief that the wealth of knowledge she accumulated during her mortal life will follow her into immortality.
I am not only eternally grateful to my mother for helping me learn to be a learner, but I'm also grateful that I lived in a time and place when I could be fitted with eye glasses so that I was not handicapped in my ability to learn. I remember walking out of the optometrist's office with those new glasses and feeling wonder as I realized that the asphalt was made up of many small rocks and that splash of color near the door was a myriad of flower petals. Oh, what a gift!