I was reflecting on what to write this evening when all of a sudden something from my old blog came to mind. Unfortunately, as soon as I got to the old blog my thought disappeared! Old age I guess. Or was it? Maybe it was God. I began to look through some of my old blogposts and found this. It jumped out at me and I knew it was what I needed to repost. I’m not sure why. Maybe one of my readers needs to think of one of their babysitters from days gone by. Maybe God wants you to give them a call and thank them for all that they did for you. I wish TT and Waneta were still alive today for me to call them up and thank them but they aren’t. Someday in Heaven I’ll be reunited with them and I can hug and thank them there. Until then. I still love you TT and Waneta!
PS. That old blog is still around if you want to go visit. Just click on this link – The Original Families Again.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
The Importance of Babysitters
Outside of the special ladies in my family, there are two women who made a significant impact on my life. Both of them were babysitters. These weren't just ordinary babysitters though. These were ladies who taught and nurtured me while I was young, and prayed for and befriended me for years after I needed watching over.
The first special lady's name was Mabel Miller. Of course I didn't know her by that name. She was always "T.T." to me. You see, she was my caregiver when I was very young. They tried to teach me to call her "Auntie" but all I could vocalize was "T.T.". Dad was the pastor of a church in Gratis, Ohio and I was probably only two or three years old at the time. T.T. was older, but T.T. was awesome. She taught me how to climb in and out of a chair when my feet dangled way above the floor. She would make applesauce for me using a single apple, just because I wanted some. I could definitely feel the love she had for me. But the most influential thing about our relationship were her prayers. Long after we moved away from Ohio I knew that she was praying for me. Although I never saw T.T. after we moved, we corresponded over the years until she passed away not long after I graduated from high school. Although I was not little any more, she always remained (and always will be) my T.T.
The other influential lady was Waneta Finster. I was her "Thursday's Child" for several years when we lived in Peru, Indiana in the mid 60's. Unlike T.T., Waneta was young with a family of her own. She offered to babysit me on Thursdays, because, at our church, Thursday was church night. That was when we held our mid-week service and Waneta wanted to be there. She knew that if she watched me on that day, she would have to bring me home that night. Hence, she wouldn't miss church!
Even though there was an ulterior motive, Waneta loved me nonetheless. And, there was always something fun to do at Waneta's. I remember our walks outside to go mushroom hunting, our inside play dates with play dough or snapics, and licking the bowl after making chocolate pudding. One of my best loved and most remembered activities was sitting on the back of Penny the pony. I wouldn't actually ride Penny. Waneta would have her staked out in the yard and I would just sit there. But, to me it was actually riding. I never wanted to come down. Waneta would have to make a sandwich for me to eat while sitting atop Penny, because I would refuse to come down for lunch.
One of Waneta's favorite activities was writing, especially poetry. When we had to leave Peru, to move in with my aging grandfather, my brother, David, asked her to write a poem for him and to make it "especially sad". Peru and Waneta (as well as her family) were special to us.
Waneta, her husband Jay, and her children remained friends with our family. We never missed a visit with them if we were close to Peru, and they often came to visit us. When we moved to Florida, Waneta and Jay would bring their exchange students down to visit us. They were "mom and dad" to nearly a dozen international students throughout the years. That was the type of people that they were. Always helping others. Always active in church. Always loving the Lord.
Waneta and Jay eventually retired in Florida and my parents moved four doors down the street from them. Waneta was there to take care of her ailing sister until she passed away. She was at the hospital with my mother when the Dr. came to tell Mom that Dad had died of a severe heart attack. She was there to take care of Mom, to take her to church and to run errands, to get her medicine ready for the week.
It was also there that Waneta finally had the time to do something that she had always wanted to do. Write a novel. She had begun one years before, but the busyness of raising a family required her to put it aside. One day a package arrived in my mailbox. It was a completed copy of her first book-copied and bound by her son PJ. After reading it, I knew that someday it would be published, and a couple of years later my prediction came true. She immediately went to work on another.
Last year, after my brother passed away of cancer, I talked to Waneta on the phone. We talked about David and how much she was going to miss him. She didn't miss him for long. Two weeks later, she was running along side of him and sitting at the feet of Jesus. She never lived to see her second book published. PJ is now editing her third novel. She had just completed the first draft. You can buy her books by visiting her webpage at www.WanetaFinster.com.
A few days ago I received another package in the mail. It was a collection of Waneta's poems that PJ had put together. Included was a note to "take a look at page 28" The following is what I found.
There is a little boy named “Timmy John”.
Of this little boy, I’m very fond!
He can run and play and do most anything,
Tis the last of February and almost spring.
He lives a long way from me now -
I spect he will help his grandpa plow!
We used to take long walks in the wood
Doing all the things a small boy should
I remember most everything we did
When Timmy John was just a kid.
We used to hunt mushrooms, if you please
And chase the squirrels up the trees!
I remember on Penny’s back he rode,
While she ate grass and our lawn mowed!
He didn’t want to get off for lunch
And on the pony’s back, a sandwich he munched!
He was my Thursday’s child and full of fun,
Happy was my day when Timmy John had come!
My Indiana home is missing something now
My boy hasn’t been here for quite a while!
By Waneta Copp Finster
Thank you God for giving me T.T. and Waneta. Thank you for giving me two Godly women who loved me like I was their own child. Thank you for the care and wisdom that they bestowed upon me. Please give them a special hug today for me.