People who shaped me.....
This is an interesting topic for me. I have so many folks who contributed to making me who I am - and most of them have no idea. A few of them did, though, and really did impact my life in ways I didn't understand until much later in my life.
1. My mother. I write about how she makes me bonkers now but growing up I knew early on she was pretty strong. My dad died when I was a baby and she raised my brother and me by herself. She didn't get much help from her family and she would rarely ask anyone for help. She was always strong, which might be why seeing her now - elderly, disabled and stubborn -is hard for me. She allowed me to be different from everyone else. Really, she made me who I am today.
2. Mr. Aiken - I wrote about him earlier (he wasn't my dad). He was in many ways the closest thing I had to a dad growing up. He was a lousy teacher but in our personal lives he was very important to me. He required me to use respectful language - he wasn't going to be my friend but rather a pseudo-parent. When I would complain about my mother's rules, he always, ALWAYS took her side. He worked hard to make sure I didn't ruin the relationship with my mom during the terrible teenage years. He drove across the country to come to my wedding. He met my children. I think he knew how important he was to me but I was never sure.
3. In my business life I think my brother did the best job at guiding me. He's ten years older than me and super smart. He believed in me when I started my first business at the age of 19 (Discovery Records). He gave me my first computer (the most memorable Christmas morning ever!) and the $250 to start my business. I remember writing "stock holder" reports to him and the encouragement he gave me. He guided me through the establishment of CSL. I can only hope to be half as successful in my business life as he's been in his.
4. I think several of the people I dated affected me deeply. One was a Scotsman I met here in MD - we shared the same birthdate, six years apart. He was a Calvinist. I always tend to be with men who have strong beliefs - though they've all been different. I didn't agree with is views on a lot of things but he made me think about things I either hadn't thought of seriously before or just took for granted. His death a few years after the end of our relationship had a profound effect on me. He died never knowing how much I cared for him and how he changed me.
5. Number 5 is a tie. My daughters, A & M have changed me in ways I could never have imagined. M makes me appreciate things. She taught me early on to look at the world as a place of beauty. She appreciates all the flowers, birds, tall pieces of grass - everything. A has taught me how to show love in different ways. She's very much a mini-me. They are both beautiful girls, on the inside and out. I've learned patience - okay, I'm still learning patience. I've learned how important words are. They teach me every day and fill my world with love.
There are so many others. The man whose name I never knew but he owned the Smuggler Shop in Ocean City, NJ. He was my summer dad. Sam and Jeff at Henry's Jewelry store in OC - they taught me how to be a great sales person and run a business. Patti Signore, my bff in high school who made me feel it was okay to be different. So many people had an affect on me. I think of them often yet I'm sure they have no knowledge of that.