Light Notes

Small acts of kindness can last a lifetime

My past has caught up with me.

It happened when a new friend moved into my neighborhood.

She knew me in my other life — the before TV and radio life. And did she ever have a long memory.

“Hello, Mrs. Luginbill,” the Facebook query began. “That’s how I remember you as a kid from Southgate Elementary. I think I was in first or second grade.”

Suddenly, as if it were yesterday, I saw the little group of girls clustering around me. I was the “Duty” on playground; the official who kept order with a shrill whistle draped about my neck.

It wasn’t a glamorous job, standing in the chill of the winter wind during recess, but it provided “pin money” to help with a few extras after our move from California. A warm coat for the Northwest weather had been a “must have” purchase. And in those late ‘70’s and early 80’s, we saw some of the coldest winters.

Jennifer, the little girl now grown up, remembered the brutal weather — and my coat, too.

“It was furry and just plain glamorous," she wrote. "The coat almost symbolized a happy life we might aspire to. We were like groupies, and you were our chosen movie star.”

Funny how my perspective was so different. I saw little children wanting warmth and hugs — and needing their exercise, too.

Eventually, I’d shoo them away to play, knowing their pent-up energy could spill over into the classroom.

In spite of that, within a few minutes the “little chickadees” — Jennifer’s name for her long ago friends — would migrate back to my arms for more snuggling.

“It is almost like as a kid you want to stand in someone else’s light — especially if you look up to them,” her message read.

The words blurred as the past flowed into the present.

How could I have ever imagined that my ordinary job would hold meaning for one child — a memory that spans three decades.

It makes me realize that what we do today — no matter what our everyday role — we can brighten another’s heart for a lifetime.