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Tony Grist

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Thanks For Being Nice To Me [May. 30th, 2008|09:59 am]
Tony Grist
I was out cutting the hedge yesterday afternoon and a child from down the street- a lonely 12 year old who gets lost in the crowd of her siblings- stopped by for a chat.  After a while I asked Ailz (sotto voce) to come and chaperone me because- well- a middle-aged man has to be careful around kids these days. I hate it, but there you are.  Ailz was showing her our collection of soft toys (we've got hundreds of them) and wound up giving her a couple. Later she returned with gifts of her own- a miniature scent bottle and a doll's hand mirror- plus a thankyou note. 

thank's for the tedy what you give me and thank's for being nice to me and you are a good frend to now.

I've fixed it to the fridge with a magnet. 

I don't know how people who are around kids all the time can stand it- all those vulnerable young lives- and knowing all the horrors that surround and await them- and being so powerless to do anything about it- like watching a fleet of paper boats going off down a fast-flowing river. 

[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2008-05-30 10:55 am (UTC)
oh, that breaks my heart! sorry, hart.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 11:22 am (UTC)
Mine too. I had heart-ache all afternoon.
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2008-05-30 11:28 am (UTC)
I could never have stood being a guidance councilor at school. There are way too many very sad cases.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 11:50 am (UTC)
I can imagine....
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-05-30 11:38 am (UTC)
like watching a fleet of paper boats going off down a fast-flowing river.

Thank you for this jewel of a post, Tony.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 11:50 am (UTC)
You're very kind :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 02:26 pm (UTC)
That's a pleasant thought.

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[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2008-05-30 12:18 pm (UTC)
I stand it by trying not to think about it too much...concentrating on the "now".
Sweet child...there are far too many kids not getting enough love in the world.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 02:27 pm (UTC)
Yes, the "now" is really all we have.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-05-30 12:23 pm (UTC)


Ah, lovely.
Great pictures of Alice by the way - I was aware of a relaxed quality about them. I sent the link to Jo and Thomas too, to share them.
Looking forward to seeing you soon. We can definitely see you and hopefully entertain you to a meal- Ma was unsure I think. We'll make sure of it and see if we can take any flexi time perhaps.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 02:51 pm (UTC)

Re: ahh

That's good. I'm pleased you've sent those pictures to Jo and Thomas.

We'd love to come over for a meal. The way it's looking at present we should be down from Sunday evening to Friday morning.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2008-05-30 01:45 pm (UTC)
When I became a teacher it was of older, already hardened to the world people. Even so, I met quite a few 20 year olds who could have written that note.

Like Jackie, I think this post is a jewel. I felt so sad after reading her note. Manolo and I were just now discussing the horrendous perspectives young people face these days. I think we had it easier.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 02:55 pm (UTC)
I think life is hard- full stop. I suspect it's meant to be that way. If we didn't have obstacles to overcome we'd never grow.

My childhood was lovely in some ways- bags of freedom- but I was also quite lonely for much of the time.
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[User Picture]From: wyrmwwd
2008-05-30 02:01 pm (UTC)
I used to drive a school bus. People would ask me all the time how I could stand those awful kids. The thing was, I loved my kids (it was management I couldn't stand, which is why I quit). There was one little girl on the bus, a 5 year old refugee from the Sudan, who, for Christmas, gave me 2 pencils "for my children". She asked me how many children I had. I told her I had 180... that was the number of children that I transported on the bus every day. I told her that she and all her mates were my children, that they were all the children I needed.

She seemed very pleased with that.

Every time I see stuff on TV about kids in the Sudan, or kids getting blown up in Iraq, or in any other places in the world were kids end up being the victims of adult aggression, I think of that beautiful little Sudanese girl, and it brings tears to my eyes.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 03:06 pm (UTC)
That's a beautiful story.

I had a step-daughter once- sort of- in a relationship that lasted a couple of years. She was a troubled child and used to drive me up the wall. I now suspect (we just weren't so well clued up about these things back then) that she was being abused by her grandfather. I wish I'd done more....
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From: sculptruth
2008-05-30 03:02 pm (UTC)
How beautiful is that? I don't find it sad at all -- you've given her something she will cherish forever.

I was a sad and lonely kid. I work with children as an art teacher now in the hopes of passing on something I didn't get much of -- love, attention, and nourishment to pursue whatever they dream of despite the odds. Sometimes it's hard, but as someone said earlier, the now is what's most important to them, as well as for them.

I hope you and Ailz have the opportunity to spend more time with her!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 03:10 pm (UTC)
"I hope you and Ailz have the opportunity to spend more time with her!"

I hope so too.

I had a couple of art teachers who were both of them special people. One was a really fabulous story teller and the other was a dry, witty, nonconforming sort of a guy who created a space in which we could be nonconforming too.
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[User Picture]From: richenda
2008-05-30 06:58 pm (UTC)
>>>>After a while I asked Ailz (sotto voce) to come and chaperone me because- well- a middle-aged man has to be careful around kids these days. I hate it, but there you are.

Not only middle-aged men - women too. It's so sad, but we all have to be really careful these days
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 09:55 pm (UTC)
It's a slightly hysterical phase we're going through. I trust things will eventually settle down. After all, the place where kids are most likely to be abused and otherwise harmed is their own home.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2008-05-30 09:25 pm (UTC)
40 years from now (or more), that child will still remember your kindness and feel happy. You've done a wonderful thing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-30 09:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you. That would be very good. I know I remember equally minor incidents from my own childhood.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2008-05-31 07:38 am (UTC)
But then kids have such life and exuberance. They are fearless and I do sometimes wonder if it would be better if we grown ups just left them alone...

Isn't it nice to make a new friend

Life is hard - well hard things happen - but so do good ones too. I think life just is!
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[User Picture]From: craftyailz
2008-06-04 03:53 pm (UTC)
What Poliphilo doesn't mention is that this nicely brought up child has 9 brothers and sisters oldest 35 youngest 1 - plus a 14 year old girl who lives with them and who she counts as another sister.
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