Life Tool Box: Anne Stock

Yesterday I wrote about my Life Tool Box.  I’m still thinking about the things in it, all the things that help me through life, that allow me to be me.

Some of the tools are real and physical like my Blackwing 602 pencils and plenty of paper to write on.  Some of them are physical like my copies of the Tao or “Think and Grow Rich”.  Others are books in electronic form that live inside my Kindle.  Some are the memories of people and the things they taught me.  Anne Stock was one of those people.

When I was a young teen, my parents would bring in Anne to babysit.  I was the oldest of the four (and later five) of us, but still a little too young to handle that many kids.  I was angry at first that they didn’t think I was grown up enough for the job, but that quickly changed to joy as I realized what having quiet time with Anne would mean to my life.  It was a blessing, a miracle, a treasure beyond belief.

After the other kids would go to bed, Anne and I would sit up and dream.  It started with the Sears Wish Book.  For those who don’t know what that was, the Sears mail order company put out a catalogue they called their Wish Book.  It was in full color and amazing.  Everything you could ever want was in there.  We’d thumb through page after page of items and imagine that we were buying them.  We didn’t stop at clothes, but included furniture, kitchen appliances, everything and anything in our wish list.

We didn’t just look at the pictures.  Anne taught me how to weave a narrative of what my future would be like.  Where and who I’d be.  What I’d be doing.  What I’d be wearing.  What my house looked like.

She taught me to visualize in great detail, and with emotion, what I wanted my life to be.  And it has become that.  Not in exact detail, of course.  I’m glad we’re still not wearing saddle shoes or white gloves and a hat when we leave the house.  But it came true in the spirit of my intentions.  Happiness mixed with occasional joy.  A comfortable house in a quiet, safe, pretty town.  Having fun with life.

What is remarkable is that I lived with a mentally ill mother who could be at times violent, always unpredictable, and inevitably denigrating.  I should have turned out to be a whimpering shell of a person, lacking self-esteem and being unable to trust or to love.

I turned out to be a confident woman, one who enjoys life, loves to laugh, loves to love, and who cares deeply for others.  So much of that comes from Anne Stock teaching me how to envision a better life than the one I was living.  I am so thankful that she was in my life when I needed her the most, during those teen years when I was trying to discover the adult me.

Who was your Anne Stock?

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