September 13th…“NAME THE SCHOOLS YOU ATTENDED FROM KINDERGARTEN THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION.”
Unequivocally, the tender nourishing of a mother’s love is what sets the foundation of her child that came from within her and helps that cherished little life set its roots in the soil of love itself. Then, when those roots are established and mature from years of nurturing, that young life can then be placed out into the world to grow and blossom as it brings forth the beauty of his or her life that is a sweet fruit all unto its own.
The two words, “Alma Mater”, from the language of Latin, speak well to this scenario, especially in light of today’s sharing about the schools I attended over the years. For the sake of my children and grandchildren, let me first paint a picture (so to speak) as I explain what “Alma Mater” means to me, and how there was a parallel for me in my own tiny life. To begin with, from one source, I found that “Alma Mater” means “a nourishing and kind mother”……….
What a poignant picture is painted in my heart when I reminisce of how our blessed mother, Clarice, would cradle me softly against her warmth, there on our Living Room couch, as she’d read children’s Bible stories to us. Or, there at our farm table, how she’d “nurture” us via her sacrifices of time and hard work in preparing meals for our tiny tummies to be satisfied. Wanting God’s very best for me, she’d watchfully see to it that I learned what and what not to do in daily toddler life so that, later, I could survive in a world that was not always conducive to showing mercy to little ones who made too many mistakes. Truly, our beloved mother was my first and deepest caring tutor of life and, as I found out the hard way sometimes, it was in my best interest to heed what mother said in her teachings.
For my generation, when it came to furthering our education, our loving parents decided to entrust us into the care of another “Alma Mater” to meet our needs for learning the ABC’s and other forms of curricular knowledge. That extended “Alma Mater” would be our public school system nearby in our hometown of Kiester, Minnesota.
Thanks to Marie Meyer, her husband, Manville, and other sweet folks, us Noorlun kiddos were transported to our “Readin’, Writin’ and ‘Rithmatic” classes at the Kiester Public School in our dear hometown that was three miles from our farm.
As in any human endeavor, there were highs and lows to the experiences of being in the public school system. Some years, my teacher for a particular grade level was an absolute gem!!! She was loving, understanding of my needs, patient with me and most encouraging to see me excel in my studies. Over the years, I even had a “puppy-love crush” on a couple of my teachers……even if I WAS in Grade School! 😉
Then came the Summer of 1967. A new chapter of life and a new “Alma Mater” awaited me in the town of Battle Ground, Washington. Our parents, Russell and Clarice, had sold our farm, there in southern Minnesota, and it was westward ho!!! for us! In comparison to my former school, this new educational facility was gigantic in its campus proportions alone. In my new “Alma Mater”, I was NOT considered to be High School yet, as I had been back in Minnesota. I was deemed a Junior High School student that resided in the two-story brick edifice that had once been the original High School. My foray into a new educational realm was both frightening and exciting. Being the new kid on the block, I was victim of a few mean-spirited bullies as I trepidatiously navigated the unending hallways of lockers. Eventually, though, I began to meet and befriend new buddies that welcomed me into daily student life at Battle Ground.
I give my Lord thanks for every sincere educator, over the years, who tried to help me succeed in gaining knowledge that I came to use in adult life. Some of those dear souls bordered on sainthood, in my young eyes, and I could’ve easily attended their respective classes for a full six periods per day.
Yet, with the recent passing (June 23rd, 2017) of our cherished mother, Clarice, I am reminded that she retains the ultimate title of “Alma Mater”………..the nourishing and kind mother of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.