A Memoir of Mrs. Jackson

A Memoir of Mrs. Jackson

Mrs. Pam Jackson, Guest Writer, Teacher

I am a child of the sixties and seventies.  I grew up on Ranger Stations all across Arizona and New Mexico during some pretty turbulent times.  My sister and I were the only Gringas in our schools at a time when it was not always safe to be the child of a federal government employee.  Nevertheless, I always felt safe and loved by my family. My parents did their best to protect us from all the unkind things in the world by teaching us that home is a haven where people love you, education is the vehicle that transports you to the point where dreams become reality, and creativity and perseverance are two of the most valuable character traits humans possess.

Our current situation reminds me of the Winter of 1972-73 when the Flagstaff, Arizona area received 210 inches of snowfall.  It snowed for seven days straight, and everyone was confined to their homes. My family of five lived in an old, very durable, 1940s house with a large, covered porch on the front, commanding fireplace in the living room, a roomy, sunlit kitchen, and three, nondescript bedrooms with large windows facing the front and side yards.  There were evergreen trees in the front and a woodshed outback.  

The electricity went out on day three because the snow pulled the wires down.  Mom lit candles in the evening. When the propane ran low, my parents made the decision to conserve the fuel for cooking only and turned off the heat.  We began to sleep, swaddled in blankets, in the living room next to the fireplace. And, when the weight of the snow began to cause cracks in the walls, the men climbed to the roof and pushed all the snow off, which created a cocoon for our home and effectively eliminated a view of anything from our windows.  

As I reflect on how difficult it must have been for my parents to maintain an illusion of normalcy in the situation, I remember only the delight of a child experiencing the novelty of sleeping in late, eating s’mores and drinking hot cocoa in the living room, collecting firewood at the end of a tunnel-path maintained by a vigilant father, and a time when the rest of the world receded and we became a stronger, more loving family unit because we were together.  

My hope and prayer for each of you is that you are leaning into one another and experiencing the love of family.  Your friends will be there in a few weeks, but this may be an experience of a lifetime — as it was for me — and a unique opportunity for some uninterrupted time with your loved ones.  Enjoy it!