Betty Peck and Anna Rainville: Bringing the Gift of Yourself
Betty Peck and Anna Rainville: Bringing the Gift of Yourself
The following is the transcript of a conversation that took place on December 21, 2013, in which Anne Veh speaks with her kindergarten teacher Betty Peck, and Betty's daughter Anna, about Oak Street School and brings to life a trove of stories about the kindergarten Betty started and ran, and how it touched the lives of and planted seeds within all her students.
Anne: Hello and welcome to everyone today on the call. It’s such a joy to be with you and I just want to thank you for that beautiful circle of sharing. This is a beautiful opportunity for us all to connect from our hearts and I’m just so glad to be able to introduce Betty Peck and Anna Rainville. As many of you may know, Betty Peck was my beloved kindergarten teacher many years ago and it wasn't until 45-46 years later that I actually reconnected with Betty. It was through the Service Space family and I felt so glad that this beautiful reunion just has really, really touched my life so deeply and to reconnect with Betty and to meet Anna as well. Meeting Anna and Betty at their home in Saratoga is really like going down Alice’s rabbit hole. Time seems to lose its linear hold and we are just absolutely living in the present and where the inner child is absolutely free and it’s a beautiful experience. I hope that many of you will be able to visit Betty and Anna in their beautiful home and garden one day. Betty has been teaching kindergarten since the 1960’s. She started a kindergarten for her children because she wanted them to be able to play and to climb trees and so when she couldn’t find a kindergarten, she created one.. She has the most incredible, well, gift, so many beautiful gifts. It’s slow, it’s full of beauty, there’s an indoor garden. There’s a beautiful comfy chair called the mother’s lap where Betty will tell stories to the children. She always welcomes them with a warm hug. The children feel so held and so loved. As a child in the kindergarten class I remember songs. She had played it there for us. We played, we played to our hearts content. I hold on to the childhood memories and to the seeds that she planted in; in me and in all of her children. There are thousands and thousands of children that have come to her kindergarten, all those seeds are always present and it’s just beautiful for me to reflect how they have grown and been nourished. It really is that inner child that continues to nourish those seeds. Betty, and then Anna. Anna is beautiful, she's special, she's a teacher. She brings songs and dance and singing games. Song has always been an integral part of her and she brings that, she brings that in everything she does. Anna and Betty have been co-creating beautiful workshops in their home, four times in a year where song and movement is always present. Last Wednesday, Betty celebrated her 92nd birthday and Anna organized a beautiful gathering of friends and family and to see that Betty is full of radiance and vitality and she just glows. Her energy is so palpable. When you are in her presence you just feel that your cup is always overflowing with abundance. Without even words, with just a look in her eyes you feel so loved. Anna and Betty both bring the sense of love to everything they touch and to every being who is in their presence. So, I wanted to share just a little story that Betty shared at her birthday and she said, "You know, you don’t need to go out to buy a gift. The most beautiful gift is the gift you make yourself because what you’re doing is wrapping yourself up and you’re giving yourself." And when you give yourself, when you see through different people, the piecing of yourself, it was such a beautiful reflection of our presence. It's such a gift and for us all to realize and Betty and Anna have a beautiful gift of reminding us. So, with that I want to thank you Betty and Anna, such a pleasure to be on this call with this beautiful theme of bringing the gift of yourself. And I thought I could start a conversation by actually asking you Betty to share an early memory from your youth of when you were lying on the haystacks under that dark magical sky and became one with the universe. We would love to hear that story.
Betty: Well my dear, I wish that for everyone. My mother took one look at the farmhouse where we had been brought by my father who had had the farm for many years with 40 acres and he said, come for the summer and my mother said no, I’m a city girl. Well alright, I’ll come for a summer, we went up to Maidstone and my mother took one look at the old farmhouse and said, oh, it’s much too small for me and my children. Have the men bring the hay wagons up to the house and we will sleep on the hay wagons. And so we did. Well, my dear, it was such a black night, and all of my mother’s six children slept under that amazing star-filled sky with meteors dashing back and forth. I was immediately transformed into what it means to be part of the universe. Oh, it was so glorious. I was caught up in it and have been a part of it ever since.
Anne: Thank you Betty. This experience that you had of feeling oneness at such an early age and that for me to see you carry that vitality, that connection to all, to nature, to the universe. You carry that and all that you bring to your children, to your students, to your friends and family, that feels so strong and as a teacher in the kindergarten class, you’ve said to me that the teacher needs to bring herself. She has to know that she is the most magnificent being in the world and she has the script of love to give the children. That’s what it’s all about. And, I wanted also Betty for you to share how you brought that, how you integrated that into the classroom and by bringing in something as simple as a mirror to the classroom and how you were able to really reflect that love in the children. Could you share the story of the mirror?
Betty: In order to be a kindergarten teacher, you have to bring this gift of yourself to this celebration of life that we call the kindergarten. And when you do, you have to know how truly wonderful you are. And so, I had seen people walking down the street and I feel like saying, don’t you know how wonderful you are? Well, in my kindergarten, I had a mirror, a magic mirror and when children forgot how wonderful they were, I bring them in and stand them in front of the mirror and I would say to them, “Look at yourself. Don’t you see how wonderful you are? How could you forget?” And they would just know it. This magic cupboard where the mirror was kept was so wonderful and one little girl long ago said, “You know, I never knew there was a magic mirror.” I said, “my dear, you never had to stand in front of it.” Around it was written, “Thank you for this magic moment. That makes it possible for me to stand here and to feel how truly wonderful I am." I now have this mirror in my own yard and in my garden. But, I wish everyone, every teacher had it, a mirror like this and I wish this for every household that you could stand in front of it because all I had to do is place my hand on the child’s shoulder and say, “Look, don’t you see how wonderful you are? How could you forget?”
Anne: One of our callers shared of creating spaces without asking for permission but actually because it feels it’s the right thing to do or it comes from that inspiration to share and Betty has a wonderful story which I’ll just share a little bit. Betty, feel free to elaborate but, when she had her beautiful kindergarten in Saratoga, Oak Street School, she was able to create the kindergarten of her dream. She was able to have an oven for baking bread. She was able to create a garden outside the door of the classroom so the children could always be connected to nature and one day the children were playing on these little logs that they would sit on and play with and the principal said, “Oh you can’t have those logs in the classroom. They’re dangerous.” And Betty’s response was, "I stand for danger." [Laughs] And I just loved that inspiration of not going to that fearful space but, to really embrace ours with such great love. You know, to really stand for what is fun, this is a place for the children to connect. And may be Betty, you can share the story of how the children gave gratitude to the tree which they were playing with those beautiful little logs.
Betty: I feel that we were very fortunate to be able to have a principal who wanted to have exactly what the teacher thought was best. And so, I was asked to come over and open up a kindergarten and there was a huge redwood tree in the garden and there was a beautiful big redwood table on which we could all gather around and be able to thank the tree. I remember in my own garden how important it was for my son to have gone to the top of the tree. When I saw children trying to climb up, I put my hand up and I said, “When your father is standing where I am, you may have gone to the top of the tree but now you can only climb as far as my hand will reach.” And that could be enough but, they knew how wonderful that redwood tree was to me and how wonderful it was to the earth and all the interesting things that happened. The little cones with shells, the fragrance of it and the leaves, oh my dear, we wrapped ourselves in those lowest, lowest leaves of the tree because I would not let them trim it, of course. So, there it was standing there in great beauty in our kindergarten.
Anne: You also shared stories about this beautiful redwood tree and having the children actually write letters of gratitude for that kindergarten classroom. Kids sat on the wooden floor, the children sat on wooden logs and to recognize their connection to this beautiful tree, the gifts that the tree continued to give us, you know, they grew fruits for us to nourish us, their roots go deep into the ground that provide us wisdom and I’m so grateful, Betty for your stories so that we can carry these stories into our lives to our children and to, like, to our students.
Betty: Everything had to be real in the kindergarten and I had these beautiful oak chairs and one day they came in and there were no chairs in the room. They said, “Where are the chairs?” I said, “Where are they? Let’s go find them.” And we went out and the school was called Oak Street School because it was on Oak Street. We found the chairs have been out there in our little moon boat, crescent moon shaped, and there was a note on the tree and it said, “I have been waiting for your thank you. Don’t you know that you are sitting on some of the gifts of all my oak tree friends and I’ve not heard one thank you.” And so, with that they jumped up and ran as if they could put their around the tree and hugged that tree and said, “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you.” They could never thank that oak tree as much as they really wanted to.
Anne: Everything in her kindergarten was something that had a story. So, the beautiful wooden tables, beautiful wooden chairs, cloth, all of her material are natural and she always wanted to be that way so that they could thank the trees.
Betty: So, I was taking over a room that had never been a kindergarten. It was 20x20 and it was large and I divided it up into 4 sections and each section was special. But one day they called me and said, “The workers are ready to put in the floor. What kind of floor do you want?” I said of course, I want a wooden floor. We want to be able to thank the trees. "No, it has to be this piece of a linoleum or that piece of the linoleum." No, I said to the architect who was designing and fixing up the room. No, it has to be truly wooden. I have to have it wooden and then I looked out the windows that was all along the eastern part of the room and there was a good catalpa tree and in September when we were finishing up the room getting ready for the school children to come, there were the leaves turning the same color as this piece of linoleum. So, I said, I’ll take this piece. It was gold like the catalpa leaves, exactly matching. And so, I had this kind of a floor and I called it my golden ring when we sat down. It was so exciting and so wonderful and now at my own house I call it the golden ring where I have all the golden flowers planted. And, that golden ring has filled many hearts with pure joy as it did for us all those years.
Anne: And Betty and Anna, both, I would love to ask how the kindergarten creed came into being?
Betty: Well, my dear, every creed is written because as one being the foundation from which you can bring forth. It is like a seed. We all need to be able to feel that the seed has to have soil. You have to have the soil and so I wrote this creed because it is the foundation of all and I would like to read it if possible. “I bring the gift of myself to this celebration of life, we call the kindergarten.” I mean, I want you to know that the teacher herself is what makes the kindergarten a ring with beauty. So I start by saying I bring the gift of myself to the celebration of life we call kindergarten. Scenes of the future are in the oneness of all nature and all people in tuned with the divine to be found in our hearts that I give with joy and beauty of love. That is the kindergarten teacher creed.
Anne: Betty, these words, this wisdom, your life’s wisdom, these teachings, this is such a gift, not only for teachers but for all of us whether we are parents or have nephews and nieces or wherever we are in our lives. This is the most beautiful gift and really a meditation and a reminder as you are so, so beautiful and giving to, to give us this gift, that reminder, that the soil, we have the soil and also the reminder that the children in our lives are truly are teachers.
Betty: Yes and they learn by imitation. I mean, they need this kind of a foundation on which to build their lives because everything is imitation in the kindergarten and it is so exciting for a teacher to stand there and to feel the exciting wonderful wonder that exists in each child and how each child is being imitative and being true and being filled with the teacher’s love and the teacher’s beauty that she gives that every child needs for their own life foundation.
Anna: I find that travelling around the country and visiting schools as a mentor that it’s not the clever ideas, it’s not really what about what you’re doing, it’s what you’re being and just sitting there as a mentor, as a witness to the teacher and reminding them just, that’s exactly what she’s saying, how wonderful they are really sapient to that eternal essence of creativity and joy and into their, not just their inner child but the inner grandmother. They hope all that wisdom that they have been said and nurtured with so for their entire life. We carry so much wisdom within us and we just don’t want to give it, you know, our little boys.
Anne: And Anna, you and I were speaking the other day about, you know, what is a mentor and you shared the Odyssey. You can share the Odyssey of what a mentor is for all of us. I think that’s a beautiful reflection for all of us to think of you have been the mentor of our lives and who are we mentoring and it’s such a beautiful connection and the way which makes me realize, you know, who are all the teachers of my life, you know, the children and our elders and our friends. You know, it’s not by age, it’s not, and it’s so beautiful to again come back to that sense of that deep connection, that the wisdom is within all of us.
Anna: Yes, now I want to say, I have many stories to tell to my mother of course, one of my favorite ones is a person will come up and say, “Oh, how beautiful you are.” You’re so remarkable with some lovely compliment that just comes when you are 92. You’re blessed with being with children in your whole life and being in tune with nature and have been kissed by the Milky Way, really. But what she says is well, oh how beautiful you are and...
Betty: Well, I say, oh my dear, I hold a mirror for you. Look at you, how you’re dressed. How your beauty shines with that beautiful smile. I hold a mirror for you and look what’s really happening is that our spirits are mingling.
Anne: And with the tear in my eyes I say this but, at your birthday party celebration Betty, I walked into the room and there you were and all your radiant beauty. But, as I came near, your eyes just sparkled and we caught and you said, Anna and I just came to you, we just met eye to eye and you held up your hand and said, I’m holding a mirror and what I felt was that deep loving connection and it was the greatest gift and I hold that. So, thank you Betty. And you give that to everyone in your presence. It is something that I take in, that I may have that love always to share. So, thank you.
Betty: Well, my dear, you do. That beautiful smile of yours just is the life and it’s needed for our being. It’s just the most amazing beautiful gift. And so, you do have this and I do feel that you radiantly shine and that is what we are as human beings in our lives journey in this world.
Anna: I think, when I’m working with teachers and when I see my mother meeting other people and in her circle, it’s wonderful what happens. The wonderful tree or trinity, it’s that magical number 3 we’re at. There are two people who are meeting and then really there is something fabulously magical and chemical. There’s something else that even greater than they are. And that’s what makes this sparkle. It’s just a meeting and it’s just the being present for mother. It’s not anyone is more than each. It’s just a genuine, I have to say presence, just the genuine, here I am. Here we are together. It’s something marvelous.
Anne: Thank you for the words, Anna. And, it’s so beautiful to have both of you. I don’t know if you have a story to share but, you know, to be, to live, you know, I think it’s beautiful that you live in the same home together. You raised your children in the same home. You have generations of love and may be you can share a story of, you know, may be with your children or experience of having a mother, having all of this love around you always, having a magical garden, this room to also share, always share and your home is always, always open for others.
Anna: I think it has to do with my mother and my father. My father is very much with us even though he is not physically present. It was that wonderful union of my parents and the creative imagination that just springs forth and created this place for, everyone feels a real spark of their creative sphere.
Betty: When my husband asked me to marry him, I said, no, I’m your friend. I can’t marry you and I said, I’m two years older than you. I need a much, much older man and now I realize every woman needs a much younger man to take care of her. But, my dear, he didn’t give up. And finally, I said, you know I will never marry a man without a house. And so, well, I was a supervisor for Saratoga county schools. I was in charge of all third grades, second grades, first grades and kindergarten and it was there that I found out it was kindergarten where I needed to be. He sent a telegram, “Have house, will you marry me?” And I wrote back on a telegram, “Yes.” And so that’s why we have this place that is his but, he never took me out on a date. We never went to a restaurant to eat or did anything like that because we were always at his folks house. That was the first time I lived. Every woman should make a long list of what she wants in a husband and the top thing I had was, I had to love his family and his family was so wonderful that every weekend, every moment, every part of our lives, we were with his family either his uncle, his grandmother or whoever, they were partying and they said, “Oh you must come.” And we always went. We were there all the time. I love them. But, what I didn’t have on my list is the sense of humor. He has the most wonderful sense of humor. I laughed every moment of the day with that wonderful husband of mine. Things like, “Could you please come and toss the salads for me, Please? And he’d say, where? [Laughs] I mean, everything was of humor and love of life itself.
Anna: My mother and father are masters and mistresses of that wonderful art and that’s what we were allowed to do, my brother and I. We played and played and played and we watched my parents just playing and creating, there’s a theatre, there’s an amphitheater, there’s a train, the performances, the gatherings, the conversations, the meetings, just the gardens, everyday it’s something that, how can we create? How can our conversations imply, just when you play, don’t have a goal. You just are in the moment and from that moment of freedom, wonderful things happen. Things are created and that’s the feeling that they gave to us and that still exists and that my own daughters were so grateful for just anything possible. That’s the message.
Anne: Before we open up to questions and reflections, I just wanted to share Wallace is a beautiful poet. His words touch and whenever he was to gift, he wouldn’t buy a gift. He would create a poem as a gift and I just want to read a poem that he wrote for Betty. “And it’s toast to a liberated wife. To her womanhood without which there is no manhood. To that independence without which there is no belonging. To that love without which there is no mystery. May that mystery never be solved.”
Betty: Thank you! [Laughs] I love that. It’s such a beautiful thing.
Kanchan: This is such a magical conversation, Betty. Hearing your voice is, I feel like I’m reading, I’m listening to a fairytale. Thank you so much for being with us.
Anne: While we’re waiting for a question, also Betty, I wanted to ask you about when you’re teaching to the children, you always include the parents and so, as a parent of a child in your kindergarten, how, you know, how important that relationship is. Could you may be speak to that, to how you include the parents in the kindergarten experience?
Betty: My dear, it is the parent and when I first realized that it was the young child that needed their parents to come with them that I opened up schools before I became a public school teacher and that was a training school for parents. The parents only could come with their children and it was a demonstration nursery school in which I had the unbelievable fortune to have space around, and in fact someone wrote up an article that I have and it said, “What if you were given 22 acres of farm. What would you do? What would you plan? What would you consider the commodity that the world needs?” and the next sentence said, “Betty, the training of parents was a commodity that was needed most in the world and so I opened up Easterbrook Farm School where all the parents came and could only come with their children and they would write down everything their children said and did and how they reacted and then I would take those notes home and correct them or wrote comments on them and then, I would have a meeting that week and discuss about how the growth system of that child and that parent was flourishing in that situation.
Anna: We still have notes that they took on my brother and myself when we were 2 and 3 years old in the farm and the school is still going and my own daughter has been there. Another secret is learning to observe the child and to see the child as full of lawful wisdom of development and to know, if you know how a child develops, then you know what the child needs. The child will tell you just in their actions and what they don’t say, you can see what it is by observing and that’s what the parents were able to do just by taking notes and discussions. I was actually teaching in a kindergarten, there was weekly parent meetings some years. These weekly parent meetings where parents would come to the house and make a gift, make a craft for the child and talk about what was going on in the kindergarten so that the parents really felt that they were part of the education and the marvelous journey that this child is on. So, it’s all about the parents.
Anne: Absolutely! One question I had was you know, when we can tell you from personal experience working with children I think we will able to tap into their creative energy and their inner child. We have all these interconnected with our inner child and have that energy about us and I noticed so, often that I feel defeated and I just wanted to ask that the idea about what are, what are some ideas you might have on weekend keep our cup full and vibrant and alive for us to be able to bring up best in our children?
Betty: Well, my dear I don’t let a single thought that has been created in this world to go by me and tracking it down. I read constantly, I read, I am always reading and I feel that this is the way that we can help ourselves by contacting and being a part of not only our observation from our special talent. And now I am starting this project of how you learn to read, my husband learned to read by the pool method he has the most marvelous mother and father who read to him. And every night he went to bed with wonderful thoughts and words and saw how they would form and put together. So, he found himself reading beyond what they had read.
Anna: I think another way that my mother recharges is by walking in the garden, working in her garden and planning for her garden and just living surrounded by beauty and nature.
Anne: That’s such a big thing, thank you. I also wanted to ask about this beautiful story that Betty said about the five pointed star, Betty can you share that story with us?
Betty : Yes, I have a child who didn’t want to come to my kindergarten and her mother had looked all over kindergarten for her to go to but no, she did not want to go to Mrs. Pecks kindergarten so, I said “we will go home and ask her why she doesn’t?” And so the mother came back and said “It's because you only have 5 pointed starts and my synagogue has 6 pointed stars” and so, I said “Oh! My dear I have to come early in the morning and I will show her why I have 5 pointed stars” So, I got the school papers ready and once she came in I said “Oh! My dear I had no idea you didn’t know why I have 5 pointed stars. Lie down on this paper and I will show you.” So, I did one point in the head and then the arms and then the legs and there was on the paper a 5 pointed star and I stood her up and I said, “Look it’s because of you that I have 5 pointed stars.” But I said there I will have my own stars looked out all these beautiful 5 pointed stars sleeping in his kingdom. The sun and the moon and the stars that’s released and what’s the most important thing in my family my father, my sister and me, we are she said 6 points so, I shall have a 6 pointed star and I said I think David has given you a gift. Go out and plant it 6 inches deep. And so, they ran as fast as they could to the ruler and the paper, to the 6 pointed star and put it, took out the gift from David and planted it. I said “Anywhere in the garden.” Well, time passed but one day somebody saw a straight leaf coming right up a stem, a stalk and it was coming up all over the garden then they said “Oh! It must be David’s one” then I said Oh! It must be the daffodil blue they had six petals” and one girl said look “Its crown is in the middle”. That was his gift to us.
Anne: Alright, Betty how beautiful I always think of this star story when I say to my kids they love hearing it, it is so, so good. I also wanted to ask you about your graduation that you had for the kindergarten students, can you share your beautiful profession with us about how you do the graduation with them and if you can share with our college please?
Betty: Yes, we never stop studying, we never stop going to school, we always so, I didn’t wanna say if we end the school. “No, I said this is the day the birds will fly and we all dressed in our beautiful blues representing the sky and the badge in blue birds.” We all gathered for our last day to say good bye but it was the day the birds were flying and we had saved a loaf of breads and each weeks cooking. And so, we had a loaf for each mother and so we called each family as the formed little celebration and told about all the things the mother had done and I was able to say that it was so exciting and wonderful here with our gift a loaf of bread. And it was the day the birds would fly and the fathers and mothers all came and one mother had not done one single thing to help our kindergarten not one single thing and I said that “My dear this loaf is for you because it was your beautiful gift to me of your son that made it possible for me to be the kind of teacher I was.” And as she was going out I gave her the loaf of bread and as she was going out she said “May I be your doctor?” and I said “Yes” so, she was the doctor for me and she retired from Kaiser and her husband was the head of Kaiser and so it was so exciting for that kind of a doctor. Then I must tell you about at the very end I held my hand to pigeon and my, I got these beautiful homing pigeons from the friend that I knew and my aid held one, two and then I said now the birds will fly and these have been in our kindergarten for some time and the children all do love them. And I raised them up and they flew away the beautiful, the beautiful pigeons to their own home. I said “Children what shall we do? We have no sand to put in our sand box. I said how do you make sand? What’s it like?” I said “Go get two rocks" and they got two rocks and they rubbed them together and little tiny pieces of sand came out from the corner. “Oh! God look its sand” and so, every day we went out and we rubbed two rocks together. After a week and a half of rubbing we realized that it takes a lot of time and so, the office called me and said “The sand will be delivered this weekend” I said "No, they won’t be delivered this weekend they have to come when we are here so, that we can see that.” So, sand goes back and so, we were out making sand one morning and here came this truck and the children, it went slowly by and the children saw it and said “Oh! It’s ours we need it, we need this sand.” The driver got out and said “Where? Right here they said right here” and so he drove in. It was a wonderful experience of using the sand to create our own world and to build our own dreams in the sand is something that every child has to experience.
Anne: Betty, thank you! Look, Anna and Betty I wanted to thank you for sharing the reading the power of story and all of us to be reminded when we have a challenge or obstacle that, there is always a story, always a way to share in how we approach and how we share. And I just wanna thank you for these beautiful stories because in our, today’s culture we know, we hear a lot you know “You can’t do this, no you can’t do that, no it’s not possible.” And instead of just taking that energy to be able to respond from the place of love and say whether it’s a story or another way of being or looking is only available. So, I just wanna thank you for that beautiful reminder.
Betty: I want to say that I never use the word “No” it was only “Yes,” “Yes you may” but no “No” because we are going to have the ice cream first I mean, they would it was always “Yes.” Oh! But I must tell you that we are going on a little excursion.
Anne: Being positive.
Betty: Yes, that’s the, how to turn every negative into positive.
Anne: Well, you have gifted us all with so much wisdom that we can all just take it to our hearts and I just wanna thank you. And Anna, can you say a little about song and movement and how you bring out that into your childrens' lives and your students', because it’s been really powerful to sing with you?
Anna: Yeah, a lovely tradition in the category of framing each gathering really sort of holding, for guiding us through our, whatever is gonna happen. And in one way that used to really very accessible and enlightening and you never know what is going to happen and know it is going to be good. You sing a line, everyone follows you and learning a song that way and doing some sort movement together and just joining hands and moving together in a circle and singing and those are the old singing games. It’s a wonderful road for people to moving and speaking together at the same time and it’s just a song so it always has a beginning, middle and end and the beautiful image would picture the both with it. And the melody so familiar with folk songs, the folk melodies have so much part of our heritage that’s coming around in our past somewhere you know, just sort of trigging into them now. So, these sports and games are also lovely invitations for building community which are having advent or it could just be going to the last category of life, going to the middle, going out again, turning around, turning your partners. And all to your favorite tunes and songs there has to be something that you are trying to memorize, it is something that you already know and this music as a teacher it includes everything that you wanted to be in language, wanted to be in math, it’s movements explaining to know your source and space were you are you know, in the great world. So, it’s, that’s why we sing, that’s why we dance together.
Anne: Thank you. Betty, do you have any of your childhood stories that we haven’t heard yet, we just love your stories Betty. Well, I would also love to share with everyone on the call that you know, Betty and Will how many years have you been married? Maybe 70 years?
Betty: No, 62 years.
Anne: What I love hearing at the end of the day that you would walk around your home and sit on the rocking chair overlooking the creek and count your blessings this is the beautiful way of expressing your gratitude.
Betty: And I wanted to say we sat in the rock overlooking the creek and all the great trees grow on our property and thanks to will and express our gratitude in fact my whole life is filled with gratitude that he would say no, this is the good place to die, it was all about that life into death, death into life is what he knew is important.
Anne: Thank you Betty. I am so fascinated you know, you are so full of life and vitality and just so much joy and I, I just wish I could tap into it because there are so many times that you know, it almost seems, maybe I am just in the unreal world. It is so beautiful and I wish we all had dropping into that inner beauty and magic and just having that vitality enough all the time.
Betty: Well, my dear stories are the architecture of life and we build our life on these stories, it is so wonderful to say that is one of the great foundation of kindergarten and of life itself are the stories we tell, the architecture of life. And then imagination it is so important and fantasy and there is one father who said “I am taking my child out of this kindergarten there is too much fantasy.” And I said “Have you ever seen a sunrise beautiful, beautiful sunrise?” “Oh! Yes” he said “I am a fishermen, I am out fishing before sunrise.” “Have you ever seen a sunset that fills the sky with beauty?” “Oh! Yes I have seen the sunset, I do see it.” “Do you know the sun does not rise and the sun does not set?” “That is pure fantasy that is what the kindergarten is all about.” and so he kept it. One more story about the apple I have told this story about the, the Christ child coming on his beautiful wings and he came down with the beautiful star that he was holding and I said it was so exciting to think that when I cut the apple look what happens and there in the middle of the apple was a star. And everyone took a deep breath “How could that be?” and next day a mother came to me and said “Do you know my husband wants to know where you got those apples?” “Oh! My.”
Anne: So, where did the star come from, was it from where you cut the apple?
Anne: Okay, I didn’t understand that. Wow! That’s so beautiful.
Betty: And then I want you to know that every Christmas we go and have a talk with our lawyer in town. His wife and he were expecting a baby and every day she would come in and we would feel her wonderful, wonderful, beautiful skin and when she stood up we formed a letter “B” for baby. And this baby was born and so, just before Christmas that baby was born. I do tell the children we had made all time for this baby, we just knew all the exciting moments that were to come and I sent this to the library as story and I set up the little house corner that I had. The mother and father were gathered and she was holding the new baby that we have been waiting for this dear mother. And so, I said “Oh!” and so when the children came in here they saw that only the mother Joseph and Mary with the baby, what they saw is the shepherd who was the big brother and when there is going to be a new baby you put the hand on the big sister or the brother. And the brother standing there and the children came in and believed their eyes “Oh!” this wonderful called out “look this baby born” here was our baby that we loved so much.
Betty: It’s a story of every mother and I feel that it is so important to emphasize it that it is our special, special celebration that we have and it was the Mother’s Day also. And I remember when this kindergarten aide that I had she came in one morning and said “Jesus Christ my mother forgot my birthday, I said what do you mean? She forgot your birthday, you go right down to the office and you call your mother and you thank her. But also you call the florist and have them send a great bouquet to your mother it’s her day not yours.” So, we remember that the angels we never forget the importance of angels and at school I feel every teacher belongs that every child had its own guardian “angel.” And we were saying and saying about the angels all around us and hear the music in our ears. “The angels sing at every birth” and I just feel that the activity is a must in kindergarten and I shall say the entire timing was very important for us to remember.
Anne: Betty and Anna I just wanna thank you so much for these beautiful stories and I feel that we all were seeing a moon and sun both around you listening and taking into our heart. I just thank you so much and Anna too for all that you got for so much gratitude and blessings and with a beautiful call to have with the beautiful persons and also at the time of your birthday blessings, Betty. So, thank you so much.
Anna: Thank you so much and you are such a picture of what it means to be a kindergarten teacher and the human being that our dearest friends never leave us, they just appear when we need them. And you have come into our life again and we are ones who are blessed so, thank you, all of the people who served us it’s been wonderful, heartwarming, enriching, living forever experience to be a part of this community of this space. So, thank you so much for opening your doors and hearts to us.
Betty: Yes, my heart is filled with gratitude for you all and your beautiful open arms to us, thank you.
Anne: Thank you Betty and Anna.
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