Thursday, June 11, 2009

One of life's parallels!

Projects are an important part of me and always have been. They’ve gotten me through every major crisis in my life and, just like you, I’ve had a few crises.

I first became aware of this important project/problem parallel when I was nine-years old and my parents decided to divorce. This was an uncommon event in our small town and certainly a disaster for me. It made me very sad and I was lonely for my dad.

We didn’t have a television set in our home and I don’t know why. Certainly we could afford it, one small box of living images, even though we only had one channel in our town, no national feed coming into our isolated valley.

Our neighbors on Texas Avenue (I do not tell a lie here. We lived at 816 Texas Avenue) had a TV but they didn’t have small children, only two older girls. Still, the man of the house found me in his living room in front of his TV many an afternoon. Instead of shooing me away, this good man took a page from Tom Sawyer and gave me a large art gum eraser and showed me how to clean the cork tile in his living room, inventing, in the process, the first ever pay-for-view television.

“It’s very important,” he told me, “to clean just one tile at a time, staying within its lines. That way it looks neat while we’re working on the floor.” I loved the way he used that magic word “we”.

So every afternoon, I’d slip away from my own troubled house and go next door, retrieve my art gum eraser from its secret hiding place, turn on the TV, and erase my problems away.

I’d sit Indian style and erase. I’d stretch out on my tummy and erase. I’d be on my hands and knees erasing. Many times I didn’t even bother to turn on the television. I just erased. The act of working on an important project was healing to this little girl.

Sometimes the man would have cleaned several tiles himself in my absence but I noticed more and more that it was just me working on the project and I felt proud that he’d judged my work competent enough for this little girl to handle the project all by herself.

If he could have only taught me math too...


  1. Erasing cork tile... now that's something I haven't thought about.

  2. Therapy, it comes in many forms! What a kind hearted gentleman to know you needed that therapy.

  3. Ah, the healing powers of work. Smart man.

    I've never seen cork tile. It's seems a little odd that you clean it with an eraser. Kinda different.


  4. I don't know whether to judge the man as an ogre by making you work to watch tv , or as a saint for giving you something to do to keep your mind busy. Your words speak kindly of him so I suppose he was a saint. That is a very touching story. It gave me chill bumps and made me want to cry to think about a tiny Cher erasing her troubles away.


    Where is your hometown?

  5. I loved the story Cher, every word of it. I have this thing I've believed in my entire life. It's that I believe certain people come into our lives for a reason. At the time we have no idea why, but looking back we usually figure it out. Such as the case of the eraser man! Thanks for sharing. Sue

  6. A very interesting and poignant story! Sometimes, a very simple story reveals so much about the storyteller... You are lucky you can allow yourself to be so vulnerable, or at least it seems that way to me. Angie

  7. I agree with Angie and Malissa's comments. I think you are like an onion with a lot of layers that slowly but surely you peel back to reveal just a little more of yourself. Thank you for allowing us into a inner sanctum.

  8. There is a miracle in most things...we just don't open our souls to see them. That was an awesome story - thank you for sharing it!!!

  9. Thanks for sharing that lovely memory/lesson (and the birth of pay per view TV).

  10. Awesome! And it obviously stuck with you. Reminds me of the lessons Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel-San in the movie "Karate Kid." Wax on, wax off. Sand the floor. Erase the tile. Maybe they stole the idea from you. Did you ever get your black belt?

  11. I love when you write like this. more please...

  12. How enlightening and poignant a story. This man most likely knew what had been transpiring next door and he offered you a sanctuary. He might have ended up w/a clean floor, but I think you came out ahead in the deal... hugs, Sue

  13. Hi Cher, Interesting story....I didn't know you had to erase cork tile.
    Thanks for sharing....


  14. Cher I think that is great. You invented pay per view TV. You and Al Gore are in a set all your own.

    I'm the same way on it's cooking. I cook in times of crisis, which then means of course I eat. This of course results in me gaining weight. Which of course means I get depressed which causes me to bake. Which in turn causes me to eat more. Which causes me to eat more. Ooh GAWD IT NEVER ENDS! I've got to go now and bake some cookies, I'm feeling a little down. ;)

  15. The first pay per view television. Awesome!

    Stopping by for the June 1000 Comment Challenge.

  16. Stop by my blog when you have a minute, there is an award over there for you to pickup.

  17. Judith A. JohnstonDecember 3, 2009 at 8:43 PM

    This man that Cher talks about was my Dad James Larkin Johnston. He was a very special person and was a great teacher, well liked by his students. There was always students, past and present, around our house to see Dad. Somtimes I think they were there also to flirt with my younger sister Diane (the blonde haired, blue-eyed beauty). Dad's students always liked him and he had a special gift for teaching. He was a patient man who was raised on a farm in Minnesota built by his Scotch-Irish ancesters from Enniskillen Ireland in the 1870's.
    Thanks Cher for such a lovely memory.
    Judy Johnston


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