Two days ago, I walked into the Gorilla Toastmasters meeting in Pittsburg Kansas as a honored guest. A few minutes before the meeting was to begin, I checked my cell phone for messages that I may have missed during the ride from my home to the meeting. I saw that my wife had sent me an attachment via Facebook messenger. When I opened it, my world came to a crashing halt – it was the news that a mother from my childhood neighborhood, Elaine Scott, had died. The news meant that another piece of my childhood was gone forever.
I met Elaine the day her son and I first met at a tree.
I was about 6 or 7 the day I walked down our street and met one of Elaine Scott’s three sons. It was the first time I recall ever meeting this kid. That day we met at a tree and started talking and playing. One or the both of us felt the call of nature. I honestly do not recall whose idea it was, but instead of returning to our respective homes to answer the call, we did what we had seen dogs do in our short lifetimes.
The tree that we were standing at was located directly across the street from Elaine’s house. What we were doing was in the direct line of sight when Elaine looked out her bay window!
Elaine came running out of the house and across the street at the both of us. She was yelling! She was screaming! She dragged her son and myself back into her home!
Elaine scared me!
At that young age I had never seen anyone quite like Elaine. Elaine was taller than my mother. Although she called herself fat I never saw her that way. At that young age Elaine, a woman of Greek decent, as a tall, Mediterranean skinned amazon woman who could break me into small pieces with her pinky.
Once inside her home Elaine insisted that I tell her my mom’s phone number, so she could call her. At first, I didn’t know what to do. I knew my mom would be mad at me and I would certainly be in trouble. But I also feared that Elaine would kill me. I weighed my options and choose to give her my mom’s number. I felt that between the two women – Elaine who was very angry and my mom who would be very angry once she learned of my dog impression, my mom’s love for her offspring might save me from Elaine who, at that time, did not have motherly love for me.
The beginning of friendships.
While Elaine was in her kitchen on the phone yelling at my mom, telling her how I was a bad influence on her little angel, her little angel left me alone in the living room while he went into his bedroom. Elaine’s son returned a few minutes later with some toys and we started playing near the bay window that looked out toward the tree we had just watered.
When Elaine returned, her son and I had already forgotten what we had done.
It was on this day tow friendships were started. My lifelong friendship with Elaine’s son and my mother’s life long friendship with Elaine.
Elaine advice to us kids still resides within me today.
When us kids in our neighborhood got busted for doing something, we were always asked “who did it?” or “who started it?” We always pointed one finger at another child and said, “He did!” Elaine always reminded us that when you point one finger at someone else, the rest point at yourself. I still think of that silly little phrase today when I point at someone.
Elaine was the funniest lady I had ever met in my life.
I remember that Elaine had this little hatchback that she hated. It was always giving her problems and she wanted it gone.
I recall hearing that whenever she drove it to the store, she would leave the keys in the car, with the car running and a sign on the window that read “Please take me”. Much to Elaine’s disappointment, she always drove home in that car.
Elaine was very compassionate and loving.
I was not the greatest kid in our neighborhood. I was a trouble maker at times. I was stubborn. I was difficult. But despite all my faults, and even when I did not treat her children with the respect that I should have treated them with, Elaine still had love for me. She had endless patience with me. She never interfered with my friendship with her son. (Trust me, there was at least one incident that she had jut cause to ban me form being around her son.)
Elaine was able to mix wisdom with wit
On the day of my tenth birthday party, I was full of excitement. I raced down to Elaine’s house and banged on her screen door. When she answered I excitedly announced, “I am now 10 years old!”
She looked at me, and without missing a beat, she said “You will never be a single digit again!”
What I admired about Elaine
During the 5 decades I was privileged and honored to know Mrs. Elaine Scott, I had formed my own opinions of her.
Elaine was very proud of her heritage and installed that pride in her children.
Elaine was a woman of faith and from what I could see, she was active in her church. Although she was a strong believer, that belief helped guide her in her life, she never forced her beliefs on others. That I truly admire.
Elaine was a strong woman.
Elaine was a caring woman.
Elaine was one of the best moms in the best neighborhoods in the worlds.
Elaine was a car pool mom.
Elaine was one of my mother’s best friends. Although I thought of them to be as close as Laverne and Shirley, they saw themselves as Lucy and Ethel.
Elaine was a second mother to every kid in our neighborhood.
Elaine made our neighborhood a special place to grow up.
What I have learned about Elaine
The day she told me that I would never be a single digit again, I walked away feeling a little sad. I had to face the fact she was right, I would never be a single digit age again.
Today, I must another fact. Elaine has left us and has returned to her heavenly home with our Lord and Savior. I will never have another opportunity to see Elaine, talk with her, or read her posts on Facebook.
But just like the single digit years of my life are gone, Elaine also is gone from our Earthly world. Fortunately, I still have memories of my youth and I still have memories of Elaine. I will always cherish and will never let go of – and as long as I keep those memories alive in my mind, she will never leave my heart.
Elaine, thank you for your love, patience, and friendship with myself and my mother. You helped make our neighborhood great. You have left behind an amazing legacy for what you have done here on Earth, you left behind three fine young men whom I consider my friends – and one who I consider, to this day, my best friend from my childhood and still my best friend today!
Rest in peace, Elaine Scott.