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Wednesday
Apr182012

Miss Lockwood

When I was a young girl living in Fort Morgan with my family, my Mom, Dad, and 2 brothers; I lived next door to a wonderful woman who influenced my life almost more than anyone. We lived on a peaceful tree-lined street in a two-story house. I always felt so special because I had my own room and my brothers had to share, little did I know it was just because I was a girl.

Next door to us lived an old spinster woman. I am sure now days we would not use the word "spinster", but that is how my mom described Miss Marian Lockwood. She was unmarried and lived with her own mother. By the time I knew her she was already retired from her job as a respected educator in the area. I don't remember Miss Lockwood's mother but I do remember the day my Mom told me that her mother had died.

Miss Lockwood would let us come over to her house next door. She, too, had a two-story house, although I never went upstairs. What made our visits so very special was that she would read to us. She had a big screened-in porch on the front of her house. It had lots of chairs, a wooden rocking chair and webbing lawn chairs. But the very best chair was not really a chair, but the most wonderful hammock. It was probably about 5-6 feet long, striped canvas with fringe along the sides. It was a metal-framed hammock, perfect for my little brother and I and Miss Lockwood to snuggle together with a book. Sometimes it was just delightful Miss Lockwood and I.

Well, we would sit as close together as we could and then she would read to us. She had a soft, mellow voice that seemed to give all the stories the perfect reading. Even today I can feel us sitting together listening to her voice. We read many books together but the two I remember the most are the Boxcar Children and The Five Little Peppers. However, I will never forget her love for Beatrix Potter books.  She had them all and we read them all!  I have my own set now, as well as copies of the original Five Little Peppers book.  Mostly in the afternoons we would sit there and spend time with all the children in those books and all the characters in the Beatrix Potter books.  I think I will always love Peter Rabbit, but actually Benjamin Bunny is my favorite. I think I liked Benjamin Bunny best because he got into lots of trouble.  When I was young I did not like getting into trouble. I know that she is the reason that I love to read, that I loved reading to my own two sons, and the many children in my classroom.  I love to share books with other people, and often times wish I had been a librarian.

Reading was not the only thing we did with Miss Lockwood. She was a gardener. Every spring she would prepare a big garden, hoeing, digging, planting and watering. Each of us would get to plant a row of something. We even got a little stick marker for our row. Watering the garden was one of our favorite things to do. Miss Lockwood spent lots of time on her yard as well. When we were over visiting she would tell us about the trees. We did not help with the care of the trees but she told us all about them. She had a weeping willow tree with white bark. She taught us to be ever so careful with the bark as it was easily bruised. To this day I love weeping willow trees. I have had a cherry tree in almost every place I have lived. And the reason is that Miss Lockwood had one.  

Collecting butterflies was another activity we loved to do with Miss Lockwood.  Back then, 50+ years ago; butterflies were quite plentiful on any summer day.  Miss Lockwood showed us how to catch them ever so gently in her butterfly net. We then took them into her house and gently, gently put the butterfly in a jar with some type of white powder in it that killed the butterfly. Sounds kind of gruesome and probably dangerous now, but then it was just something we did. Later we would take the butterfly out of the jar and she would gently spread the wings and we would pin the butterfly on a display board. I feel a bit guilty about this now; maybe we contributed to the demise of butterflies, but what memories of those beautiful creatures.

 Miss Lockwood's father was a doctor.  Of course, he was long gone by the time I knew her, but his office was still intact.  His office was a small single car garage sized building at the back of her back yard.  Inside were all the tools of his trade.  Now that I think about it, maybe he was a dentist, but either way, there were lots of intense, shiny silver tools all laid out waiting to be used.  We never went into that little building without Miss Lockwood, but she loved telling us stories about her father.  

Another special time I spent with Miss Lockwood was dinners she and I would go to. Just me, not my brothers. We went to dinners put on at the high school. They were cultural events of some sort like a Hawaiian night or Asian night. I would put on my best dress and marching coat that undoubtedly my mother had made for me. With white bobby socks and black Mary Jane shoes, I could not have felt more special. I would sit next to her at the clothed, marvelously decorated tables. As she would introduce me to her friends, I am sure I was beaming.

We moved away from Miss Lockwood and Fort Morgan when I was 10. We were excited to move as new things were happening for my family. However I know that it was a blow to her, as we were "her" kids.

I kept in touch with Miss Lockwood throughout my life through cards and letters. I invited her to my wedding and sent her birth announcements of my sons. For many years she would send me Beatrix Potter calendars at Christmas. When she was about 92 or 93 and I was in my early 40s, I went to visit her at the care facility she lived in.  That was the last time I saw her.  We commented on our birthdays as hers was the day before mine.  

 

 

Marian Lockwood

   

Last Residence:

80701  Fort Morgan, Morgan, Colorado, United States of America

Born:

11 Aug 1903

Died:

23 Nov 1997

 

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