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Thinking of Ten Years Ago Today–My First Walk on WORDWALK

January 19, 2023

Thinking of Ten Years Ago:  The First Walk on WORDWALK

By Alice Jane-Marie Massa

                Do you recall what you were doing on January 19, 2013?  I certainly do!  On that Saturday afternoon, ten years ago–my longtime reader and still friend Jenna, my third Leader Dog Zoe, and I were gathered around my computer desk.  Relatively newly retired from teaching, I was wanting to do more with my writing during my retirement years.  A somewhat new member of the international writers’ group Behind Our Eyes, I was positively influenced by writer members Deon Lyons, Abbie Johnson Taylor, and John Wesley Smith—all of whom had successful blogs—to try to initiate a blog of my own.  With Jenna’s positive attitude, encouragement, and help—I did begin my WORDWALK blog within a couple of hours on that Saturday afternoon.  On that day in 2013, I never dreamed that I would still be independently blogging ten years later.  Although there have been times or particular weeks when I have seriously thought of discontinuing my weekly blog, I am happy to have met this ten-year milestone with now my fourth Leader Dog Willow lying beside my computer desk as I write.

                Besides Willow, I have officially seventy-six followers of my blog and am always grateful to all who read my blog posts.  While I have been very touched and encourage to continue with my blog by a number of comments which I have received on this blog, I am thankful for all of you who have taken the time to comment during these past ten years.  A couple of distant relatives have found some of my family history pieces when they were doing genealogical research online.  What a pleasant surprise to hear from these distant cousins—thanks to WORDWALK! 

                To mark this tenth anniversary on WORDWALK, I am sharing again with you my very first blog post on WORDWALK.  Now, I do wonder what the little girl about whom I wrote is doing today. 

Big Shoes on Little Feet

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

                Clippity-clop.  Clippity-clop.  The approximately three-year-old child was trying as hard as an Olympic competitor to keep up with her impatient, young mother.  The scene unfurled in front of me as my second guide dog Heather and I walked down the State Street sidewalk toward the Big Lake—Lake Michigan.  The obviously too big shoes for the little feet were tugging at my heart strings and my wallet.  How I wanted to buy the little girl a pair of shoes of the perfect size! 

                As I walked with my Leader Dog, I wondered how I could approach the young mother who was assuredly in a hurry.  What exactly would I say?  As a teacher for most of my adult life, I was accustomed to telling people what to do, offering suggestions of what to do, counseling individuals.  Fortunately or unfortunately, my thrusting out my opinions was never limited to the classroom:  A need to teach has always exuded from my being whenever and wherever circumstances arose.  Nevertheless, on this one occasion with the clippity-clop reverberating in front of me, I could not step into the scene.  I just thought:  I did not act.

                Although I am blessed with having few regrets in my life, just observing and not entering this scene is one of my regrets.  Even though this incident occurred more than a half dozen years ago, the scene periodically replays in my mind.  Was the young mother taking the little girl to the park?  Was the mother taking her daughter to day-care before hurrying to a job or job interview?  I thought I would meet them again sometime on a walk, but I never have.  I have only met my regrets.

                When my sister Mary Elizabeth and I were young, our parents took us either to McCoy Shoe Store (on the square of Paris, Illinois) or to Horning and Hahn (a shoe store in Terre Haute, Indiana).  At both stores, my feet were carefully measured to insure a good fit on my growing feet.  Although the people at McCoy’s were quite nice, I especially enjoyed going to the shoe store in Terre Haute because it had a life-size, beautifully-painted, wooden horse I could ride back and forth, back and forth.  Growing up, I always had at least a pair of play shoes and a pair of dress shoes that were well-fitted.  Additionally, my cousin Carole had patent leather tap shoes and shiny pink ballet slippers.  Of course, we had house slippers and boots also.  I do remember having a pair of boots that seemed a bit too large for my feet; however, I never experienced trying to walk quickly in shoes that were so very much bigger than my feet as the little girl on State Street.

                At the onset of another new year, I do make resolutions.  One of my resolutions for 2013 is to live all twelve months without regrets.  Finding a way to offer help to someone who needs help is a wonderful path to walk and avoid regrets during any year.  I wonder if that little girl is now in the fourth grade.  I wonder if she is now walking in perfectly-sized jogging shoes.  I wonder how she is doing, and I hope that she is living her days with happy feet and a happy heart—with no regrets.

* * *

                I hope that you enjoyed reading this “post from the past” and that you will visit WORDWALK each week of this new year. 

Many thanks, and cheers to my WORDWALK readers!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

January 19, 2023, Thursday


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  1. Susan McKendry permalink

    Congratulations on your 10th anniversary! I remember this blog and think of it every time I see an adult with a phone practically dragging a young child along while engaging in a conversation that excludes that child.

    I also remember my comment about a situation where I should have acted but didn’t and my resolution to not look the other way in the future.

    Thanks for the many interesting and enjoyable posts over this past 10 years.

    • Good afternoon, Sue–Many thanks for your comment today and also for all
      of your numerous and very interesting comments over the past ten years! 
      Your being a “frequent flyer” on WORDWALK is always appreciated very much!

          I am excited about the recent announcement of the new Masters
      Tournament that will be broadcast later this season on JEOPARDY. I think
      Buzzy Cohen should have hosted so that Ken Jennings could be one of the
      six to compete in the JEOPARDY Masters Tournament.

      Take care, and call soon–Alice and Willow

  2. joanmyles permalink

    Congratulations! May each day bring you continued creativity !

    • Hello, Joan–Thank you for the “like” and comment!  Your wish for
      creativity is justn what I need to keep rolling with my blog!

      Take care, and happy writing wishes to you–Alice and Willow

  3. mfanyo permalink

    Dear Alice,
    Congratulations on this special Tenth Anniversary of your blog! Your wonderful piece about the little girl on State Street still touches my heart, as have so many of your posts during the past ten years. I hope that you and Willow celebrate this milestone with great joy and continued writing.

    • Hello, Mary–Many thanks for the “like” and your comment on this
      milestone post!  Also, special thanks for your being a “frequent flyer”
      on WORDWALK and in its comment section.

      Take care, and enjoy your company!

      Alice and Willow

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