My own Story of Hope…
#BlogHerWritingLab ~ Has a Story ever given me Hope or quelled my Fears?
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Have you ever heard a story that gave you hope or quelled your fears? Tell us about it.
I’ve lived a Story of Hope, of finding one person wrapped in all the Hope a human being could embody. This is a story that gave me Hope 40+ years ago and continues each moment of each day for 40+ years later to give me Hope.
I met my husband through a journey of winding, twisting, continuum of moments set into motion at an indoor telephone booth at Rhode Island College back in April of 1975 with me pouring through the yellow pages in search of a contact for a research paper I was doing on the history of desegregation in the City of Providence, an avenue to end inequality and provide the means and the Hope for a better education…
That telephone booth and those yellow pages and that eventual random contact would put me in touch with a man at the RI Department of Education who’d put me in contact with a vice-principal at a local high school who’d put me in touch with a teacher who would know a thing or two about desegregation.
But it wasn’t that teacher who’d become my husband.
It was his very good friend. I just hadn’t met him just yet.
I finished that research paper, learning a whole lot of things about desegregation, and went on my way to interviewing for a teaching job for the following school year. In the meantime, that vice-principal had taken a liking to me (because of my Polish last name and his wife was Polish – go figure in the timelines of life stories) and asked if I would be willing to volunteer in the teaching of Reading to some of the school’s students (I had told him that I would be pursuing a Master’s Degree in Reading/Education).
It was arranged that I would come to that school 10 volunteer hours per week. I did. To earn money, I cocktail waitressed at night (in a skimpy red corset kinda thing that paid my bills. The money. Not the corset. Or, maybe both.) It seems that the principal of that school liked that I came to volunteer. He was a gruff old guy, a former Naval officer, and he liked that my Dad was retired Navy, too. He offered me a summer school paid position while I continued to interview all over the place for an English Teacher position.
This gruff principal gave me an outstanding reference.
It’s at the summer school position where I’d meet my husband, a Math teacher… the nicest, smartest, most handsome man I had ever met.
It was during August of that summer that my Dad would die, unexpectedly. Suddenly. Cardiac arrest. I was lost. I lost Hope.
I did get a teaching position at a small junior high school in Connecticut. I got a small apartment in-between the distance of my Mom and my new school.
I lived in disbelief. My Mom was lost. I was a ghost of myself. Empty. Hollow.
I loved my job. I loved the kids. But I was lost.
One afternoon, three weeks into my new position, I was called to the principals’ office. This can’t be good, I thought. This kind man asked me to sit. Oh, no. He told me that had just gotten off the phone with the principal of my summer school school. An English teacher had just resigned. This principal had asked my new principal if I could come back. The new principal said that he would graciously accept my resignation if I wanted, basically, to go back home.
My eyes filled with tears at this man’s generosity of spirit and for the kindness and respect of my former principal. I went to shake his hand, but he hugged me. He told me that my volunteering had been the deal-breaker between me and another candidate for the job and to never give up Hope in kids.
The following Monday, I was back at my summer school. It was October 6, 1975. I remember this date so clearly because it was my 23rd birthday. I felt my Dad with me that day. All day. I was filled with Hope for the future.
I would reconnect with that Math teacher. I always say that my Dad could not leave without settling my life with Hope.
We would marry the following August (it was 1976, folks, the summer of the beige tux, brown piping and ruffles well before Seinfeld)…
Our wedding was held… and this CANNOT be coincidental, at St. Joseph Church on Hope Street in Providence.
Hope Street in Providence while the sun danced high in the warmth of that August morning.
I was Sharon Ann Klaczynski (thank God for that Polish name detail in the tale of my story) becoming Sharon Klaczynski Couto.
I was filled with HOPE, just like the name of the street we would be married on, where our guests were arriving, where I would walk in with one name and walk out with another.
My HOPE on that day turned into every one of my DREAMS coming true… with even more to come.
40 years later – 4 kids, 4 in-law kids, 11 grandkids with another due any day – that winding, twisting journey of moments has us living on Hope Street in Bristol, RI.
It all began in a telephone booth about the topic of Hope.
This story of my husband, my love, my very heart and life is my greatest story of Hope.