Trail of a Heart 7 – First Job

 In Autobiography

The kind of job I had in the beginning was always babysitting.  50 cents an hour, regardless of how many kids! Mostly I babysat on the weekends in the evening. There is one family I will never forget. That was the closest I had ever come to death.

This family had about four children. Their five-year-old girl had leukemia. These parents and the parents of another large family would get together and go out for some fun. I would be left with about nine kids. It wasn’t really so hard for someone coming from a large family. I would use every bit of creative juice I could muster to make up fun games to play with them before bedtime. I kept them hopping around, literally, until time to put them to bed, which was tough after so much excitement. I just wanted to take that little girl’s mind off her illness.

My heart was so broken for this little girl for whom there seemed no hope.  I don’t remember how long I babysat for them, but I will always remember the phone call informing me the little girl had died. That was the saddest funeral I have ever attended, and I believe it was my first at that time. I still see her in my mind’s eye lying in the casket.  Her hair was gone by then, but they had put what seemed like cotton around her head. It still seems odd to this day.  I had no way to grieve for that loss. I was not really attached to their family in any other way than as a babysitter, as my family was not acquainted with them.  I realized much later what an awful thing that was to experience alone.

I don’t know if that was the year, but one year after having made what seemed like a large sum of money babysitting, I made Christmas gift-giving the focus of my funds. I don’t remember what I got for Mother and Daddy, but for each of my siblings still at home, I bought an item of clothing, usually pajamas, and some kind of game or toy. I felt so grownup to buy things for my family. I still had enough money to buy myself this two-piece straight skirt and long-sleeve blouse outfit I had been admiring at a local department store. It was mostly turquoise out of polished cotton. I felt stunning in it.

Watch for the next installment.

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