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Educator Articles

 

Ideal Lady

By Bonnie Jo Kelly
Lawrenceburg, IN

 

"She can't come," Stephanie explained, "but I will read the letter she sent me."

As another school year came to an end, members of the State Sunshine Society were busy planning their annual Ideal Lady Tea. Having served as faculty advisor for more than ten years, I, too, eagerly awaited the celebration.

The purpose of Sunshine Society was a simple one -- to spread sunshine into the lives of others. Throughout the school year, high school girls who belonged to the club performed charitable deeds throughout the school and community. None, however, was as important as selecting and serving their "Ideal Ladies."

At the beginning of the school year, each club member selected an "Ideal Lady." This lady was a person who, for some reason, had made a difference in the girl's life, thereby serving as a role model. Each girl sent her lady an anonymous letter, thanking the lady for being such an "ideal." Because the letter was signed only with a number, the lady frequently had no idea who the girl was although the girl continued to perform anonymous acts of kindness for her.

When spring came, club members prepared a tea party to which all ladies were invited. Dressed in their "Sunday best," displaying their "Sunday manners," the girls approached the podium, one-by-one. As their ladies sipped tea, each described her lady, relating a special story about why this lady was so precious to her. Every year, the stories brought both laughter and tears; this year would be no different.

As Stephanie approached the podium, my sense of apprehension elevated. "Handle it, Steph," I prayed. "Even though your lady couldn't make it tonight, don't let your disappointment diminish the love you have for her."

My apprehension was quickly replaced by a feeling of pride and admiration. "My Ideal Lady couldn't be here tonight," Stephanie began. "You see, she passed away last week. I do have a letter from her, though, and I would like to share it with you."

Softly, meticulously, Stephanie read the letter as tears filled every eye in the audience. The letter concluded, "Thank you Sunshine Girl #27. Your letters and kindness helped me get through many long afternoons. I want you to know you truly were a ray of sunshine in the final days of my life."

 

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