|Anna and Her All-Grown-Up Kids|
The Story of Anna
Before moving to the Miles neighborhood in 2002, I lived next door to Anna on E. Vernice Street which is just a couple of block south of Kolb and Golf Links in the Stella Mann neighborhood.
Anna had a Corrections Officer husband and four young children and we always said hello whenever we met on the sidewalk in front of our homes. Over time I learned that the two girls were very bright students especially in math and science, and the boys … well, they were really good at baseball which meant they were bright, too, in a non-book way.
About three years into our friendly sidewalk greetings, Anna told me she was getting a divorce but was not moving. I liked that because the kids would have one more stable element in their lives besides their mom.
Now and then I helped Anna with heavy, man things like fixing doors and carrying heavy packages. One day Anna mentioned she had to deal with mortgage payments and refinancing and she confided in me that she always let her ex handle the finances.
My solution to help—which is another man thing I do, but sometimes I just listen, too—was to introduce her to my accountant friend. I knew he could really help her. In our first meeting we sat in a small conference room a few doors down the hall from my friend’s office and he explained a little about refinancing a home and Anna sat there in silence. I could tell she understood the meaning of the words spoken but her somber face portrayed her lack of understanding of the whole process. Quietly Anna began to cry. “I don’t understand anything,” she sobbed. “I don’t know anything.”
My friend told Anna everything would be okay. He would help her through the whole process. My “two cents” centered on learning itself. “Anna,” I said, “none of us knows anything in the beginning. We just ask questions and hopefully remember the answers.”
9/11 and its effect on my income forced me to move to Farmington, Missouri and stay with my brother and his wife for one year. When I returned to Tucson I ended up in the Miles neighborhood and lost track of Anna. On a sunny spring day while walking my Westies in Himmel Park, a school bus stopped right beside me and Anna popped off. That was a very nice surprise.
In the next 15 minutes while she waited for her ride, we caught up on all those years we were apart. She was graduating soon from Pima and was headed to the U of A to complete her degree is social work. Anna said she loves school and got over her fear of not knowing anything. In fact, she said she sits in the front of all her classes and asks a lot of questions. At first she thought she was being a nuisance but the other students came up to thank her because her questions help them understand, also.
Two days ago I got a friend request from Facebook but did not recognize the last name.
“Hi Peter! It's me Anna, your old next door neighbor. (I took back my maiden name).....I saw your smiling face today in a presentation for one of my Grad school classes! The One Can A Week project that some of my classmates worked with you on! Very, very impressed with the level you all took this and wasn't surprised at all that you started the idea...still a giving person!! :-) Well I am just finishing up my 2nd semester part-time working on an MSW (Masters in Social Work) degree along with John, Vidal & Stacey. We'll have to catch up!!! Great to see you're still in town making a positive difference!!
The best part of this story is I was around when Anna just decided to make a difference … in her life, in her kids’ lives and everyone she comes in contact with every day. Nothing can beat the feeling of helping someone take complete control of his or her world. For me it’s the real joy of life!
A Good Case of “Average” Creep
In our first two years of donating food to the Community Food Bank, our weekly average was around 168 lbs. It’s different this year … very different.
Our first quarter average was 219 lbs. a week. In the first four weeks of our second quarter, our weekly average is 244 lbs. How “better than average” is that?
We collected a total of 188 lbs. of food, including 2 lbs. from The Axis Food Mart. The money we donated amounted to $33.45, $8.45 in cash and a $25.00 check.
See you Sunday,