Making My Own Shade

 In Inspirational

I am making my own shade.

As a little girl, I was much like a chameleon. Since I was not sure of who I was, I tried on different skins. Often, the events of the day colored my choice. On Saturday mornings, when I was watching Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans on our little black and white TV, I wanted to be a cowgirl.

        Christine and Kim (1955)

In elementary school, on Sunday afternoons I watched The Shirley Temple Theatre on TV.  After viewing the black and white movie, I wanted to tap dance just like the curly haired girl or prance about singing the Good Ship Lollipop in a fancy dress.

               Kim’s adult tap shoes

During this time, my elementary soul seemed like the fields where I grew up in Ames, NY. Open. Uncluttered. Innocent. Like the thin grass, I swayed with the gentle summer breezes.

              Ames, NY summer pastures

Eventually, with time and experience, I started to form my own shade. At first, it was small and dim. Slowly, it expanded. Sometimes, in a moment of insecurity, it retracted. Back and forth it went as the circumference grew.

In the process, I collected milestones which intensified my shade. I mastered riding my bike without training wheels. I kissed a boy. I passed my driver’s test.  I lived for three months in Wollongong, Australia as an AFS exchange student.

Sydney Church of England Girl’s Grammar School uniform fitting  (1969)

I went away to college. I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. I visited the Soviet Union. I climbed to the summit of the Zugspitze in the Wetterstein Mountains on the Austrian-German border.

I am one of the crouched figures touching the cross at the summit of the Zugspitze  (1994)

I worked as a paralegal in Philadelphia. I taught high school Spanish.  I married. I embraced motherhood. I became a grandmother.  I wrote books and articles. I retired and collected Social Security. I travelled to Cuba.

       Kim and a “Yank Tank”  Cuba (2016)

My shade expanded. Now, when I look down at my feet, I see a wider circle.

If you like my shade, you may step in it for a while. But, you cannot stay long. I encourage you to make your own shade. Look down at your base and examine the space. What do you see? Like a big mirror, it reflects where you are in your life journey and where you have been.

hike up Anthony’s Nose Lake George, NY (2019)

I continue to grow my shade. This serene, cool space gives me refuge when turmoil bubbles above. I do not know what the future will bring. May there be many years to come and may they be fruitful.

I am making my own shade.

Along with mine, I hope your shade flourishes, too. Good luck!





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  • Dolores Jacksland

    At 90 I know where I am and what I have done. Many wonderful friends and family have left,and I think of them often.A word,a song a gesture and memories return to fill my space. My time is growing shorter but I live and love every day. Great life!

    • Kim K Meredith

      Your shade is deep and wide. You have filled it with fun, energy and love for those that come in contact with it. I am one of the fortunate ones that had our circles connect.

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