Donna Smaldone
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Saturday / February 04 / 2012

Putting a spring back in my wounded step

The Hadley-Luzerne Class of 1988 dedicated our yearbook to our English teacher, our mentor, our friend Mimi Reid.
The Hadley-Luzerne Class of 1988 dedicated our yearbook to our English teacher, our mentor, our friend Mimi Reid.

The morning was crisp, the first we’d seen sunshine in what seemed an eternity. Disappointed with no snow on the ground but delighted with the rays, I added a skip to my step as I made my way to the basement of the hospital. Still painful, the bone infection in my scarred leg was healing — slowly but surely.

With just a hint of arrogance, I chose the stairs for the first time en route to my weekly appointment in the wound healing center. Today was going to be a special day. I could feel it.

“You’ll be in Room Two,” Linda told me, dropping my chart in the holder just outside the door, flipping the flag to alert the nurse I was ready to be seen. Ready to be seen: yes — but in the room: no.

Holding true to the genes of my Grandma Kokoski, a trace of rebelliousness courses through my being — so after depositing my things in Room Two, I habitually made my way to the front desk where I would immerse myself in morning conversation with the staff, rather than sit alone waiting for the nurse. A nice way to start my visit, for certain.

After the habitual debriding, doc shared good news. The wound is smaller. We’re making progress. Healing is more noticeable today than in weeks past. Little did I know the “yeessss” that escaped my lips was but a small part of the joy I would experience this special day.

Fast forward to Burst of Joy Moment Number Two later that same sunny day. Practically skipping, I heard a voice that made me pause. Something connected. Turning to take in those distinguishable baby blues, I clarified, “Mimi?

Within a breath of her affirmative response and my pointing to myself with two identifying words, “Donna Racette”, I threw my arms around her. It had been decades since I’d seen my mentor, my friend. Too long. My quest to find her since arriving back home two years ago had proven futile and yet here she was. I was elated.

It’s not lost on me this is the 88th post I’ve written. I am a proud member of HLCS class of ’88, afterall.

“Throughout our high school years, a very precious person has guided us, cared about us, and been a part of our lives,” the yearbook dedication reads. “You have taught us so much more than English. Your influence has brought forth from our hearts: love, respect and admiration.”

She was always one of our favorites. And for me it was personal. She volunteered to tutor me during those long months in the hospital 25 years ago. I have her to thank for being able to graduate on time with the classmates I had grown up with. But more than that – so much more than that – she was my confidant in that dark, uncertain time. She helped me smile again.

The dedication continues, “We now proudly wish to recognize and honor you for your sincerity and kindness. This year it is our pleasure to dedicate the 1988 yearbook to a person whom we love, respect and admire. Thank you, Mimi Reid!!!!” (yes, we put four exclamation points!)

The hugs I bombarded her with were just a taste of the love, respect, and admiration I hold for her. I’ve been giddy ever since. Forever and always, Mimi Reid holds residency in my heart and now, she unexpectedly and delightfully put a spring back in my otherwise wounded step. I am grateful.

 

9 responses to “Putting a spring back in my wounded step”

  1. Debbie says:

    So glad you found her!! (and for crying out loud- really, Bodini? You don’t wait in the room!? I count the minutes until I get to the room so I don’t have to make small talk in the waiting room with strangers!!)

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      hahaha, Sissy — how did I know you would say something like that!? But you can see Grandma doing the same thing I did, right?

      Love,
      Donna

  2. Laura says:

    Love Ms. Reid…she was one of my very favorite teachers…she always made EVERYONE feel like they mattered. :o) Thanks for writing about her!

  3. John Manley says:

    Donna, I wish that a had known that you had not seen Mimi and had not reconnected with her. I have contact with her and would have gladly gotten the two of you together. ONLY IF I HAD KNOWN!!! So glad to hear that you have reunited!!!

    John

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Haha… evidently I wouldn’t make a very good detective!! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      Love,
      Donna

  4. Dawn says:

    There are NO COINCIDENCES, ONLY SMALL MIRACLES. And it’s not lost on me that this is your 88th post. What a wonderful thing to finally reconnect after all these years. Mimi is an amazing woman and touched all our lives in so many ways, she was far more than an English teacher, and we are blessed to have had us in our lives, something you know far to well, Thanks again for sharing.

    Love ya,
    Dawn

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Truly a wonderful thing! We are indeed blessed to have had her and so many wonderful and amazing teachers at HLCS. Thanks for your comment, Dawnie.

      Love,
      Donna

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