Several years ago, I gave my grandmother a journal that had questions at the top of each page. Recently, she gave it back to me--all filled in. 365 pages of facts, thoughts, and stories that define my grandma. I am slowly transcribing those valuable pages and sending them out to all of my extended family.
Today, I transcribed a brief story about her school days. She grew up in Nebraska during the dust bowls of the Depression. Sometimes school would be let out early because of the terrible dust storms. The high school and elementary school were on the same lot, in that small town, and during a dust storm, the high school students walked the elementary students home to ensure their safety. Grandma wrote about her escort, Wayne Parks, who "talked to me like a grown up." She always liked him and patronized his floral business through old age. One young man, who was kind to a little kid, changed her, if even in a simple way.
I had an experience like that, also. Jason Haltunen was a tall, popular kid in my school. He always treated me kindly, even though I didn't run in his circle. If others ever spoke poorly of Jason, I always defended him. He was my friend, he made me feel important--he knew my name.
I have always been "good" at names. When I meet someone new, I always try to remember and use their name. I think it's because I have experienced the significance of a "Wayne" and a "Jason."