Papa, not dad.

When I was born my Mom wanted us to be different, so she decided that my dad would be called Papa. Over the years I have confused many people because of this, but I have always loved that my Mom wanted us to be different, and so thankful she succeeded.

1919296_514593021016_54437_nThere are not many pictures of Papa and I, at least not that my mom and I were able to find when we were putting together his yearbook dedication page. We are not a very photogenic family, besides I am usually the one with the camera. This picture of us has always been one of my favorites. I vaguely remember getting that yellow umbrella and being so excited about it. I am sure Papa had a great time helping me test it out.

On and off the past couple of weeks I have attempted to plan out what I could write about Papa for today’s post, but I have yet to find the right words. I remember years and years of camp, Sunday School and all manner of other events that Papa was my Mom’s silent support running around where needed. There were countless hot pool areas sat in and cold, rainy track meets attended. He got car sick teaching me to drive and took at least one quick run home to get me my retainer when I forgot it.

The more I think about it, the more impossible it is to truly articulate everything that Papa has meant to me. He is a corner stone in the frame work of my life and is always there to suppourt me. I could never have asked for a better Papa.

Happy Father’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Sometime at the end of February I got an email from a co-worker about a New York State award for Woman of Distinction. He felt that we, as the newspaper should submit my Mom. Of course my answer was yes! Over a few weeks I tried to think of how to sum up everything that my Mom does, not an easy task. With the help of some of my Mom’s co-workers we came up with a very nice submission.

Unfortunately, she did not win, but that does not change the fact she is a Woman of Distinction for everyone around her. For those of you who know my Mom you will think of a million things we did not include in our submission, but we tried our best. I have often thought that I wish when I was in school that I had a teacher like my Mom, but I always remember how fortunate I am that I have had her my whole life.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!


This was our statement of support:

“As a media outlet covering thousands of stories each year, we find that the work Linda Walter does in and out of the classroom is impactful and consequential to the Hornell area. Her ability to act as a bridge between local businesses, the school district and non-profit organizations has inspired a new generation of community minded-students.

Through hands-on, experiential learning, Linda connects her students to real world scenarios that better prepare them for careers in a world constantly evolving around new technology. Her work is deserving of recognition in itself. Coupled with her volunteerism, she is clearly a Woman of Distinction,”

— Staff, The Evening Tribune

This was our evidence as to why my Mom is a Woman of Distinction:

Every student has a teacher that changes the way they think and introduces them to a new world of opportunities. Linda Walter is one of those teachers in the Hornell City School District.

Linda teaches computer science in the Hornell Intermediate School to students in grades four through six, and does more than teach simple typing skills and research curriculum to deliver an immersive experience that invests her students in their community. Linda guides her students through the development of skills that go beyond the computer and can be applied to other aspects of their education, she introduces elements of art, history, and a deeper understanding of the community around them.

Linda has been instrumental in creating a school community partnership through Positive Behavioral Intervention Planning. Last year the school did a reading challenge that Linda coordinated for the building. She contacted the author of the book and established a working relationship with her. The author decided to visit Hornell and even write a book regarding our year and what she witnessed Linda and the school community do together. Linda created community partners for each of the classrooms to allow interaction with local businesses and the students. Some partners gave incentives for reading, some visited, it was personal to each classroom and partner.

Each semester, Linda’s sixth grade class takes on a video marketing project. The students pose as a marketing team and work collaboratively with local businesses and organizations. Students research what their client does and how their marketing team can help them. At the end of the project there is a formal event where students present what they have learned and the marketing videos. Linda’s students have worked with the Hornell YMCA, Humane Society, Fire Department, Police Station, movie theater and library among others to showcase their vital role in filling community needs.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Linda’s marketing team works with the Hornell Public Library to highlight the sacrifices made by the men and women of the military. Over the past three years, her students have interacted directly with local veterans of WWII, The Korean War and The Vietnam War. Each student researches the war so they know what questions to ask while conducting and recording interviews with veterans. For many of the students, this is the first time they have been in contact with a veteran. For some of the veterans this is the first time they have spoken to students about their experiences. It is amazing to watch the students conduct these interviews, and watch their respect for veterans grow. The finished videos highlight historical aspects of the war, interwoven with the personal stories of those who lived it. This fitting tribute has moved the community, and documented local history that might otherwise have been lost.

Linda’s additional classroom activities include coding and the use of a variety of programs, preparing the children of our community for the confident use of technology in their future.

Beyond her classroom work, Linda also creates video announcements that are shown in the school once a week. Students from grades four through six are invited to sign up for participation in each week’s broadcast. Most of the filming takes place before the school day, and she is never short on volunteers to take part. These are conducted as if the students are newscasters, complete with a green screen. During her free periods, Linda puts together the finished product, integrating the background, cutting together videos, and planning for future weeks.

Outside of Linda’s work at school she is a driving force in the children’s program at the Canisteo Wesleayn Church and the greater Central New York District of the Wesleyan Church. She spent many summers working in the youth programs of the Chambers Wesleyan Camp, through her many years of service she was a camp director and coordinator of four different children’s camps. Linda has the ability to gather talented people and inspire them to step up and meet whatever challenge comes their way. At Chambers Welseyan Camp, Linda created memories for children and their families that will last a lifetime.

Linda’s ability to motivate her students and introduce them to the many opportunities that computers can give them is never ending. She is helping to preserve local history, getting students involved in the community, and providing experiences that will last them a lifetime. Linda is the teacher we all wish we had and is the driving force behind the positive atmosphere at the Hornell Intermediate School. She takes little praise and wants to stay behind the scenes, but she needs to be pushed to the front for recognition of her leadership, dedication, inspiration and kindness. With that being said Linda Walter is a “Woman of Distinction” for all she does to enrich students leaning experiences through life lessons and positive relationships.

Easter.

As a kid Easter was one of my favorite holidays. The flowers are so pretty and the trees are starting to turn green. Most of my favorite hymns are sung at Easter. I love searching for a basket full of chocolate and candy. Easter always makes me feel fresh and renewed in so many ways.

Every little girl knows there are specific requirements when picking out your dress for such an occasion as Easter. It must be a color and pattern that only a little girl can pull off, most likely a bright pastel. Then there is the controversial decision of tulle, it has the downside of being itchy, but the upside of giving your dress a little extra volume. An uncontested necessity is to have a twirly dress. I can not begin to express the importance of this detail.

As an adult Easter is a little different, but the way today went could not have been better. I wore a pastel blue dress complete with twirl capabilities to Church, where some of my favorite hymns were sung. I took notice of the trees budding and beautiful spring flowers. I even got chocolate.

I wish holidays were not so difficult. It was a perfect day, but somehow I am always left wondering what it might have been like if my life had gone down a different path. Sometimes I wonder how long these feelings will last. How many holidays do I need to get through before I stop thinking of him? I guess it is something that will be left for time to decide.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

The best year.

2017 was going to be my year. I literally ran into the New Year and I made him go with me. We started at 12:50 p.m. on December 31, 2016 and finished on January 1, 2017 at 1:15 a.m. It was perfect. I know it is a strange, nontraditional way to welcome the New Year but we were doing something we both enjoyed and we were doing it together.

At the end of January I turned the dreaded 30, but I did not dread it. I was looking forward to everything the year was going to bring. I was marrying my best friend, we had plans and dreams. It was going to be perfect. Little did I know what 2017 was going to turn into, how quickly things could change.

Sometimes I look back on our relationship and I wonder why I didn’t end it sooner. There were so many signs, but I was in love and looking at everything through rose-colored glasses. That is not to say that we had a bad relationship, there were many good things about it. I will miss many parts being with him, and there are many parts I will not.

I have said multiple times that I am grateful if I was going to be in a situation like this that I was older. I think in my early to mid 20’s I would not have been able to pull myself together. I get up in the morning, I work, I run, I shop, I talk. I am not saying that it is easy, it is a daily struggle. I know many difficult days are still to come and will continue for a long time.

From the beginning I thought 2017 would be unforgettable. I was right. It will forever be the year I was drawn closer to family and friends. It will be the year that became stronger. I have a feeling it will be the best year ever.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

I never liked Valentine’s Day anyway.

You know the worst time to break up with someone? 

You guessed it, right before Valentine’s Day. Every other commercial is about something romantic. Every movie has a love twist. Every store is full of hearts, chocolate and candy. Every time it’s like sticking a knife in my chest and twisting.

Honestly Valentine’s Day has never been my favorite. Just another silly holiday to make people buy things, not to mention the fact that almost all the candy is red and full of the dye Red #40 (an allergy of mine). But this one I was looking forward to.

This was supposed to be the best Valentine’s Day, because it was going to be our first together of so many. Instead it will be the first holiday that I am left to think of what was supposed to be.

I was supposed to be on the way to my honeymoon. It was supposed to be a romantic first week of being married. We were going to have adventures and spend time together. There were going to be hundreds of I love you’s and thousands of kisses. Lots of long mornings in bed and late nights together. We would take pictures of our first married adventure and later print them to remember the moments for years to come. We were going to be happy.

I keep telling myself this was not meant to be my happily ever after. There is someone else out there for me, and in order to get to that place I had to go through all of this. I am not the first to have to survive this loss, unfortunately I will not be the last.

Over time the black hole consuming me will grow smaller. Eventually the ache in my heart will subside. The random urges to cry will become further apart until one day they are no more.

For now I will soldier on. Holding on to the good moments and allowing the bad to blow away like dust in the wind.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.