Friday, January 10, 2014

My Parents: A Love Story

My Parents:  A Love Story
Throughout my entire life I have seen my parents give of themselves for others. My mom was a teacher and gave to her students above and beyond what she taught in the classroom.  The evidence of the job she did can be seen by the sheer numbers of friends on facebook who happen to be former students…approximately three generations of them!
She challenged her school board’s strict rules many times by telling girls about planned parenthood and we had several students come live with us when they simply didn’t know where to turn during crisis.  Dad coached my brother’s baseball team and I remembered the police coming to our door to talk to him.  They had one of his kids in the car and asked if he could stay with us as he’d been taken out of his home for a violent situation.  They told him he had to go into foster care and he said he’d run away and the only place he’d go is to Coach’s house.  It was the way they were.  They did what needed doing.
My sister and I used to get upset when we saw them get taken advantage of time and again due to their inability to say No to anyone or to being taken in by someone with less than honest intentions.  Even though they might have been used, they would take in the next child or help the next person without a thought of their intentions.  It was their way.
Upon selling our business in Michigan they moved to Arizona full time to be near the rest of the family which had also fallen in love with the Valley of the Sun and slowly all migrated down full time ahead of them.  There always seemed to be something going on in the park and the friends they had made them happy.  Dad seemed to love puttering around his place, fixing things up and adding a plant here and a pot there.  He built new steps and then built a bigger porch.  They helped with Activities and played shuffleboard.  I heard a lot about discontented people fighting over any number of things from Who called Bingo best to who would be in charge of keys to the supply closet.
Management came and went.  My parents helped everyone they could with getting utility programs in place for those on fixed incomes, they provided food and relief when the need was shared. And they have taken people to doctor’s appointments, the airport, the grocery stores and more.  They took on any number of committee jobs that others didn’t want to do the work for including AMHO.  They got daily calls for everything from people upset about questionable activity going on in suspected drug houses to snakes in someone’s yard to dealing with people off their mental health medications. Many times at a cost of not being able to do other things as their time was taken up doing things for the community.
They did so without complaint.  They have done many things that they never took credit for and they have paid a price for it.  Dennis and I became involved helping with Saturday breakfast and saw the amount of work that took each week for just the few who showed up to volunteer. We believed it was a great way to help Mom and Dad out and give back to their great community.  We helped at the cookouts each year and those were a success.   Dad called Bingo.  They got to the point where they were so busy they had NO time for themselves and it got to be too much.  So they decided to give up AMHO and since nobody else would take it over they shut it down and sent the leftover money back to the State Board.
They chilled out for half a minute.  Until they started seeing a lot of things going downhill.  People were upset that the community was becoming infused with drug dealers and unsavory characters.  So Dad organized the crime prevention program and started getting security lights for those who couldn’t afford them. Water was always out, roads had huge potholes… They finally talked with corporate after feeling like they were not getting what they needed from the Park.  The park ownership decided that they would make great liaisons to explain what needed to improve so the Improvement Committee was formed.  Those not asked to be on this committee became upset and had their feelings hurt.
My parents set up and went through training for the PNP.  They wanted to keep their community strong and safe.  They wanted to continue the work they had started with the Crime Prevention program already in place.  Some people must have thought that my parents were trying to get attention and praise.  Those people do not know them very well.  They are not about being recognized nor are they full of themselves.  They are prideful but in a good way.  They are proud of being good stewards of the world.
I am not really sure why the individuals at the park who are mad at them now are upset with them.  I cannot explain how some would come to harm and misrepresent others….but I do know that they have wronged my parents and in doing so they have shown their true selves.  To question and try to negate the good that my parents have done for SO MANY people in this park makes me weary. To practically accuse them of illegal activity is horrendous. The innuendo and outright insinuations are preposterous. I have seen the stress this has caused them and I will NOT forgive NOR forget as they probably will.  I am not naïve.  I have learned caution and distrust just by the nature of watching those who seek to harm good people.
I will be watching for those who wish to do harm.  I will keep a tally and I will not forget.  I am not my parents and I know have my own abilities to help them with this issue.  Do not think they are alone.

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