Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our Teacher

Some people come into your life for only a brief period and yet have a profound impact.
I met Glenn last year when we were organizing our local.  Glenn is her middle name, she's really Elizabeth Glenn.  She came from Texas, a former teacher and an organizer for AFT national.

She and I spent many hours driving the highways and back roads of eastern Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, visiting and having conversations with nurses from throughout the hospital.

I learned a lot about the concerns of nurses in other departments and about how to have such conversations.
Whenever we left a home, Glenn would gently teach.  She would always use positive reinforcement, such as pointing out how my speaking up or remaining silent at a particular time helped the conversation.  She could have pointed out what I did wrong, but she didn't, she reinforced the positive, and I think I improved with time.

We had some great conversations, with nurses and with each other, and we had some great times.
Like the time we got stuck in the snow in a driveway in Sterling.  It was Glenn's first time driving in snow.  We visited an old mill in Rhode Island that sold antiques to call on one nurse.  We discovered small, quaint eateries across eastern Connecticut.  I explained the history and folklore of an area I have called home my whole life and in doing so realize how special it is.
She marvelled at the plentiful trees, the stone walls, and the fact that one town could have so many small villages with such unique names.

At some of our team meetings she would pull out the white board and give us an organizing lesson.

To two committee members she is known as Elizabeth, because they first met her as a patient, an experience Glenn holds close to her heart.

Glenn is back in Texas now, working for a local AFT affiliate, traveling much less.  It's better for her and her husband, and better for Texas.

She was in our lives for only a brief time, but she remains forever in our hearts.

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