An envelope arrived in the mail a few weeks ago.
A small certificate of completion, but it represents a completely unexpected detour in my life.
On behalf of Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resource Coalition(ASPARC), I will be working with several friends to present the QPR training in a few cities in Alabama over the next few months.
QPR training stands for Question/Persuade/Refer which is basically CPR for mental health.
I signed up to travel to:
And my beloved Monroeville.
I would say it was home to Aunt Genevieve, but her home in her heart was always Blocton.
Monroeville was, however, her mailing address. Summer visits to stay with her included many yard sales and a few trips to the downtown dollar store. Across the street, she would point out the courthouse to me.
Much like Scout, I didn’t fully understand.
As an adult now, when I think of a return to South Alabama, I remember her encouraging me to watch “To Kill a Mockingbird”.
I know every character in the book, but I also lived with them in real life. Harper Lee brought every small town in Alabama to the stage of Hollywood.
Time for change through the innocence of a child.
I wish I could do the same thing for suicide prevention. I happen to know and love a few people who are the Boo Radley type, or maybe I should say they are mockingbirds.
I will be practicing next week in Woodstock. Feel free to reach out anytime and join me. I would love the input.
I have to admit that I worry that I am not a very good listener, even though I come from a long line of eavesdropping.
Aunt Genevieve said people loved to confide in my Grandmother. One young couple sat at the kitchen table and told her quietly that they were running away to get married.
Aunt Genevieve ran faster than they did apparently, because after she listened she went straight outside to tell their secret.
When she “let the cat out of the bag”, Grandmother tore her tail tore up. Still makes me laugh. It was so Genevieve.
I had a sweet request recently for more Genevieve stories. I smile because her stories were so wonderful. They were not prideful stories of how wonderful I was way back when…
They were stories of mistakes and regrets. But somehow when her heartache and mischief mixed together, they were soon followed with belly laughs and smiles that made your cheeks sore.
Yes, we were left wanting just a little more. Makes me so thankful for my memories.
There was no need for ancestry. com back then, we only had to place a phone call to Genevieve. You not only found out how they were related, you got a side note of scandal. “His grandmother Minnie and your grandmother Laura were sisters and one time, he broke both his arms when he…” (Names and details have been changed to protect the guilty, haha.)
I missed her last phone call. I am sure I avoided it due to the length of time her phone calls generally took.
I would love one long call today to tell her that I met Mary Badham a.k.a. “Scout”.
I can hear her say, “Ooh Suzette” right now.
I would also love to share my latest bright ideas and adventures with the former Scout of Smith Hill. I know she would appreciate and laugh.
I am very hopeful that after the presentation, I can swing by the Monroeville courthouse. I don’t think I could leave Monroeville without a glimpse of it and then back across the street.
In my mind, I can still see a woman in a sleeveless turtleneck pointing out to a young girl how you stand up and do the right thing even when it is not easy.
Even if you have to do it alone.
Because if you don’t,
Well, it’s kinda like it’s a sin to Kill a Mockingbird…