The Sea Drifters
Today I spent a lot of time thinking. My thoughts were
about you, for the most part. Today we set sail to raise money for
the ACS with the sale of the Sea Drifters. I thought about how we
will be out every night in June working hard to calm the turbulent seas
in the life of cancer patients a dollar at a time. What a great
cause, yet no amount of money can ever bring back the lost treasures we
have already lost in the shipwreck caused by cancer. I know of a
great treasure now lost at sea due to cancer, as told in the story of
THE SEA DRIFTERS!
She was a remarkable lady in her day, a mom and special education
teacher when special education was still experimental. It was the
start of a new school year when she spotted him for the first time.
He was mean, angry and hateful as he stormed down the hallway showing
his disregard for everyone in his path. She knew by his actions
that he must belong in her class, so she asked him his name. He
paused long enough to make a rude hand gesture and spew out a few words
of hate then went on his way. Most teachers would have thanked God
that he was not in her class and left well enough alone. Not Mrs.
Trenholme, she found out his name and fought to have him placed in her
He had an unhappy home life and was feared by most teachers.
The violent storms in his every day life had made him cold and hard.
His life was like a SEA URCHIN being battered against a rocky shore line
only existing till the rough waves smashed him to his death. Yet Mrs.
Trenholme could see hope for him if she could show him his potential.
Many months passed as she kept reaching out to rescue him. Just as
she thought she could reach him, a swift wave would wash him back out to
sea and out of her reach. A few times she could feel her fingers
brush against his course exterior just as he was whisked away.
One day it happened! She had fought long enough to
capture the SEA URCHIN and earn his respect. He had 14 years of
hate and anger to overcome, so she knew it was just a start. Mrs.
Trenholme stuck with him even when he would slip back into his old ways.
He went from calling her " Chicky Baby" in a rude way to a
loving "Chicky" . She helped him get his first job and drove
him to her family dentist twice a week to repair the damages of years of
neglect. Over time he grew to love her like no other. She set high
goals and standards for him and he always met the challenge!
The time came when all her hard work made it impossible for
him to live with his family, who had not changed. He chose to quit
school and join the navy. This broke Chicky's heart! She knew that he
needed to finish school, yet; he needed to move on as well. Chicky gave
him her blessings and hoped that he would keep in touch.
The navy turned out to be a good choice for him as he became
independent. Every month near the full of the moon he would
call Chicky at home and they would talk for hours. They found
great comfort in knowing that what ever part of the world he was in they
were connected by the ocean. He would always think of her as he
touched the cold waters. Was this a drop of water that she had
once touched? Among the many gifts he sent her was a huge
STARFISH that she loved.
When his enlistment ended, the navy left him many miles away
from her. Yet he never stopped calling her. He also never moved
back home as he felt that nothing but pain awaited him. It came as
no surprise to her when he fell in love with a special education teacher
for a life partner. She asked them to come up for a visit that
summer. He was overjoyed at the invitation, and they went.
She tried several times to tell him that she was dying from
cancer but couldn't. His life had been hell enough. The last night of
the visit she sat alone with his partner. She told of her sickness and
asked for a promise from teacher to teacher that her dying wish would be
fulfilled. She wished that after her passing, her beloved student would
finish high school and go to college one day. It was agreed. She was
happy to see that he had someone to love him when she was gone. She told
the many stories of what they went through to get to that point in life.
All the tears and all the joys. Chicky wanted the news of her poor
health told when he was home.
The next 3 months the joy filled phone calls went on as
always. On the 4th month the call was cut short, as a sharp pain sent
Chicky to the hospital. He called a few times the next few days and got
no answer. Figuring that Chicky was enjoying her early retirement, he
made plans to call
the next month.
A turbulent time was ahead as cancer had claimed another
victim the night of the last call. Chicky was gone forever and no
one in her family knew how to reach her student. With great pain he
lives on and fulfilled Chickey's wishes.
How could cancer kill a woman that made helping troubled
children her life? She turned a monster full of hate into a loving and
caring person, yet never lived to see him at his best. Cancer kills some
and spares some, we just never know who!
The SEA URCHIN reclaimed the STARFISH one day and tossed it
back out to sea. Now it has washed ashore once more with a chance to
help others with cancer. Keep in mind the goodness of Mrs.
Trenholme and the tragic loss this month as you hold your parties. Sell
the Sea Drifters in June not for the money you will make, but for the
people you will be helping that are about to enter the turbulent waters
of living with cancer. Maybe we will raise the dollar that
finds the key to keeping our treasures with us so that no others will be
lost. We can never bring back what we have lost, however; with our
memories of them and your hard work, we can calm the rough seas!
God bless you all for your hard work, Hank
This page last
updated July 06, 2005