Yes, Dreams really do come true.
My Home Page features a photo of the 819 Steam Engine. This is the Steam Engine that for too-many years, sat abandoned in Pine Bluff's Oakland Park.....where it was vandalized, stripped of its dignity, put-out-to-pasture and forgotten, like a once-proud race horse. To me....it represented my Father, my Grandmother, and my Brother. It signified all the years they worked for the Cotton Belt Railroad in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
The Steam Engine stood for so much goodness in my life-----including the gifts I received from the Cotton Belt when I was Miss Arkansas. One gift was a beautiful Lady Hamilton wrist-watch (money donated by all the employees). The other gifts were "on loan" from railroad executives and consisted of two private cars----one to escort me to the Miss America Pageant-----the other to return me home-----when the Pageant ended.
Most of all....the 819 Steam Engine was a monument to my hometown of Pine Bluff....and to the Railroad that provided the town's citizens with steady employment, medical insurance, and family security.
YES, I AM THE PERSON responsible for getting the 819 out of the Park and to its original home in the Cotton Belt Shops....for restoration. For years, many talked about the need to rescue the engine from the park but no one did anything until the day I visited the City Park, recognized the desperate need, and took action! I immediately took steps to activate my plan, contact the right people, and the dream became a reality. I “Put The Steam of The 819, Back in Pine Bluff”. This is a fact....not a fantasy or a boast...simply, The Truth.
WHY DOES IT MATTER? Because I take pride in knowing that my life and my efforts stood for something; that during my lifetime, I consistently worked to help others and to make dreams come true, not only for me---but for those who mattered----like my father.
Shortly after the 819 made its successful journey "back home" ....the Southern Pacific Railroad---by way of their PR Director, Jim Johnson---handed me the ORIGINAL (1937) BLUE PRINTS FOR THE 819 STEAM ENGINE.
Jim Johnson also wrote a letter to the editor of my hometown paper, which stated, officially: "Sally Miller, alone, was responsible for rescuing the 819 from Oakland Park". That letter means the world to me; documentation is vital to my life, to my writing. It’s not about praise, or ego, or self-importance....it's about THE TRUTH.
"Riding on a train, moving down the track, listening to the wheels going clickedy-clickedy-clack......and the whistle….. I love to hear the whistle!
The way he's leaning on the horn, I know the Engineer loves the whistle too!"
In my opinion, if you never slept on a waterbed…you never missed anything. Just writing about the sound of wetness, the endless motion, the uneasy-unsteadiness….makes me seasick.
Some people thought waterbeds were “sexy” but I thought of them as worthless, expensive toys. Who wants a bed that must be filled by dragging a garden hose through the house?!?!? Who wants to live with the fear that just one little puncture and the waterbed floods your entire house?!?!?
Back-in-the-day, some people were so obsessed with life on a waterbed… they surrounded themselves with mirrors…mirrors on the ceiling, mirrors on the walls, even mirrors on the bed’s headboard. Apparently, some enjoyed watching themselves and their playmates---in action. These narcissists gave new meaning to the expression: "Rock and Roll".
Like Fashion, Home Decorating styles change from year to year unless, like me, you buy a house--still locked-- in the seventies. Yes, I bought a seventies house that was never upgraded, remodeled, or “brought” into the present generation.
After looking-- both in person and online--at more than 800 houses in my price range, I chose my current house because of its traditional layout, its relatively good condition, and its many possibilities. I have much work to do but everything takes time and money....so I'm inching along with baby steps; I'm tackling my project slowly, just a little at a time.
At first glance, I was troubled by certain things about the house that defied description….like the very large rectangular-shaped mirror bolted to a principal wall in the guest bedroom. Or, the master bedroom's mirrored closet doors that watched me dress/undress or stared at me each time I turned on my right side, in bed.
The first time I entered the house, I turned to walk down the hall and almost collided with another person. Actually, it was me….seeing myself in a wall of mirrors. I must admit…I still feel somewhat shocked to see myself at every turn.
I never met or heard about the woman who sold me her house. Realtors have no reason to share anything other than financial information or facts about the home’s condition. But, little by little, I heard pieces of this and that and, in a short time, have been able to fit many of the puzzle pieces together.
Both the plumber and electrician volunteered that the woman had a second husband and….the couple didn’t share the same bedroom. Instead, the new husband brought his waterbed into the second marriage and parked it in the guest bedroom. To make sure they had an equal-opportunity lifestyle….he had a large rectangular mirror placed long-wise along the wall behind the waterbed for “fun and games” and she had mirrored closet doors installed on one wall of her bedroom for “giggles and grins.”
I’m not sure if the couple sometimes met in the hall to experience the “full-length” effect but…it sounds like a real possibility. I do know he was very tall (more than six feet, six inches) and she was very short (like 4 feet, 9 inches}.
I've always heard that opposites attract. Just maybe, the two-together, were very "inventive". So much so...their actions were worth-watching.
If only walls, ceilings, and mirrors could talk.
Two years ago today, April 17, 2016 at 2:55pm:
"I just learned that my enemies have created a website called: sallymillerlies.com."
At the time, I was almost finished writing my book and had chosen as the book's subtitle: Let No Deed Go Unpublished. My Book was based on the truth so I chose to go public with this devastating information. I made the decision to take-a-stand against those who were determined to destroy my reputation, my integrity, and my writing:
"I strongly suspect that my ex-family and my two daughters have created this shameful, hurtful, and inaccurate display of bad taste. They may have partnered with Hillary....I don't put anything past them.
I recognize the main players and they are shameless.
IF you believe I lie; IF you support Hillary; IF you believe my ex’s family….ex nieces/nephews, stepmother (the second wife), IF you believe my daughters..... PLEASE do both of us a favor and unfriend me. I do not lie about myself, others, or any part of my life.
Three months ago, the "hairdresser" ( Eddie) for stepmother and my youngest daughter, Rosemond, sent me a text, saying....."Your book is full of lies, distortions, attacks, and is pure fiction." This pompous ass has never had access to me or… my manuscript. This cult of haters is planning to discredit me and MY BOOK. The evidence indicates that my daughters, the ex-family, and gay-boy-hairdresser…..have joined forces with Hillary... to be a powerful force against me.
Disappointed but not surprised, I experienced this same UGLINESS in 1983, when I ran for Mayor of my hometown. These are the same people who never raised one finger to improve the conditions of Pine Bluff or help others yet....they spent time and money slandering my name, my reputation. So....unfriend me NOW, if you stand with my enemies."
Later , the evening of April 17, 2016 at 8:35pm, a tech friend was able to find this
valuable information. The web address name for sallymillerlies.com was registered 4-1-2016 to: PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC
12808 Gran Bay Pkwy West, Jacksonville FL 32258 USA
This is the same company that owns the registration for Hillary Clinton's email server!
In January, one year later, I received a phone call from a longtime friend, someone I hadn’t seen or talked with in several years. After reading my book, he felt compelled to tell me about a very troubling incident he’d experienced in 2016, during the presidential race . Seems my daughter, Rosemond, had contacted him, urging him to visit the website: sallymillerlies.com to post ugly, hateful remarks about me. He was horrified at her request. Instead, he went to the website and verbally shamed those who took delight in writing lies about me.
The website didn’t last more than a few months. Obviously it died for lack of visitors and for lack of content. But I know from experience that Evil never dies.
So, I stay armed and ready for the next attack.
G.G. Cookie, my oldest and dearest kitty-baby…..is dead. My heart is broken and I can’t stop the tears. Cookie, Candy, Sugar Babe, and Cubby are my life-- my family.
Now, each one of us--–in our own way---is mourning the loss of one of our own. Cookie loved us all but had the strongest bond with Big Dog-Cubby. She followed him through the house, ate beside him, slept next to him, and….Cubby, very patiently, loved Cookie back. Both yesterday and today, Candy and Sugar Babe sensed something was wrong as they wandered the house… looking in closets, under beds, checking Cookie’s favorite hangouts.
Two nights ago, after taking Cubby outside for a final walk, Cookie rushed past me before I could close the door. After several attempts to catch him in the dark, I was forced to go in the house. For the next 3 or 4 hours, I kept opening the front door and back door, calling for him, blinking the outside lights, waiting for him to show his face but--- I never saw him again.
Yesterday, Friday 13th, I printed flyers with Cookie’s picture, and distributed them. I also asked a neighbor on one side of me, working in his yard, if he’d keep a lookout for Cookie. As I tried to give him my phone number, he turned and walked away… without a word. I’d already been told that my “chaplain” neighbor wasn’t friendly, and not to be surprised if he never introduced himself.
One helpful neighbor mentioned the HSV Animal Welfare League and told me to call them. My call was returned by a very sympathetic, concerned-sounding woman who urged me to send Cookie’s photo so she could issue a “Lily” Alert for my missing cat. On and on, throughout the day, I searched for Cookie.
I walked the neighborhood, looking for Cookie, calling Cookie’s name, and I carefully studied the Creek that runs directly behind my property. Because the Creek lies at the bottom of two steep embankments covered with trees, knee-deep leaves, and brush, I can only view it from the top at a safe distance.
I spent yesterday searching for Cookie, thinking of ways to find Cookie. Something inside told me I must find Cookie before the impending rain, the flooding, the blackness, and the frightening sounds of thunder. When it was almost dark, Cubby and I got back in the car to make another search of the area, even stopping to look at an abandoned house whose backyard overlooks the creek. We looked on the empty house’s front porch, its deck, and its carport but….we didn’t find Cookie.
It stormed most of the night and the storm’s violent sounds were agonizing to my ears and my heart. All I could think about was Cookie, my baby, all alone and afraid. Nothing hurts more than the pain of helplessness.
First thing this morning, I checked the front porch, the back door, and the deck. I prayed that Cookie had wandered on to someone’s porch and been taken inside. Cookie was so loving and so friendly, so completely irresistible…. I tried to stay hopeful.
My printer was low on ink so I began dressing. I needed to buy the necessary supplies, then start distributing flyers and again.... look for Cookie.
Opening the blinds in my bedroom, I was thankful to see the Sun waking up. Looking at the creek’s fast-moving water, now at a much-higher level than yesterday, my eyes followed the water past my property, then past my neighbor’s property and then…..I saw him. Lying on his side with one paw extended, like he was reaching out, was my Cookie. He appeared to be on a flat rock with clear water rushing over him. I screamed. I panicked. Because of the steep embankment, I couldn’t reach him, pull him out of the water, hold him close.
The day before, a woman had knocked on my door, introduced herself as Laura, a teacher, and said to call her if I needed help. She also introduced her husband, Gary, a policeman for Hot Springs Village and handed me his card.
I grabbed Gary’s card and called the police. The woman who answered said she would send an officer to my house shortly. Susan was the name of the officer who so-patiently listened as I cried about Cookie. Susan quietly followed me to the bedroom to look out the same window I’d looked through earlier…. to experience the reason for my grief. Within minutes, Susan rescued Cookie from the water, placed him in a fresh, dry box, and put him in my car.
Bless the police for being concerned about my feelings. After consulting me about my wishes for Cookie, they alerted a nearby animal hospital of my situation. When I arrived, the hospital attendants respectfully removed Cookie from my car, and moved quickly to process my credit card information.
Cookie’s ashes will lie in a little red, wooden box beside the bed…. next to me, next to Cubby, and close to the other two cats.
Someday, each of us will be ashes but….that will never separate us. LOVE is LOVE regardless of age, time, form, or matter. LOVE brought all of us together and nothing can keep us apart.
Thank You, God, for sharing Cookie with me for more than nine years. Please hold him in your arms…keep him close….and keep loving him.
Remind Cookie that Cubby, Candy, Sugar Babe and I….will never stop missing him and loving him.....always. Someday, we'll all be together again.
The first time I read this story, I cried. I've saved it for years... as a reminder: Teaching should come from the heart, not from the textbook.
Some people believe this is a true story; others say it's fiction. As a long-time believer that life is often like a Fairy Tale...I'll let you make up your own mind.
"As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around."
His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well- liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."
His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class."
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to."
After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.
The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."