The little girl ran to the entrance to the schoolyard. She was the first to notice a strange little girl coming through the gate. It was a girl who looked her age that she had never seen before. No one else seemed to notice her.
She learned the girl’s name was Lorraine and was in the same class. How wonderful it would be to have this new friend, she thought to herself. Soon Cara was introducing her Lorraine to other classmates who were engrossed in play.
Cara led Lorraine into the big red brick building that served as ST Ann’s Parochial School as the first bell of the school day began to ring. They were in the first grade. What a great place to begin a new friendship! They would have lots of years to get to know each other and to grow up together.
After school, Cara walked home with a couple of friends who lived on the same street. Lorraine’s father came to pick her up.
It didn’t take long for Cara to get home. Her house was only 3 blocks from the school. And just as she got to her house she saw Lorraine and her dad pulling up across the street at the corner house. What a surprise that her new classmate lived right across the street! The two girls became great friends especially living so close to each other.
Sometimes Lorraine’s father would take them to school and sometimes they would walk with other kids on the block who also went to ST Ann’s.
Lorraine’s parents opened a small store on the corner. The front of their home was actually built as a storefront and had a huge picture window to display many of the items in the store. The store had been vacant for as long as Cara could remember. She was only 6 years old and she had lived in her house on Patterson Street since she was just a little baby!
One day, one of the girls in the neighborhood had just come home from having her hair permed at her mom’s beauty shop. To this day it’s difficult for Cara to remember just whose idea it was to pick sticky burr’s from the bushes that grew on the hill and to re-perm the girl’s hair. Needless to say, it was a disaster as the burr’s had to be cut out ruining her new perm.
Cara was often the first one to make a new friend or to come up with a great idea for a game. Leadership begins very early in life. And leaders are so often the targets of satan’s diabolical schemes.
Cara’s family moved before the school year was out. And though she finished her first year at ST Ann’s and had extended her friendship to new students, when she began second grade at her new school, she was not welcomed. The students as ST Mary’s had already formed their friendships, and the second grade students made it quite clear that Cara did not belong there. She was able to develop some friendships with some of the first graders and one or two of the older girls, but even they already had established their clicks at that tender age. It would not be until the fifth grade that Cara finally broke through their barriers and was welcomed into the “class” as one of them.
During summer vacations there were neighborhood kids from the public school and from ST Cyril and Methodious schools to play with. And of course they had a great time during the summers. Yet a lot of time was spent in the school yard among children who snubbed her for three to four years during recess and before school.
Once Cara graduated and moved to another little town with her grandmother, she again found that it was easy for her to reach out to those who were ridiculed and made fun of. One evening at the Bear Mountain Inn, a local bar (this was before Cara came to Christ) where they had live bands, Cara danced with a young man who was affected by CP - Cerebral Palsy – that others were making fun of and talking about. Once she danced with him, some of the other young people seemed to also take him under their wing and befriend him. Leadership begins early in life and presents everyone the opportunity to practice – being a leader in some way or other.
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