Monday, October 6, 2014


I've been painting my kitchen door, and the trim around the doorways and window.  At one point I suddenly I heard a voice in my head, "Susan! don't scrub with your paintbrush!"   It was Miss Audrey Topila, my kindergarten teacher at Birchview Elementary School, 1959.  Looking back on childhood, I can recall many early instructions, voices of my parents to me, their young child.  Some have stuck with me, like my mother's voice in my head telling me to "say thank you" and "be a gracious receiver." Many of us can recall our parents voices in our head, that told us to do the basic things, "brush your teeth," "wash your feet,"  or "go to sleep". I've noticed that these voices from childhood pop into my head when I hear a young parent saying the very same thing.

In 1963, I was in fourth grade at the Grammar School, with Mrs. Schuetze as my homeroom teacher. The one and only voice I recall when I hear mention of that year is "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."  Though the voice of President John F. Kennedy was silenced that year, I am thankful that I can hear his voice in my head and recall when he was our president. 

Other adults that have influenced my life in one way or another have their own voices in my head. There's the penmanship teacher from third grade, Mrs. Joan Luoma, "around, around, around," and "up and down, up and down," as she taught us to practice the strokes for Palmer Method handwriting.  To this day, some 50+ years later, I still think of Palmer Method writing when I see her.  I also remember the voice in my head of Mr. Victor DePaoli, my seventh grade math teacher. He used to sing a phrase, "How are things in Glocamora," when he thought you were day dreaming.  I'm still not very good at math, but I have never forgotten that tune!

Perhaps most vivid to me is the voice in my head of my dad, my father.  He passed away a bit over four years ago, and I am thinking of him more often than not.  The voice in my head of my father is telling me that if I don't learn to tie my shoes, I'll be 40 years old and he'll still have to do it for me!  I think of this when I see my own grandchildren struggling to learn.  The funny thing is, that at 40 years old, I did in fact require someone to help tie my shoes as I had a cast on one leg, and couldn't quite maneuvre the tying.

While learning to recite table grace and prayers as a child, I can hear the voices of my parents, saying grace, every day.  When I am reciting the Lord's Prayer in church or with others, my father's voice in my head is as clear as it once was while worshiping side by side.  When the doxology or "How Great Thou Art," is sung, the voice in my head is my father's, harmonizing, as I recall it through my own tears of remembrance.

When I look for my keys in my purse, I hear the voice in my head of my Godmother, "They're heavy, they sink to the bottom."

Once I asked my grandmother, "What's it like to get old?"  She replied, that in her head, she was still the same girl she's always been, but was an older woman on the outside, who couldn't seem to do what she once could.  As I grow older, I often hear her voice in my head, telling me what its' like to get old.

Now that I am working towards a daily exercise program for home, my personal trainer asked me, "What will you do when I am not there to coach you?"  I promptly replied, "I'll hear your voice in my head, with great enthusiasm, "You can do it! You can do it! You can do it! Go, Susan!" And that cheering voice is coaching me on, every day.

So now you know - I hear many voices in my head on a regular basis.  They are the instructing, teaching, caring, loving voices that were there from the start, the voices that have helped mold me into who I am.  I hope that my instructing, teaching, caring, loving voice is heard in someone else's head.

Who's voices do you hear in your head?

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