Giving Back from What I was Given, by Paula Rose Michelson

Since it is exactly one month shy of one year from the date my dear friend and author Marlayne Grion helped me get started, I wanted to begin today’s posting by mentioning that over this year, I’ve shared stories, you have told me what books mattered to you and why, and you have read some of the research that birthed the Casa Saga. Whew! Looking back I see what an amazing year it’s been, and just how much your participation has added to the joy of going from writer to published author!

Usually when one looks back after achieving what some thought could never have been done without them, as in a publisher friend of mine said, “You need to learn how to write.” Then offered me a sort of verbal contract, hoping, I assume, that her comment would let her get control of the Casa Saga from A to Z. However, as much as you might wish to read the details of that drama, my posting today hinges on a long over due thank you and a retired teacher that I meet while participating in a weekend event at the church Marlayne attends. 

Unlike Snoopy’s stories or Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing Book 1, which you can now order at, this story is personal, autobiographical in nature. If you really want to understand all I’m sharing please revisit “My Faulty Education and Writing the Casa Series,” posting or visit Http://, and read “‘From Why Johnny Can’t Read’ to See Paula Write,” which you’ll find under the heading “Meet The Author.” Good! Now I’m finally able to being!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Giving Back from What I was Given~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was an odd set of circumstances that caused a rather tomboyish me to end up spending four days a week with a retired school teacher who lived in a mobile home park. Her place was sort of a studio type. From the outside this never been married teachers place looked like the embodiment of the Long Rangers silver bullet glistening in the sun. On the inside the overly organized cramped quarters felt like a haven to me until the summer heat escalated beyond what most could endure by lunchtime. Yet there the two of us meet four days a week for four hours. By end of each day, we were both sweating profusely. However, discomfort did not stop her from demanding that I learn everything she could pour into me while she sprayed water onto her arms and placed moist clothes on her neck. And, I tried not to look at the good climbing tree that I walk by each time she opened the screen door and invited me in.

That was the summer when I discovered how little our system pays those who they appoint to teach for Miss. (I’ve forgotten her name) had neither a fan nor a trailer with cross ventilation. As the hours advanced, so did the heat, and I am sorry to admit that I never thought about Miss. Teacher except to wonder how she could stand to live there. I don’t even remember what our last day together was like. But I do know that what she gave me that summer made it possible for me to pass a proficiency test so that I could matriculate to the fourth grade. Now I don’t want you to think I wasn’t paying attention when I attended kindergarten through the third grade, because I was! But because my nearsighted condition went undisguised it was understandable why Paula, like Jonny couldn’t read.

By now you’re probably scratching your head and wondering why at 64 this matters to me, so I’ll tell you. During the weekend I spent at Marlayne’s church, I met a retired teacher named Carol. She was very nice. In many ways she reminded me of Miss. Teacher, and the memory of that lady tugged at my heart. I noticed that Carol seemed bored, and discovered that she was because there was a lull in the foot traffic. Having nothing to offer her but my book, I discovered that she liked romantic historic fiction, and handed her a novel.

“What’s this for?” she asked.

“If you’d like to read my book, I’d love to hear what you think.”

“Okay.” She began to read. When it was time to leave she walked over, book in one hand, purse in the other. “I’d like to buy your book.”

“I didn’t give it to you to read so you would feel that you had to buy it.”

She smiled. “I know that! But I want to buy your book.”

I smiled. It was as if Miss. Teacher was standing in front to me. I told Carol about her and asked if I could gift the book to her in memory of the woman who helped me, whose name I did not remember, and who would in all probability be deceased since she would be well over 100 by now. Carol agreed. I left feeling all warm and cozy inside, as if in doing this I had done something my mother taught me which was to giving back from what I was given.

I believe that Carol’s mother must have taught her the same thing because the following morning she shared that she loved the novel, and asked when the next one in the Saga would be published. When I shared that many readers had already purchased that book, she opened her check book. “How much?” she asked as she began to write a check.

“I didn’t give you the book to make you feel that you had to buy one.” I reminded her.

“I know.” She smiled and filled in the sum while I inscribed the first novel for her. She read the inscription. “How, do I say thank you, for this?” she asked with tears in her eyes.

“By letting me give to you what Miss. Teacher gave to me. A sense that I was worth whatever she could impart.” She smiled once more, and I smiled back. And it seemed to  me that both of us had tears in our eyes. 
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