There are some children you seem to feel a special heart connection with—and Jane Adams was one I did. When Heather lived in Charlottesville in the mid-90s, I met her friends Jeff and Karen and their two little ones, Jane and baby Frances. Jane was 3 or 4 and we seemed to “take to each other” right away. I was probably only with her on four or five occasions—on two or three visits to Charlottesville and twice when they stopped overnight with me en route to visit family in Florida.
This photo was on Easter Sunday morning at Christ Church. Jane had on a new pink dress and beret and when she saw me, she came running! I especially remember when she was at my house how she enjoyed the pumpkin pancakes I made for breakfast. She requested a cup of “pink tea” and I fixed some lukewarm Red Zinger tea. She stirred in a little sugar, and daintily sipped tea from a small china cup.
Later the Adams went to Uganda, where Jeff provided legal assistance to the International Justice Mission. They eventually had six children, and moved back to Virginia where he practices law. Jane is now a young woman—and perhaps a mother herself. I still cherish the memory of her four-year-old self.
Here’s a photo of me at age 11—holding the squirming baby of our church friends, the Becks. The dad John is kneeling in front with their older two children. I spent many hours at their home, reading to the children or fixing their lunch so their mom Velma could do the laundry. On the Sunday of this photo, we’d hosted the Becks, their family from Kimball, TN, and the Rowden family for lunch.
There were also some grown-ups who showed me special attention when I was little. Dorothy and Morgan Bright were business friends of Arley’s. They married in their late 40s and had no children, and they took a liking to me. I had tonsillitis at Christmas when I was about four—and they were so sorry that I couldn’t enjoy the holiday. So later in January, they invited me for a “late Christmas” overnight visit at their home—with decorations and a “special delivery” visit from Santa. They had toys and stocking stuffers just for me! How thoughtful they were—and I never forgot.