In the days leading up to the school assembly, she told me about this amazing woman she couldn’t wait to see.
She’s so cool, Mara told me. There’s a Disney movie about her life and she couldn’t walk or talk until she was 4 and she used to get in fights when she was a kid and then she went on to be in the Special Olympics and — the coolest part — she lives in York!
What’s her name, I asked? (Even though I had already guessed. After all, there aren’t many Yorkers who can say Disney made a movie about their lives.)
It’s Loretta Clairborne, Mara said. “Do you know who she is?”
Of course, I know who Loretta Claiborne is, and, thanks to efforts of my daughter’s school, now so does she.
And I was kind of jealous because I’ve never seen Loretta speak, although I think I caught sight of her riding her bike on Roosevelt Avenue one afternoon.
From what I know about her though, she’s a true hero, having overcome real challenges — physical and mental — to become someone who rubs elbows with U.S. presidents and breaks records and barriers.
In a world so filled with tarnished role models and teen pop stars turned wrecking ball riders or worse, it’s nice to know that York County has a true hero for our children to look up to.
And, if you’re reading this Loretta, thank you for sharing your story. You certainly touched one more child’s life.
A tired parent’s plea
While checking out at the grocery store recently, I found myself saying, as I usually do, “No. Stop touching that. No. You can’t have that. No. Put that back.” Repeat.
As my children get older, the shopping trips aren’t as bad as they used to be. But it occurred to me that the chore — which usually includes my children tagging along because of my husband’s wacky work schedule — doesn’t have to be as stressful as it is.
There’s no real need to have big cartoon-adorned balls in the middle of the aisles or racks of candy and gum flanking the register lanes.
How nice would it be if the stores had a child-friendly lane? What if in that lane there were chalkboards or wacky mirrors or something to keep them entertained instead of tempted? Is it really worth it, Grocery Store Company, to put all that junk food right there at kid-eye level? Do you really make that much money from impulse buys made by tired parents hoping to quell their screaming toddlers?
Sure, I know, it’s my job to make sure my kids know not to touch and not to throw tantrums and to mind their manners and to stand quietly, patiently while I check out.
But what if they didn’t have to resist those temptations? What if we all looked forward to heading to the register instead of dreading it?
It’s just a thought.
And, while I’m at it, I wanted to make another plea to any business that has a public restroom: Please, pretty please with sugar on top, clean them. Make it someone’s responsibility to make sure there’s toilet paper and that the commodes are at least a little clean.
I’m sure that all the parents who hold small children over those public toilets would agree.
Kara Eberle is the day metro editor at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. She lives with her two children, husband and kitty in Dover Township.