Home > Uncategorized > To Mary Jo…

To Mary Jo…

There are people in your life that are only in it for a little while, but stay in your heart forever. Growing up, there was a family I have to say I was totally envious of. There were four kids and two parents. As long as I could remember, I wanted more than one sibling… It just seemed like more fun. Their mom Mary Jo was ever-present at events, was a coach and treated all the kids like they were her own. I remember being so excited to make “spider cookies” and just loved seeing her around school.

Every Christmas, Mary Jo put together the Nativity play for our church. There were dozens of kids and it always seemed without fail, we were whipped into shape  for church and had fun. In the fourth grade, she made my dream come true!… she gave me the part of Mary and I felt so special; like someone saw something in me that was beautiful. I never forgot that time. I’m pretty sure I was the oldest kid to participate four years later as an 8th grader, but I loved it. She made me feel like Church could be an experience of growth and I truly felt closer to God through her.

When I was in the 5th or 6th grade, I decided to play volleyball. I do not claim to have an athletic bone in my body and yet Mary Jo, our coach, brought the best out of me and my teammates. She made those volleyball years some of my best at St. Jerome. She didn’t know it, but she instilled some self-confidence in me I never would have had without her help.

I was so jealous of the kids who got to have her as a teacher. I think everyone in my class probably was. She did the COOLEST things with her 5th graders! As a teacher, years later I had one of Mary Jo’s 5th graders in my class and I remember actually stopping class to ask about her as a teacher, exclaiming my admiration for her. My student said hands-down, Mary Jo was the best thing about St. Jerome (along with the equally loved Mrs. Payne). I couldn’t have agreed more.

About ten years ago Mary Jo and her family lost Jim, their  husband and father. The strength she showed and her ability to push through hard times makes her not just a great person but heroic. That along with her own health issues, being a teacher, and most of all being a mother makes her brave, courageous and a role model for all of us in how to live through life and not let the pain or hardships take over.

Thank you Mary Jo for being an influence in my life. I am one voice among hundreds of kids, adults and members of the church you have touched. God bless you and your family. If you have a story you want to share, please do!

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