Sometimes gifted writers, choose Maya Angelou, feel prefer a friend because they invite you into their heart and mind v such a sacrament of spirit. That no wonder that millions approximately the civilization are grieving she death. Though we didn’t ‘know’ her, us came right into her civilization through the 31 books, essays, plays and also poetry the she therefore eloquently wrote. I loved introducing her writings v college students.

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In the cacophony of voices of praise for Angelou’s evocative writings and dramatic readings, I have the right to imagine she might shout out, “WAIT, WAIT, WAIT! please remember that a couple of very important civilization came into my life during pivotal moments. Without their kindness and also wisdom, I can never have discovered my voice. Literally!”

Because for almost five long years, tiny Marguerite Johnson (now famous as Maya Angelou), was mute.

A Childhood Experience

As one eight-years old, while life in St. Louis, her mother’s boyfriend raped her and then was murdered. After this life-changing trauma, she ended up being unwilling come talk, except to her brother Bailey.

Her mother then sent out Marguerite and Bailey back to live again through their grandmother, Annie Henderson, in Stamps, Arkansas. A hard-working entrepreneur, she grandmother own the general Store in this deep segregated southern town.

After year of remaining silent, she proficient a heart-healing friendship v Mrs. Bertha Flowers, one aristocratic beautiful african American woman who frequently visited the general Store.

“She handed me my very first life-line,” recalls Maya in her groundbreaking memoir, I recognize Why the Caged Bird Sings.

One summer afternoon, to she surprise, Mrs. Flowers invite Maya to involved her residence where she offered her cold fresh lemonade and also homemade sugar cookies.

But more important, she talked through her around the beauty beauty of the human voice. “I listen you’re doing very great school work, Marguerite, but that it’s every written. The teachers report they have trouble getting you to talk in class,” stated Mrs. Flowers, who loved literature.

“Now no one is walking to do you talk—possibly no one can. Your grandmother states you read a lot. Every possibility you get. It is good, but not an excellent enough. Words mean an ext than what is set down top top paper. It takes the person voice to infuse them v the shades of depth meaning.”

The strength of the person Voice

Then Mrs. Flowers brought out A tale of 2 Cities and opened the page and also read great the opening, “It to be the best of times; it was the worst the times.”

“I heard poetry for the very first time in mine life,” recalls Maya, mesmerized by the sounds. Mrs. Flowers gave her a publication of poems and asked she to memorize one for her. “Next time you pay a visit, I want you to recite.” She ran house that day with publications in hand and also her heart over-flowing. “I was liked and what a difference it made. She had actually made cookie for me and read to me from her favourite book.”

This began a friendship that Maya knows adjusted her life together Mrs. Flowers introduced her to authors such together Charles Dickens, william Shakespeare, and Edgar Allen Poe.

Responding to together kindness, Maya began to speak again.

I love her tribute to Mrs. Flowers because Maya reminds united state that day-to-day acts of creating kindness can offer healing balm. What our civilization would have actually lost if Mrs. Flower failed to act on her concern for a son silenced by pain.

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As families who are living with grief, her story reminds me to never underestimate the heart-healing strength of kindness, both come give and receive indigenous one another. Together Maya states so eloquently, it may also be a ‘life-line.’


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Linda Hunt

Linda Lawrence Hunt, Ph.D. Is a freelance writer, and co-founder that the Krista foundation for global Citizenship, and also former Whitworth university professor whereby she directed your distinctive writing Program. After your 25-year-old married daughter died while volunteering in Bolivia when a bus plunged over a mountain cliff, Linda and her husband Jim began the foundation in her honor. Together it grew, she left her to teach career to direct the foundation that provides a mentoring community and also support for other young adult in your twenties involved in a year or an ext of company in America"s metropolitan centers, in arising nations, or with environmental projects. She has actually traveled throughout America and in Germany and Norway as a keynote speaker after her best-selling book Bold Spirit: Helga Estby"s forgotten Walk across Victorian America was published. Reconstruc ting this true story of a mother and also daughter wade unescorted across America on a $10,000 wager to conserve a family members farm connected over 15 year of research. Eventually she composed her doctoral dissertation top top Helga"s story, with details fascination v what silences family members stories since this was "lost" because that over 100 years.Linda and her husband Jim, also an author and also historian, live in a hillside residence in Spokane, Washington where she finds nurture and also healing v her passion for gardening and friendships.