I believe that I am made up of small pieces of everybody I've ever met, everywhere I've ever gone, and everything that I've ever experienced. This is my memoir.. Journey To The Past When I was a little girl, I hung on every word my dear neighbor, said. She was a beautiful, caring woman who had quite an influence on my life. Despite the hard things she had been through, she seemed to have a deep enjoyment of life. I can still see her, a tall, strong minded woman with high cheekbones and a pointy nose. Her hair was black, thick and long. I loved to be around her. The minute she started talking, she had my complete attention. I remember sitting on the porch on those cool summer evenings, just listening to my neighbor tell stories about her life and childhood. The old lady, who lived at the corner, as she was referred to, was a very pleasant person with a kind heart. Everyone knew her; it was as if she was a second mother to all the neighborhood children. Her name was Thelma Jackson, a retired nurse of many, many years. Everyday she would sit in an old folding chair on her porch and smoked cigarettes, one right after the other. She was so admirable and enjoyable as well. Ms. Thelma was also very blunt, she said whatever came to her mind regardless who heard it, and regardless who was around or what others may think. She didn’t hold herself back for anything or anyone. When all of the kids were outside playing she would call us to her porch and tell us stories. Stories that were from her childhood and stories from when she used to be a nurse. She used to tell us about when she was a little girl they used to have air raids during World War II. During this time all street lights had to be shut off. Everyone had to pull their shades down and they could not even have one light on. Another story she often told us was when she used to be a nurse and they weren’t allowed to do the patient’s hair but she did anyway and got caught several times. Sad to say Ms. Thelma was addicted to cigarettes. We all hated to be kissed by her, it was like kissing an ashy tray. Ever since i can remember I was Ms. Thalma's favorite.It started ut with 50 cents. As the years progressed she gave me two dollars and that was the highest it ever got to. Although two dollars doesn’t seem like much, I appreciated the fact that I was the only one she gave money to. After years, and years the children started growing up and getting to busy too spend time with her. So there were only a few of us left to spend time with Ms. Thelma. It seemed like everything was perfect until after one day when everything seemed to be going down hill. Usually I saw her everyday or every other day but one week I did not see her at all, until her daughter came around to check on her. She came out with bad news. Ms. Thelma had a stroke and the left side of her body was paralyzed. During the summer of 2001 Ms. Thelma took a turn for the worst. After returning home from being in the hospital for 2 weeks she fell down the concrete steps of her porch and gashed her head and had to get stitches and this wasn’t the worst to come. After running all kinds of tests on her the doctors discovered that she had lung cancer as well as breast cancer. It wasn’t shortly after when she passed away. I took this very hard unlike the others whose lives got to busy for her. Throughout the recent years it was only me and her. The bond between us grew stronger and stronger. I told her things that I would never tell any one else, because we trusted each other or just because I knew she would forget by the time the day was over. Ms Thelma was my refuge. After an argument with my parents or one of my siblings I used to run out to Ms. Thelma. I could talk to her like I would to one of my peers; but she was more experienced and I had no problem pouring out my all and all to her. At times I wish that I had someone like that to talk to now, I wish I could have that one special person I could just pour out my heart to. Yes, I have friends, sisters and brothers but she was different, she was Ms Thelma, my inspiration. When in certain situations, I find myself wishing she was still here. She gave me guidance, advice, she gave me a piece of her mind when needed, and most of all she gave me a part of her life, which is the greatest gift of all. And for that I am truly grateful. There isn’t anything I want more than to just have one more chance to be with Ms Thelma. One more conversation, one more chance to bake cookies with here, one more time to just see her. Every night I used to fall asleep wishing for just one more chance. It seemed as if I was dying to just talk to her one more time. I find myself speaking to myself as I would if she was right there listening and deep inside I know she is. If given one more chance to be with Ms. Thelma I would tell her so much. I have things bottled up just waiting to be released. But for now I just write all my feelings down. Ms. Thelma never saw me enter high school, she will never see off to my prom, and she will never see me pass my driving test. Many things that a teenager would consider huge milestones Ms. Thelma will never get the chance to see me accomplish. I could give anything for her to see how far along I’ve come, academically musically, mentally, physically and socially. When I do things now I do it with her in mind. Ms. Thelma was and still is certainly the source my inspiration, motivation, determination, endurance, diligence, and creativity. Now, all I can do is just thank God for letting her be apart of my life. The time without her has been way too long. But I can’t look at it that way. It’s best to just say that her time with me was so much longer than her time without me. She has been there since day one, since the beginning, since that moment my mother brought me home from the hospital. She often told me that when she held me I would look into dead into her eyes and an eerie feeling would come over her. Now I know what that was, as the saying goes “ A person’s eyes are the gateway to their soul”. It was simply my way of connecting with her and telling her that she was my Angel. She was my Angel indeed, as well as in deed. From this I learned that I must cherish all the important people in my life because they won’t be here always. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us and I realized this the hard way. You could be here today and gone tomorrow. I know now that I shouldn’t take anyone for granted especially my loved ones. I regret not telling Ms. Thelma enough that I loved her. I regret not showing how much I cared. Although I honestly think she knew how much I loved and cared for her; and if she didn’t then she definitely knows now. If I could turn back the hands of time, there are so many things I would have done differently and so many things I would change. But since I can’t turn back the hands of time all I can do is take a journey….A journey to the past.