Birthday Women–Pure Platinum


For Stella and Ella

Two very special women are celebrating their birthdays. My world is better for knowing both of them. I’m quite sure others who know them feel the same. While I can’t be with them today, I’m with them in my thoughts and I’m remembering the times I’d see them regularly.

Stella came into my life first. My mother taught her children. Her family attended the same church my family did. She taught at the college my brother attended and she was one of his professors. When I started back to college part time, I would nod at her and she’d nod at me. After all, we did see each other in church. She knew who I was. I knew who she was.

Then my life fell apart. My husband and I separated after 10 years of marriage; I was basically single parenting three young boys and trying to support them on a work/study job which only allowed me to work ten hours per week. Just prior to this, Stella was promoted at the college and became the head of her division. She heard I needed a job or I’d likely have to drop out of school. Now if my personal life was a mess, my academic life wasn’t. I was doing very well, exceeding in all my classes.

Ella--tiny and terrific

Well, one day just as I got home from picking up my sons from school the phone rang. The caller was Stella’s assistant. She indicated Stella suggested she talk to me as she needed some help in the office. She would like to interview me for some work in the office. Could we establish a time to discuss what she wanted.

That assistant was Ella, the other birthday woman today.

Ella offered me the job. While I worked in that office under her direction, Ella taught me so much. I have used that knowledge in so many ways with every task and in every position I have held since then. She was a mentor, a friend, a woman to admire. I owe Ella. And she holds a very special place in my heart. Working full time around my classes and on the same campus made my life much easier.

While taking classes, I was able to take several from Stella. I not only learned grammar, writing skills, and literature from her, I watched and learned how she handled her classes, interacted with her students, displayed her deep love of her subject in such a way she pulled her students into her world and learning became a powerful adventure.

She became professor, mentor, friend. But I never called her Stella until I started teaching and she offered me a part time position teaching writing. But I still found it difficult not to call her by her title. She’s that inspirational.

When I left the college to pursue graduate work in another city, my days of interacting daily with two women ceased. But not our friendship. Not what I owe them for aiding me on my journey to become the woman I am. (The photos today were taken at the “goodbye” gathering on my last day of work.)

Stella and Me

Stella and Ella are pure platinum. These days their hair color reflects their inner worth. I am honored I had my time in your very special worlds.

So a very happy birthday, Stella and Ella, my two platinum friends. And thank you so much for taking me under your wings and into your hearts when you did.

Ella and me

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12 Comments on “Birthday Women–Pure Platinum”

  1. Edie Ramer Says:

    You have great friends, MJ! And I love your hair back them. You’re so cute!


  2. Edie,

    I loved my hair back then also though I did it as a bit of rebellion, it was also easy, just wash and wear and trim my own ends–no $$ for haircuts. 🙂


  3. You’re beautiful now and you were beautiful then. You are lucky to have such wonderful women in your life, and I’m sure they feel the same way.

    You’ve honored them in the woman you’ve become and the way you pay it forward to all the writers out there who are lucky to call you friend. You are a true inspiration in your own right!


  4. Stacey,

    Well, I don’t know about beautiful 😉 but I’ll take the compliment. Yes, I’ve been very lucky in having the best friends possible, then and now. Now you know why I treasure my younger gals, so I can keep Stella’s and Ella’s gift moving forward.

    Thanks for stopping by. I know how busy you are.


  5. Wow, I love the long hair, MJ! And what a lovely tribute to your friends. Like Stacey said, you’ve honored them in the amazing person you’ve become. And not only are you lucky to have them in your life, but they’re very lucky to have you as well. Just as I am. 🙂


  6. Donna,

    I loved the long hair also, My hubby grumbles every time I get it cut now, but I’m no longer than young person but a seasoned woman. With some gray at the edges in a few spots.

    And as you know, I’ve been blessed to have you as a friend and I love paying forward the kindness and nurturing these two women provided and still do. 🙂


  7. Wonderful tribute and story. You are fortunate to have both mentors and friends wrapped into one (or two) special people. As it should be… 🙂

  8. Anne Parent Says:

    I love this blog, a reminder of how women help women to survive the difficult times in life and form bonds that are solid and lifelong. I, too, have women in my life like your Stella and Ella, and I will contact them today to say a special thank you for befriending me because of your blog.
    Thanks! And, I love your hair!


  9. Lorna,

    With mentors and friendships, I’ve been blessed and believe strongly in paying in forward as much as possible. 🙂


  10. Anne,

    Stella and Ella would be so happy to know that reading about them resulted in you calling your friends. Makes me happy also.

    Funny, how many people have commented on my hair. That’s when it was thick and shiny and probably the best part of me.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Elle J Rossi Says:

    Happy birthday, beautiful ladies. Each day should be a celebration of family and friendship so we can honor those who have made a positive impact on our lives!


  12. Elle,

    Your words are so true. Thanks for stopping by. And I love your new venture–such striking cover art!


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