September 19

Written by Bill Grandi on September 19th, 2023

It was the middle of my 7th grade year at Edison Jr High. We moved from 287 Utah Ave to 930 Commonwealth Ave. That might not seem like a big deal to kids these days, but to me it was.

New home. New school district= new school. Say what? You read that right: N.E.W. S.C.H.O.O.L. In the middle of the 7th grade.  To my recollection, we had never lived outside the projects.  I know we moved a couple of times, but all within the projects and that was for a place with more bedrooms.  But always within Emerson Elementary or Edison Jr High.

But this move took me to Homeville Jr High. New school. New teachers. New surroundings. New classmates. Even for this extrovert that was sort of daunting. (It didn’t take me long though to lose any reserve I might have had). 🙂

I remember though, one Spring-like day going up the back steps our of our patio to the upper layer of our yard and walking to the playground at the top of the hill. It had some swings and a couple of hoops. There was someone there who let me shoot around (if you can call it that at that stage of my career) with him. It was soon time for him to leave when an angel in the house next to the playground-who had been sitting on her porch watching-said, “You must be new around here. My name is Mrs. John. Would you like some cookies and iced tea?” Well…yeah! Only I didn’t say it like that. I was taught manners like “Yes m’am.” So began a 5-year cookie and iced tea rendezvous. Sometimes I would play then visit. Sometimes I would just walk up and visit. I went away to college and would still visit on breaks.  I graduated and still have the Nave’s Topical Bible (even though it is King James) and the Spurgeon’s Treasury of Psalms she gave me as graduation gifts.

Mrs. John is now with Jesus…for a long time now. I’m sure this angel with the chocolate-chip cookie-open-door policy heard “Well done, good and faithful servant” when she was called home to be with the Jesus she loved so much and exhibited so clearly to a somewhat disoriented 7th grade boy.

Moral: never shy away from sharing-in big and small ways-the heart of Jesus. “Thank you Mrs John for the cookies and tea, and the conversations in your kitchen, on your pack porch, and in your living room. But, most of all, thank you for showing me Jesus.”

Who might you thank for something big or small? Better  yet, will someone thank you for your show of Jesus by an act of love?


12 Comments so far ↓

  1. Pam says:

    I just love stories like this! It truly is the little steps of kindness and caring that can make the most difference in someone’s life. Been on the receiving end many times and try very hard to keep my eyes open for opportunities to do the same for someone else.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I find that very easy to believe Pam. After reading your blog, I can see your heart for people and for caring. Thanks for being that kind of person.

  2. A beautiful and touching story, Bill! Thank you for sharing and reminding us that everyone can make a difference for Jesus’ sake in this world.

  3. Ryan S. says:

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your childhood. I love stories like this as well. It is sad that these gestures of kindness can now be misinterpreted for something more heinous and as a result makes those that might still continue these acts of kindness more apprehensive to do so. However, despite the concern, we must never stop attempting to be the love and light of Christ. The evil one would like nothing more than to remove the hope and joy from this world and it is our job to be the hands and feet that Jesus has called us to be.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I wanted to put something in about doing that today would be seen as heinous or “dirty” but chose not to. I’m glad Mrs John never thought that and certainly I never did. But, like you said, we should never stop giving hope and light to others.

      • Ryan S. says:

        Sorry if I took something that was (and is) beautiful and lovely and tainted it with negativity… That was not my intent. I don’t think that is what you are saying, but if so, my apologies.

        • Bill Grandi says:

          I didn’t think anything of that at all Ryan. it is the reality we live in today. Something beautiful made ugly.

  4. gail says:

    Thanks Bill. We never know what one act of kindness might turn into. A path to God, renewed relationship with God, friendship, mentor, the possibilities are endless. The important step is offering the kindness first, then seeing where God might take that. God often tells us, make the first move so I can guide you with the next step.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You are right Gail and the fact that we never know what will be the result should be one of the reasons we do what is right and reach out.

  5. Cheryl says:

    What a beautiful story, Pastor Bill! We just never know what impact our small acts of love are having on those around us. Pouring kindness into a child is never wasted.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks Cheryl. And you are right, especially pouring ourselves into children. I know I am forever grateful.