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November 03, 2006

For Pam about Nell

Back in September, Pam wrote about her wheel named Horton. I promised to tell her about my first wheel's name if she told me about hers. Then life started filling up with school and family so I'm just now getting a round to it.

In 1995 my dad was dying from AIDS. If you've ever walked that particular journey with anyone, you know that AIDS doesn't actually kill people. It just takes pieces of them, day by day, until there is nothing left and they're gone.

During my dad's final months, I was pregnant with Kaity. My dad spent most of his time then in the hospital. I had made friends with one of the Labor and Delivery nurses, Norma Nell.

Night time was when my dad most needed someone to sit by him. I spent many late nights in his room. Some nights he would be clear thinking and we would have amazing conversations. But most nights, in his mind, he was revisiting his childhood days or some duty station from the past. He retired from the Navy in 1981.

My friend Norma Nell worked nights, on the same floor as my dad's room. When he would finally drift off to sleep, I would walk down to Labor and Delivery and ask her to tell me a story of life, and hope, and peace, from her end of the hallway. She would, in her very soft southern voice, tell me about room 4 where, after a particularly long labor, a mother was peacefully lying in bed with her husband and nursing their beautiful new baby. Or room 2 where the little one was so quickly born because when the mother sneezed, the head popped out! The stories brought me peace.

About 5 years later, we were living here in Ohio. Adjusting from life in Louisiana to life in Appalachia was quite stressful. With the encouragement from my friend Marian, I learned to spindle spin. Soon after that came my first wheel, an Ashford Traveller. Spinning, especially late at night, reminded me of my late night visits with Norma Nell, peaceful and quiet.

Everyone on the Spin List seemed to name their wheels, so mine became Nell. I have more wheels now, but Nell is the only one I felt like naming. Maybe it's because it's the only name that feels right for a wheel to me.

Nell (2).jpg

Posted by Angi at November 3, 2006 02:45 PM

Comments

that's a really sweet story of the name of your spinning wheel.. and a tribute to Norma.

Posted by: sandy at November 3, 2006 07:27 AM

I've never been one to name my wheels or my cars but Nell was clearly destined to be the name for your first wheel.

And thanks for the reminder about Harry's bedtime story. I hadn't thought about that in years and I laughed so hard I cried. No way was I telling my mom what I was laughing about!

Posted by: Charleen at November 4, 2006 12:03 PM

Your naming story has made me cry. It is a beautiful, wonderful, story. I was with my Daddy for 5 years during his cancer. We drove 35 miles a day, twice a day for his treatments. Cancer also takes one a piece at a time. Do not EVER belittle your naming story. It is precious and priceless. It has a lot more meaning than "the elephant sat on it." Thank you for sharing it with me.

Posted by: Pam at November 9, 2006 10:42 PM