Tag Archives: Feminine Divine

Guadalupe as Head Cheerleader

Gin Turner was head cheerleader at Lubbock High School when I was a lowly, very uncool sophomore, fall semester, 1964. My locker was next to that of another uncool kid. Neal wore a bow tie, a pocket protector and carried a brief case. I tried to ignore him. So did practically everyone else. Except when they were making his life miserable.

I saw that happen up close and personal one day when, after slamming his locker door shut, Neal dropped his briefcase and it sprang open. Papers flew everywhere, all over the dark brown linoleum hallway floor where two corridors intersected. Neal dropped to his knees to pick them up. About that time a group of “cool” guys came around the corner and began kicking the papers out of his reach, laughing, shoving, and taunting him. I stood by and did nothing. So did everyone else.

Around the other corner came a group of cheerleaders. It was a game day, and they were in uniform. Gin was front and center and her eyes immediately took in what was going on. She didn’t say a word. She dropped to her knees and began helping Neal. She kept at it until everything was in order. She smiled at him and wished him well, and went on her way. And I stood there — changed. From that moment on, I knew one thing:  I wanted to be like HER.

Look her up in the yearbook, and you’ll see that year she was not only head cheerleader, she was prom queen, homecoming queen, most popular, most EVERYTHING. We all adored her. She was love personified, and she walked among us.  She led simply by being who she was. Bullying disappeared because it simply couldn’t exist when Gin was there. And she was present, everywhere.

And then, in a few short years, she was gone.

If ever there was a Guadalupe presence, Gin Turner was it.  She set a standard of love and respect at Lubbock High School that year, and her influence, I feel sure, continues in the lives of those who knew her. I raise her image in this time of bullying. Perhaps her story can continue to change lives. It changed life for Neal. And it certainly changed mine.

Are you with me, Sacajawea?

I totally misconnected with my friend Ann yesterday and last night, so I find myself tucked up this morning in a cozy cabin motel in the Columbia River Gorge.  I can hear a waterfall across the road, one of many I saw yesterday evening. In deepening twilight I made my way upriver, stopping to admire Bridal Veil Falls, Weewingee-something Falls, Multnomah Falls, and et. al. falls — too many and too numerous to mention. Mainly I was punching redial. Lewis and Clark had Sacajawea. I have neither GPS or bluetooth, only my Virgin mobile phone. I did finally connect with Ann, only after I’d checked into my current refuge and headed for a local diner – still open!

But for now I’m alone, and the voices of those who have gone before are in my head. No, not Lewis and Clark. Sacajawea, maybe. After all, it was the concept of the feminine divine that seemed to resonate most with the audience yesterday at SoulFood Books. Listening, being accessible, being there to help and encourage – that’s what the Virgin of Guadalupe stands for. That’s what we all need in a guide and guardian. That’s what brought me to this cozy place and gave me the opportunity to regroup and recover.

Yesterday I was at Soulfood Books in Redmond, WA, and the event was recorded!  Take a look.  I haven’t brought myself to watch the recording yet. It’s the first public speaking I’ve done for five years. Just comfort myself that I will get better. (Note to self: DO NOT start reading from the book. Half of your audience may take their laptops and lattes and leave.)  More opportunity on the horizon. This coming Thursday evening 7 PM, it’s Borders Bookstore at Oakway Center in Eugene, Oregon.