by Linda Flynn
sparkling Pimm's with mint and strawberries.
Sometimes in life, the right person comes into our lives at the right time. I am no Cinderella and I have not been living in a children’s story, but it felt as though my Fairy Godmother had arrived at exactly the time that I needed her most.
Instead of waving a magic wand, Sheila gave a helping hand. Instead of arriving in a sprinkling of star dust and a horse drawn carriage, she swept up in a little blue mini with a ready smile.
It began with paid after school care, but soon became something infinitely more magical. We found ourselves whisked up into Sheila’s special world.
On my return from work, I would smile to see my five year old daughter sitting on her haunches, turning over stones. Sheila would be sweeping her arms through the long grasses, whilst my son would be found dangling his legs half way up a tree. They explained that they were looking for fairies at the bottom of the garden.
Sheila’s house backed on to an enchanted land with a bluebell wood, wild rabbits and games a plenty.
In the winter, Sheila’s home became transformed into a Santa’s grotto, in a whirl of Christmas lights, nativity scenes and snow dappled reindeer; not on December 25th, but at the end of January. All of the local children were invited to look around this sparkling wintry world, at a time when light was short and days were dark.
It was also a time when my days seemed dismal and difficult, but Sheila lit up my life too. Sometimes it was from a thoughtful comment, more often just from a look which resonated with understanding.
The children in turn, made Sheila glow, with their constant chatter, laughter, squabbles and smiles. Sheila confided to me that before we had soared into her life she had felt lonely. Now she had a purpose to get up in the morning, she felt valued and with a renewed sense of self-worth.
Sadly we lost Sheila to Parkinson’s Disease when my children were still quite young. Her kindness and creativity live on in them now, as she showed them that there are no limits to imagination.
Sheila may not have sprinkled fairy dust, but she gave us hope that happier times would be ahead.
A tribute to Sheila Clay.
About the auhtor
LINDA FLYNN has had two humorous novels published: Hate at First Bite for 7 – 9 year olds and My Dad’s a Drag, for teenagers. Both won Best First Chapter in The Writers’ Billboard competition. Her children’s book, A Most Amazing Zoo has just been released by Chapel Books.
She has six educational books with the Heinemann Fiction Project. In addition she has written for a number of newspapers and magazines, including theatre reviews and several articles on dogs.
Linda has had eighteen short stories published for adults, children and teenagers.
Linda’s website is: www.lindaflynn.com