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HeroicStories #850: The "California Girl" Sales Girls

Reaching more than 37,000 subscribers in 118 countries, this is...

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HeroicStories #850: 15 June 2012               www.HeroicStories.org
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The "California Girl" Sales Girls                      Story Editor:
by The Customer                                     Joyce Schowalter
USA

In early 2012 I saw a giant lump on my body after taking a shower.
"Oh gosh," I thought (euphemistically speaking). "If it's that big,
it must be everywhere inside me by now. There'll be no way to combat
it." You see, people in my family get cancer. Then they die. Often
quickly.

I mean, I'm not so old, so "two more years" seems like I'd be really
cheated on lifespan. And I love my job, non-profit work, really
changing things and helping people.

But I don't have insurance. I work hard. But insurance costs in the
USA have skyrocketed... I can't afford it. I figured, "I won't have
any treatment." I was despondent, thinking I'd die a painful, awful
death, soon.

I wasn't in denial. I stopped into a Goodwill store soon after
finding the lump, for spare gardening shoes. Sometimes they have
$100 shoes there for $8.00 -- it's amazing. Standing on the aisle, I
thought, "Wait! I might not need any more shoes than I have. I
should leave."

I left, reeling.

Then I noticed that instead of dying, I was living. And REALLY
wanted to live. Then a neighbor said, "Go to this clinic. They'll
refer you to another clinic, which does lots of charity cancer
treatment."

I went. A seemingly endless series of appointments began.

During the initial appointments, before knowing if I'd qualify for
charity treatment, still scared I'd soon die, I went to the mall. To
celebrate the possibility of LIVING, I'd buy something decent to
wear. Specifically, jeans that weren't "mom jeans".

=46irst up, a decent women's store. Two salesgirls on the floor... you
might say "California girls". Cute, young, seemingly preoccupied
with their appearance. One girl began helping me find jeans.

She showed me several store sections. After picking out several
pairs, I tried them on. She popped back and gave me feedback... she
didn't think they fit well enough. Sigh. She was right, as well as
honest.

Yes, they looked ten times better than mine, but for the price, not
good enough. I tried it on a sweater, but it was too big. She got
another for me. I liked it, and headed to purchase it, still lacking
decent jeans.

When the total rang up, I was shocked. It was on sale, half off!
They laughed with me when I was excited about it, and suggested I
look at that sale rack. I did. Didn't find another, but they were
kind to suggest it.

What those girls did for me that day, they'll never know. They
treated me like any other customer. They were helpful, talked to me
and genuinely laughed at my jokes -- though I was older and wearing
"mom jeans". They allowed me to feel like I was still normal, too.

I think of them as "my California girls", gratefully, and find I
pick that sweater to wear often. You never know when -- just by
being a normally nice person to someone -- you may be having a
profoundly wonderful effect on them.

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My apologies for the great delay in getting this issue out! No
excuse is good enough, I'm sure, but the one I have is that I'm
being a foster parent again. I take long breaks between children, to
reset my "calm meter", rest and recover. I take boys... the type who
no one else wants in their home.

Who otherwise would be in a group home. And recently, in addition to
the 15-year-old I have, his two younger brothers came to stay with
us. Even though I *thought* I had some idea of what I was getting
into... nope! Boy oh boy have I been overwhelmed. As example, there
are over 30 people I'm communicating with about their lives and
cases... literally spending just an hour or two on that on many
days. At the end of the day, I'm too fried to do a thing.

I want to get this issue out after this long delay, and I can't go
through Comments, I have to dash off to pick them up.

Please, though, do take the time to send comments on this issue. It
makes it that much easier for me to publish the next time. I'd love
to hear what you have to say -- about life in general, or even
easier, your reactions to today's story.

Joyce Schowalter, Networker in Chief
  *** and Pat in Washington
Co-Conspirators to Make the World a Better Place

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