mrs hill and me

The four Mills kids (I am #2 in the line-up) had a babysitter, Elsie Hill. She was like a cross between Mary Poppins and Mrs. Doubtfire–and she was magical! She wore floral polyester dresses, shiny, stiff laced orthopedic shoes and toted a giant satchel-style purse. Her favorite color was pink and she lived in a little pink house with a front door framed with pink climbing roses growing on an arbor.  She made you feel like you were the only one in the room when you were with her. (Except when her “story” came on and then you had to leave the room for 30 minutes, or so, to take a nap!)  Little did she, or my Mom, know she introduced me to the soaps at age 5.

(above) Thanksgiving 1975 
(below) Lunch with Mrs. Hill in her garden-1978Scan

They certainly don’t make babysitters like Elsie Hill any more and I appreciate everything she taught me. Mrs. Hill knew the name of every flower in the garden, had a knack for finding interesting rocks and had quite an impressive collection of geodes at her house. She could make the best butter and sugar sandwiches and often let us double dip our strawberries in the sugar bowl. When she took care of us at night, she would wiggle her fanny into my child-sized rocking chair and rock me to sleep. One bright winter afternoon she went out into the freezing snow with us to make snow angels despite her polyester dress and bare legs! Hollyhocks will always remind me of math. One day she found Hollyhock seeds and we  counted them, pretended they were money and I learned to make change.




This week I picked up crocheting after a long break. Trying my hand at hexagons and have no idea where this project is headed! One thing is certain, I can still hear Mrs. Hill explaining  how to make a slip knot. When I was a little girl, I spent what seemed like hours cranking out sweaty little chain stitch garlands after she showed me the ropes. Of course, I had (and still have!) the attention span of a gnat so it was probably more like minutes than hours! I miss Mrs. Hill and am thankful for the time we had together. I know she left everyone just a little bit better than she found them.