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I am so honored to feature this months author because we are not only joined by heart, but by family. Marilyn Loy Turner is one of the most poetic voices I have ever read. Her words bring emotions from a deep place and her raw ability to describe matters of the heart will leave you sighing. Please join me as Marilyn shares a story of FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE!

Once upon a Kentucky time when winds were high and spirits were low, a grand English duke rode swiftly over the bluegrass. He was in pursuit of the perfect family to bring up his infant daughter, the child’s mother barely buried beneath the British dust. Kentucky raised she was, and no better duchess existed, and so his little daughter too must grow up here in this beloved place.

Hi. I am Marilyn Loy Turner and you have just read the first paragraph of my book: “Once Upon a Kentucky Time.” I am thrilled to be a part of Tekoa Manning’s page. Actually, she selected me as “Author of the Month” for September. I was so excited, yet so shy, it took me all of 30 days to reply. Thank you for allowing me to share some of my humble writings with you.

I wrote this for “Guide Posts” but have yet to mail it. Talk about shy! Well, anyway: here goes!

by Marilyn Loy Turner

The sadness in my mother’s eyes began at my high school graduation. They saw more than a diploma tied in blue ribbon, In mother’s mind, I was still the little girl who cured the calamities of sick dolls, bandaged the neighbor kids ‘ skinned knees, walked the floor with sick siblings, and volunteered at the local nursing home.

Dad was remembering my first crush on a little crippled boy at school.

My parents knew that I burned with aspirations to help others. Although they admitted it was natural that I become a nurse, they feared my dreams were impossible.

I hadn’t realized that while I studied health and the biological sciences, they had been studying how to survive. Dad was a disabled veteran and it was all mother could do to raise food for the family. My small frame fit so easily into the seven-occupant, four-room house, that I didn’t miss what I didn’t have.

It was Dad who voiced their fears. “We can’t afford to send you to Midway College.” I was too busy completing forms and making plans to listen. Didn’t Dad know I had scholarships and was eligible for state grants? Wasn’t he proud that I had found my own way to my summer job at the hospital? (by riding with a neighbor)

“Midway College is over 100-miles away”, Daddy said, if you could come up with the money you have no transportation.”

Dad’s words brought anxiety. My transportation had always been simple. A bus had taken me to and from school. Without fail, a church bus had driven me to church every Sunday, but no bus, no neighbor, could take me to Midway.

It wasn’t fair! I felt nursing was my calling, my destiny, my small contribution to a hurting world. Midway was the best place for me. It was a Christian all-girl school which I considered the best nursing program in Kentucky. “Please, God help me,” I prayed. “Send me a ride.”

The nervousness increased when Midway sent the final communication. When was my arrival date and time?
Would I need a single room or a suite? The latter made me laugh. What a question for a girl without in-door plumbing!

The Sunday before I was to confirm my college registration, I missed the church bus. When I saw it whisk by, I burst into tears. Mother consoled me with a suggestion that I catch another church bus which would be arriving an hour later. It was from another county and another time zone, so I could still attend church.

As I waited outside for the other bus, a sense of peace enveloped me, as thick as the fog, it hovered, an assuring unseen presence. The feeling stayed with me as I climbed abroad the bus full of youth. There were teens from everywhere. I felt surrounded by friends.

Conversation on the bus soon turned to future plans as many were new graduates. When I explained my dilemma, the clamor suddenly stopped. All eyes turned to a quiet girl in the front seat. A red-haired boy broke the silence. “You see Janet up there?” She wants to attend Midway but her parents won’t allow her to drive back and forth alone. Now it looks like you both yourselves a ride!”

Once home, I rushed into the house with the news. Mother marveled. “All these years and you never missed that bus.”

I realized God had perfect timing. Missing the bus kept me from missing my education.

The happiness in my parents’ eyes began at my college graduation. They saw more than a diploma wrapped in gold ribbon. They saw a nurse.

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