Charity Angels...Celebrating Those Who Give of Themselves
She has just celebrated her 90th birthday but the children call her Miss Jeanne, and that is not only all right with her, she loves it!
I had a phone call a little while ago from Sharon Haag, who is the executive director of the May River Montessori School in Bluffton. She shared with me that her mom, Jeanne Fawcett, was having her 90th birthday and that she was still reading not only to herself for pleasure, as she had done all of her life, but also reading at the school one day a week or more and to four different classes!
This is one Charity Angel I simply had to meet and feature, and what a pleasure it was. Miss Jeanne is a tiny lady with an adorable white cap of hair and a lovely gentle way about her. She sounds like a delightful little old lady, doesn’t she? Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, she is little, and she takes joy in being old, and she certainly is a lady; but forget the stereotype. This little old lady is on fire.
PINK: Miss Jeanne, what motivates you to come here to read to the children every week?
Jeanne: Oh, I have lots of motivations. I love the atmosphere here at May River Montessori and I feel a very deep commitment to share the joys of a good story with these wonderful children. I am also motivated by hearing my name called out at the store when I am there. I hear “Miss Jeanne, Miss Jeanne, remember me from school?” all the time and it makes me feel very loved. I also like knowing I have sparked something in the children’s thoughts. When I leave the classroom and I hear the children talking to each other about what I have read, I know it was a good story and I read it well. That is very important. I generate questions, answers, responses and comments. I call that a success.
PINK: What else do you do at school?
Jeanne: I help straighten and clean a bit in the four classrooms where I read. I kind of do whatever there is to do. I also help out at the Bluffton Public Library. I will often select a book from there to read to the children.
PINK: Do you have a favorite book that has influenced you and do you have a favorite book that you read to the children?
Jeanne: You know I have always been a prolific reader. I still read three or four books a week. My mother used to always tell me to get my nose out of my books and go outside to play even when I was a child. I honestly cannot say that I have a favorite book. I have loved them all. My favorite book to read to the children is usually the current one. I really love to read a Halloween story called The Ghost of Sify Sify. It is a scary story with a happy ending. They really like to be scared, but the happy ending means everyone goes out with a smile. The kids like adventure stories, pirate stories, and dinosaur stories. In other words they love fantasy. Who doesn’t love to be carried away by a good story?
PINK: Talk a little bit about your recent 90th Birthday. I understand you had quite a party.
Jeanne: I have children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I also have some very dear old friends. There were 50 people at my party and we had such a great time. You know, my children gave me an 80th birthday, too and I invited everyone to my 90th. Now, at my 90th, I invited everyone to my 100th! It was a dinner party with a chef and everything and instead of gifts, I asked everyone to bring a book for me to read to the children and donate to the school. I got over 50 books. Isn’t that wonderful?
Yes, Miss Jeanne, it is wonderful. And so are you. What an unbelievable Charity Angel you are, and how blessed are the children with whom you share your love of reading and your lovely self.
My mom, Jeanne Fawcett is from Chicago. She has lived in this area for nearly 30 years. She has five children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She visits our classrooms each week with a different book and she not only reads the story, but discusses the plot, moral and anything else the children want to talk about. People came from all over the country recently for her 90th birthday party. It was a beautiful tribute to her life. She is such a happy person. She is in great health, has a quiet strength and is always kind. She is good company, has a great sense of humor and countless friends. Oh, and she also loves cruises and has traveled extensively. We have a great relationship—I am so glad she is my mom!
- Sharon Haag, Executive Director
May River Montessori School