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From the Publisher's Desk – 'With a little help from my friends' (Feb. 3, 2016 issue)

I try not to share bad things about myself or my family. I am sure we all have some type of skeletons in our closet. But, this is getting worse. I feel the need to share that my mom has an addiction. It’s true. She is addicted to an i-Pad.
Sadly enough, I am the source and supplier for her habit. I had downloaded some games on my i-Pad and showed her how to play them. She started claiming the device before I would leave for work each morning. After I moved to town, she showed no regrets in seeing me go. However, she sadly looked into my eyes and asked if I was taking the i-Pad with me. I did not protest for custody rights. I signed over my consent.
After mom moved down with me a couple of years ago, “her” i-Pad stays by her side at all times. Maybe she is afraid to let it out of her sight for fear I will reclaim it.
The internet connection was turned off at the Spivey home after I left. When she moved to Erwin, she had full service and access to all of the programs I had on “my” old i-Pad, such as e-mail and Facebook. This was a bit worrisome to me.
“How do I get out of this, Keith?,” she would ask, in regards to some advertisement she shouldn’t have clicked on to begin with or some deeper series of someone’s Facebook page that she got lost in. I was worried she would click “like” on something by mistake that I would have never clicked “like” on myself. She was representing me at this point.
So, last week I set up a Facbook account for my mom without telling her, uploaded a “profile” photo and sought out some “friends” for her. For those who don’t know the application, you get to see posts by those you are “friends” with. The more friends you have the more items you get to view for entertainment and information they post. You can view videos that have been linked to the site or be directed to other locations that may have photos, funny things, recipes and more.
I presented “her” i-Pad back to her. Yes, I actually got possession of the device for a few minutes. I explained to her that she now has a Facebook page. Her initial response was a bit scared and overwhelmed. Her next comments were “Where did you get that photo? I look so old in that picture. Look at those wrinkles. What if I don’t get any friends?”
She also told me that she was trying to get away from using her i-Pad so much. Just as she was trying to come clean, I have now given my mom her new addictive high – Faecbook.
I am still helping walk her through it, but she is loving the entertainment of it and social aspect. My mom taught school for 44 years and touched many lives in that time. It has been a treasure for her to find former students, see what they look like now, their families and their accomplishments. It is also fun for her to reconnect with fellow teachers and friends.
My mom taught first and second grade most of her career and made prayer and Bible verses part of her daily classroom routine. At the start, that was fine. Later, prayer was removed from school and Bible verses would have definitely been frowned upon. However, my mom never let up. “I’ve taught this long. If they want to get rid of me now they can,” was her attitude.
I’m very proud of my mom for many reasons but I am exceptionally proud of her for standing up to her beliefs. I do recognize the right everyone has to their own beliefs and another’s should not be imposed upon them, but this was a different time in society and mom not only taught but brought love, hope and faith to many youngsters. I have been very touched by some of the comments that have been directed to her Facebook page.
One former student wrote “Hello Mrs. Pate, my name is Keenan White. You were my 2nd grade teacher in 1996. I just wanted to say thank you for teaching prayer in school and being the sweetest woman you were. I hope all is well for you Mrs. Pate and thank you so much again, you really touched my heart as a 2nd grader.”
This was followed by a comment from Jordan Briggs that said “Amen Keenan! I still to this day remember the prayer and scripture in that class not to mention the manners we all learned from her. What a blessing to every student to ever have sat in her class.”
Cindy Hughes Hill wrote “Ms. Pate, you were and will forever be my favorite teacher. You were so very good to me and I will never forget that.”
Ruth Jackson wrote “Hello Ms. Pate. You were such a great teacher for my children!”
So maybe it wasn’t so bad to hand my mom the gift of Facebook and some due honor in her time. Even after a good number of friends commented on how they liked her photo, she has now decided we can leave it up for awhile.
She did call me the second day of usage in a panic. Mom thought somehow she had lost everything and would have to start over. I assured her it was fine. Also, that day when I went home for lunch, I wasn’t asked how my day was going. I was first asked how many new friends she had now on Facebook. In two days she gained over 200 friends. The number is rising.
If you are a former student, teacher, acquaintance or have a desire to be a friend to my mom, look her up on Facebook and ask to be her friend. It’s under Nellie Pate. This will give her more posts to look at and an exciting rise in the number of friends she has.
Oh, by the way, she is wearing a pink hat. I put it on her head during the summer when we were visiting a garden shop. I snapped a photo with my phone. Don’t mention wrinkles.
If household duties start piling up, I may have to hide the i-Pad. I am sure withdrawals will be harsh.