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Lean On Me

The first day of kindergarten was a day I had long been anticipating. I lived in a rural area and this was going to be my first opportunity to make friends of my own. (My older siblings occasionally had their friends over to visit — but generally they did not want to include me, the youngest sibling.)

Little did I know what I would experience on that first day.

After meeting our teacher and receiving our seating assignments our teacher soon brought us outdoors for recess. Instantly, the entire class began to run toward the inviting grassy field. I joined in, because that was what I assumed we were supposed to do. But we were immediately instructed to come back and our teacher told us the field was off limits; that we were only allowed to play on the blacktop. It was disappointing and I felt bad — as if my classmates and I had somehow misbehaved.

After we gathered together our teacher instructed us to form a circle and hold hands. When I reached out my hands to the children on either side of me the other children instantly jerked their hands away after briefly touching mine. I looked down at my hands and noticed they were sweating profusely — dripping, even! They had never done this before. It was not hot outside; there was no reason to be sweating. One by one, each child refused to hold hands with me. All except for one.

I will always remember the girl who held my right hand. The circle had a slight gap between me and the child on my left, because neither he nor any of the other children would hold my left hand. The teacher never noticed… but this one sweet girl always held my hand for the rest of the year.

By second grade my classmates from previous grades and my new classmates had accepted my condition. But adults still struggled to understand. Not only would my palms become sopping, dripping wet, but also the tops of my hands would bleed pools of sweat. And did I mention my feet? Yes, they would sweat profusely, too. Each year I would ruin a pair of shoes or winter boots which would crack and then eventually tear. Over the years most of my blouses also were quickly ruined due to my underarm sweat deteriorating the material.

I had to learn to adapt to the obstacles that this condition caused. Writing was difficult; the sweat from my hand would soak through the paper, leaving it a soggy mess that would tear each time I attempted to write on the page. So I figured out a solution: I would fold up another piece of paper several times and then rest my hand on it so I would be able to work without making any puddles on my paper. The first time my teacher observed me doing this was when our class had recently returned from the restrooms. She accused my of not drying my hands after washing them. I began to explain, but then stopped when several students in the class spoke up and told her, “No, her hands are always like that!” It took the teacher awhile to believe this was the case but she soon learned it was the truth.

It was very gratifying to me that my classmates, many of whom I did not know personally, stood up for me. (Should I tell you about the time a substitute teacher refused to let me go the restroom and I ended up wetting my dress? Students also defended me at that time, too. But that’s another story…)

There were many other incidents, such as when I stood in front of my fifth grade class while giving an oral report and the sweat was running down both arms and dripping, making puddles on the floor. Another time was when I was 15 and a boy I liked wanted to hold my hand. I refused, showing him how sweaty my hands were and he instantly grabbed a napkin, put it on my palm and then proceeded to hold my hand. (Oh, and in case you are wondering, simply washing or wiping off my hands would not suffice. Buckets of sweat would immediately appear again.)

On very humid NJ days it seemed that my hands were unable to sweat the moisture out fast enough — my fingers and toes would swell and it became difficult to bend them. When I was a teenager our family physician prescribed a medication which he said would stop the sweating (I believe its real purpose was to treat ulcers). It had no effect at all on my perspiration problem at all and it made me feel lightheaded. It dried out my eyes and also my mouth — so much that one time while eating a muffin I was unable to swallow due to lack of saliva and began to choke. That was the last time I took that prescription!

I have a lifetime of similar stories, but what prompted me to write about this series of events is the gratitude I feel toward all the children throughout my life who accepted and supported me for who I was. You have had a lasting positive effect on my life; more than most of you realize. Thank you.


I have continued to have this condition throughout my adult life. The only reduction in symptoms has occurred while living in an area with a less humid climate with lower temperatures (Central Coast California) than my home state of New Jersey.

Was I ever taunted in regard to this condition? Yes, but not by my classmates and that is another story.

For more information about hyperhidrosis, please visit the websites listed below.

Hyperhidrosis Information:
Sweat Help

A blog I that wish had been available when I was a child and teen:
My Life As A Puddle

Capturing Moments

Photographers capture a moment of life the instant before it disappears forever. Whenever I view captivating images—whether it be of nature, street scenes, or portraits—I feel as though I’m being given the gift of a moment in time.

But what really touches me the most are those personal photos taken of ordinary people’s own lives—as they create their own memories. As a child, I would sort through the photos I had taken and often discard the rest. Little did I know the significance and emotions that ALL photos that I took then would hold for me today. Even viewing those photos taken by a stranger of a place or time that I feel connected to will evoke memories and strong emotions in me.

What kinds of nostalgic images have triggered you to travel on a Flashback Journey of your own?

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
— Karl Lagerfeld

Loving Our Pets

Loving Our Pets

Pets are often a big part of our lives. We receive a loyalty from them that is rare to receive from other humans.

Do you have a story about a special pet that you would like to share?

  • The angels know your truth.

The Angels Know I’m Telling The Truth

Recently someone expressed doubt about my true intentions. As I thought over various ways to respond to this accusation, I realized that nothing I could say would change her opinion of me.

I also realized that it doesn’t matter.

I had a Flashback Journey to my childhood, when there were multiple times that I was falsely accused of something by other children. (These were in regard to incidents where the other child lied and said that I did something that someone else did — or something that never even occurred!) The adults would always believe the other child’s accusation — perhaps because the accuser was older than me and thus deemed to be more credible than I was?

After this happened a few times, I understood that no one would believe me no matter what I said. This was crushing, to not be believed by the adults I trusted.  But somehow, when I was young as 4 or 5 years old, I found an inner strength. I said to myself, “The angels know I am telling the truth.”  I not only said it to myself, I said it to my accusers. I stated my truth and walked away, knowing they would believe whatever they wanted to believe.

When someone doubts your sincerity or intentions, remember: the angels know your truth.

  • Orange Christmas

Dreaming of an “Orange Christmas”

What memories does the scent of an orange bring forth for you?

For me, the scent of oranges evokes a special memory of the Christmas stocking my mother made for me.

Each Christmas morning I would peak over the railing of our loft and spot my stocking: red with white spots; my name embroidered on the green trim. The stocking was filled with candies and small gifts. And I could always spot a large round shape in the toe of the stocking. No, it wasn’t a lump of coal — it was an orange!

What I find interesting is that although I never actually ate the oranges (I thought the candy canes and Whoppers were much more tasty), it is the scent of an orange that will instantly bring me back to our cozy living room in Newfoundland on Christmas morning.

Holiday memories can sometimes be bittersweet. We may have memories of feeling disappointed as a child, which could occur when expectations were set too high. This can be an especially difficult time of year for those who have lost someone. Remembering the smell of your father’s winter jacket when he came in after shoveling the snow… the scent of the stollen cake you wish you had the family recipe for… your dog who used to lay by the fire…

↪ What scents trigger memories of special holidays for you? Are there scents that remind you of special family meals, the weather during that time of year, or even the smell of a memorable toy you were given?