Saturday, September 21, 2013


   I found a picture the other day. It kept me up all night thinking about this extraordinary couple who mentored me as a teenager.

   John and Sharon Kasteler were key figures in my days the summer of 1970. I was their Mother's helper and the pay was good. Every weekday morning I arrived at their home to do housework with Sharon and babysitting when she got away in the afternoon. They had three children, two boys and a little girl. John was my Bishop, church leader, and provided me with a male father figure. My mother was a devout Mormon, but my father, agnostic, did not want organized religion dictating to him what he should do. This disconnect between the beliefs of my parents forced me to take a stand. Being an upholder, someone who responds to inner and outer rules, I sided with my mother. As I was looking for a male model of goodness, I turned to Bishop John.
  There are some valuable lessons I learned from Sharon. She spot cleaned the house every morning. Here was her routine. (It's funny that I remember it so well.) Upon arriving she and I started in the bathrooms. Bowl cleaner in the toilet to wait while we wiped down the tub and shower. After cleaning the sinks we scrubbed the toilet bowl, then grabbed the towels and went to the basement to start a load of wash. Back upstairs in the kitchen we loaded the dishwasher and wiped down the kitchen table and sinks. Then we vacuumed and dusted the living room.  Bedrooms were next. that meant making beds, picking up dirty clothes and vacuuming. Wow, we did that every day together, at first, and later I did it on my own. Sharon was a very clean, or, that was the cleanest summer, ever.
   I learned to iron that summer. John had a whole closet full of white shirts. Although I learned to iron at home, my shirt technique needed help. On Sunday morning I heard John tell someone, within my earshot, that he could not take off his suit jacket because his maid had left his shirt un-ironed in the back. That was meant in jest but I retaliated by short sheeting their bed the next day. Unfortuntely, I did not do it correctly and so the following day I received a lesson in short sheeting. You must tuck in the top sheet under the mattress and then fold the bottom half way to look like the top of the sheet. Thus when you get in you can't push your legs down.
   These two lovely people had a way of welcoming me into their home without letting me cross the line of too much familiarity. I always respected them and they loved me by giving me attention I so needed as a teenager.
   In 2002, when we celebrated my mother's 90th birthday, they came to the party. I was touched by seeing them again. I am so grateful for the mentoring I received at their hand.

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