Tag Archive: family

Here is a story from our friend Kim from Ann Arbor, MI. He contributed this story of a woman who is making the world a better place in SO many ways. Have a story? You can submit yours too!. Small Infinity stories are everywhere- help us collect them!

Mom * 7 children * Inspiration for others!

I just met a woman in La Coruna, Spain whose passion is making the world a better place for children. Clearly that passion manifests in how she lives every aspect of her life. She has adopted seven children, only one as a new born. Five of the children are natural siblings. This was 10 years ago and they now all speak 5 languages and are terrific children. One has an inoperable brain tumor, but the family is optimistic, grounded in moral values, and very spiritual in perspective.

Entrepreneur * Administration of Schools, etc * Thousands of Children

She also has started several businesses, the latest of which is an organization to certify all organizations that deal with children in any way . . . schools, retail stores, amusement parks, transportation companies . . . to ensure that they are safe and that they meet a modicum standard of safety and child-friendliness.

Talk about self efficacy! This woman is the embodiment of the Small Infinity spirit!

Early 1980’s. I recall the thrill of our first microwave, our first VCR, our first manual cable box, my first attempt at personal computers. All of this was considered progress and ingeniousness.

Concurrently, my grandmother passed all of this by. She continued to can her own jam, make her own wine, keep a garden, save scrap materials for quilts for the grandchildren, wash and save used tin foil, and hang every bit of laundry on the line. (My grandfather had proudly built my grandmother a clothesline using pipes -spray-painted silver- in the 50’s. She considers it a symbol of his love for her, I would later learn.)

However, in this particular era of progress, I could sense that my parents were a bit embarrassed by my grandmother’s traditionalism and reticence to use anything that she couldn’t fix with grandpa.

I noticed a similar sense when our family discussed how our neighbor lady also hung up every stitch of laundry on the clothesline…right up to the first snow and after the first thaw. We laughed as her husband’s underwear flew in the breeze, those bright Fruit of the Looms, next to her generous Playtex brassieres.

Christmas 2007. I shared breakfast with my grandmother and told her about our sustainability courses at SNRE, particularly with Thomas Princen. I told her that it all reminded me of her lifestyle. She balked, but was slightly happy about the comment.

As we did the dishes together by hand and looked out on her snowy garden, we started talking about lifestyle changes since her childhood. She turned a bit serious and said quietly, “Young people today have too much pride. They just have to have so much stuff and work so many hours to get more. Then, they don’t have time for their families or neighbors. Why do they need so much stuff?”

Pride & Stuff. I glanced out the window at my grandmother’s beautiful clothesline poles glistening with frost. That got me thinking about my lifelong embarrassment to hang my all of my clothes on the line. I could start there. Just a simple act of humility to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

I wonder who built this? I would like to thank them.

I would like to thank whoever constructed these poles.

Summer 2010. I have been hanging my laundry for the past three years in the sunshine.

Every place I live, my eyes seek out the ancient infrastructure of a clothesline. Sometimes there is an old hook or a rusty nail at just the right height. Sometimes, like this summer, there is an old pipe stuck in the ground, not unlike my grandfather’s structure, around which to tie lines.

To my surprise, I connect with neighbors and nature as I hang up wet clothes. My grandmother and neighbor lady must have also found that a clothesline is more than an economical choice. This summer my current neighbor, said to me, “You know Kate, it must be 50 years since that post was used. Good ole thing. It’s so nice to see fresh laundry again. We’re so glad you moved in.”

Can you see the support poles?

Every Stitch of Clothing

Here is a story from our friend Theo, who now lives in Palo Alto, CA.  He’s now an official Small Infinity contributor, and you can be too.  Small Infinity stories are everywhere- help us collect them!


I want to pass along two stories I heard about a local nursery school.

The nursery school decided to go green, including recycling, composting, getting rid of paper cups and engaging the children to be good stewards of the Earth. Which is neat in and of itself, but the second order effects have also been pretty cool.

Two anecdotes:

Anecdote one begins with one of the schools three-year-old students visiting his grandma. While playing a game the three-year-old kept getting up and looking out the window. After about 20 minutes, he finally walked outside, pulled several cardboard boxes out of the trash where his grandmother had placed them, and solemnly told her that she should recycle. His grandmother told the teachers at the nursery school, “If my grandson can do this, I think I should too.”

Anecdote two begins with a real estate developer with children at the nursery school. Because of the stewardship learned at school, the children now have their family composting too. While I don’t know if the developer has moved into green development just yet, I’m guessing that they are thinking about it much more now.

I don’t know if these two stories will change the world in and of themselves, but they remind me that the work we do can have impacts outside of the ones we often see.

Grandma * Mom * Rachel

My first daylily of the season bloomed on June 1 – this is incredibly early for daylilies, and a definite sign that something’s up with the weather this year.  But it made me happy.  The daylilies in my front yard came from my mom’s garden- she dug them up for me last summer, splitting them from her most healthy bunches, and I planted them at my new home.  Many years ago, her mother did the same for her.

My grandparents were prize-winning daylily growers, and had dozens of rare heirloom varieties.  If you’ve only seen the orange “commoners” that grow like weeds on roadsides, try to imagine them in every color of the rainbow (except blue), with blossoms huge or tiny, ruffly or pointy edges, each flower blooming for just one brief day- they’re really quite beautiful.  But my favorite thing about daylilies, and perennial flowers in general, is that they reproduce clones of themselves underground by rhizome.  One plant becomes a stand of identical plants, which a gardener can then split and replant somewhere else, and then those will replicate and grow and you can split them again – on and on and on… kind of like a good idea, shared from person to person.  They’re small infinity flowers.

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