Dedicated to Bill Hopkins (1917-1980)
I have snapshot memories as early as two and a half. I am all alone pushing my baby brother in a stroller on the sidewalk in front of our first Denver home. Across the street is a family with a little boy a little older than I, perhaps three or three and a half. I am hoping he sees me and sees how proud and capable I am. Another memory from that same time is cutting the web of my left hand between the thumb and index finger helping Mommy dry dishes. I had picked up a sharp knife and turned it with the sharp edge toward me.
Daddy is not in either of these mind pictures. The first actual memory I have of Daddy is coming home from church when I was about four and a half, passing Mommy’s bedroom and running back out, with my baby brother in tow, to tell Mommy there was a MAN lying on her bed!
Dad had an early discharge from the U. S. Army because he was the father of three children. This would have been early 1945. He was definitely a large part of our lives – but he also worked two jobs and attended The School of Mines in Golden, Colorado before being drafted. I knew about Daddy – I just didn’t have a clear picture of him in my mind until that day.
He had been a big part of the incident in my life at three when I was burned so badly that I was not expected to live. His prayers for me were as powerful as those of my mother and my grandmother, although he could not come to see me in the hospital during those nine months.
Everyone who ever saw me as a child knew I was Bill Hopkins’ daughter. I had his dark hair and eyes, his round face with a square jaw and a widow’s peak making me appear to be “puckish” and clever. I inherited his skill in seeing through the forest to focus on each tree; and his inability to abide stupidity. The musical talent was a gift from both my parents, along with the passions for reading, writing and performing.
I was the first grandchild born on both sides of the family and a whole lot of hope and dreams were impressed on me at an early age. If I hadn’t had Bill Hopkins for me to set my eyes on as an example, I am sure there would have been a lifetime of disappointments, not just the several during my teen years when I tested every ounce of love that the family wanted to continue to shower on me.