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Anne Marie Whalley: The world can be a beautiful place

Posted: April 30, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 30, 2014 2:00 a.m.

The world as we see it in our own eyes can be stressful, enigmatic, or blessed. Mine is a wonderful place to be.

We have kids, grandkids, and we have common grounds. They are liberty, justice, freedom, love and respect.

When we moved to Santa Clarita in 1991, I wondered how I could support our local environment. Reading The Signal, I saw that an Anti-Gang Task Force meeting would be held.

I went, and then, feeling responsible for the beauty and safety of our city, I signed up to remove graffiti.

Most of the time, I was by myself doing this volunteer work. When the city hired its own crew for graffiti removal, I felt happy.

I was not scared then to drive during the evening to go to the City Council meetings. With my broken English and my French accent, I had supporters who helped me to believe in who I was.

People didn’t put me down or disrespect me. They listened to me and helped me with the language to be sure there was no misunderstanding. Both elected people and citizens were polite.

Nowadays, I am not sure how I would react if I had to speak at a council meeting. I am a peaceful woman and I enjoy when rules are followed, both sides.

I was educated in France and it makes a difference between how to debate. In France, when you meet with friends around a table, you eat and have long conversations.

People speak at the same time about different subjects. If we are interested in one, we tell our friends what we think of it.

Usually, we do not make a point. We exchange ideas. Is that because it’s mandatory to learn philosophy at school? Whatever the reasons are, we stay polite and open to all ideas. We listen and we speak.

In France, I lived in a city where the mayor and the council members were from the communist party. I was against this party.

I became part of a PTA and the principal of the school had communist thinking. In France, PTAs are not like in America. They can be powerful enough to have the education changed for our children on a national level.

I worked diligently with my Republican friends and those from the center to make sure that we would be listened to. We were called fascists or Nazis.

That’s what I had to go through, and because I spoke calmly, the parents listened carefully to what I had to say. I wanted to make a difference for our children and turn the things around.

Insulted, interrupted, I went for my speeches because it was my right to speak. Sometimes, the meetings became a circus due to the rudeness of people.

It was been an interesting time in my life. I had goals because my children were young and I wanted the best for them.

For several years I have sensed that people are more and more aggressive in America. It could be when they are driving, writing or speaking. A faster pace is certainly not helping the world.

When I go to my yard and see a rose blooming, I dedicate time to look at it. Is that because I have been educated with art around me?

Maybe we need to give more access to art in our schools to teach children how to appreciate life. I do it in our home. I take a watercolor class (I don’t expect to be famous at it), and our grandchildren ask to see my paintings.

Then they feel inspired. They write book stories, illustrate them, and color them with markers.

Our home is peaceful and sometimes noisy with the grandkids. It is always open to conversations, noble words, and art.

The arts of writing, speaking respectfully, and reading make a difference in our lives.

With words we can call for peace, joy, war or we can hurt. I call for words of wisdom, especially from concerned citizens, and from all of our elected citizens to redesign the United States of America again.

The ones I see today are very much divided, and that division can be hurtful. We heal that division by choosing the right words in our language. It could make a difference in our free country.

Anne Marie Whalley is a Canyon Country resident.



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