Roxanne Henke’s granddaughter, Simone, celebrates a milestone.

Other lessons learned in school

Simone, the granddaughter who made me a grandma for the first time, graduated from elementary school (fifth grade in Texas). I know, an elementary school graduation might be an eye-roll event for some people. What’s the big deal?

School came easy for me. I hardly remember studying, although I must have. I didn’t get the top grades, but I was consistently on the B honor roll. Algebra II and physics were my downfall. Geometry was the worst!
School came easy for Simone’s mom, Rachael, too. She was much better at math than I was and graduated near the top of her class.

Roxanne Henke

Inspired Living: June 2022

“I want to QUIT!” My fifth-grade daughter slammed the piano keys in a discordant chord she certainly didn’t learn from any piano teacher. “I HATE piano!”

We had been through this same pound and protest many times in the five years since she had started lessons. I’d been there myself when I was her age. But, with the perspective of years, I knew some day she’d thank me.

Roxanne Henke

Inspired Living: February 2022

“Sometimes, my friend and I pretend we’re popular,” my 10-year-old granddaughter’s clear voice spoke into the warm summer afternoon. There was no offense. Just fact.

Her words stopped me. What? My just-out-of-fourth-grade granddaughter was worried about being popular? She wasn’t popular? I might have to march over to her school and…

What I really said was, “How do you pretend you’re popular?”

Roxanne Henke

Inspired Living: December 2021

I don’t like to talk on the phone much. Even more, I don’t like to talk on the phone after supper. So, when the phone rang about 8:30 p.m. that late-December night, I was tempted to not answer. But, I also have an inability to not answer the phone. “Hello?”

“This is a call from the hospital. Your mother is in the ER. You need to get here.”

Roxanne Henke

Inspired Living: October 2021

When my husband and I got married, even though we were mostly broke, we felt like we had it made. We spent the first four years of our marriage working as “dorm parents” in a high-rise at North Dakota State University. The job included a spacious furnished apartment, three meals a day at the dining center (that’s right, I didn’t have to cook for four years!) and full health benefits, in addition to a salary. The only expense we had was long-distance phone calls.



Have I mentioned I hate math?

“Fifty? I have to do fifty before I can go swimming?” I was about 12 years old. My dad was a banker and he decided my first job would be writing service charges for checking accounts by hand. It involved individually counting each check in a statement, then doing the math. A customer was allowed a certain number of checks for 50 cents, then 10 cents a check above that amount. Those little yellow slips went out with tear stains on them. It wasn’t fair that I had to work while all my friends were at the pool.



When I was young, my calendar started in September with the first day of school and ended in May on the last day of school. June, July and August were bonus months. But, I learned early on that another way to mark time is by turning points. For me, that first one (I was 17) was April 12, 1971, the day my dad died. Ever since, it seems my life has been divided into “before Dad died” and “after Dad died.”



The people in the land marveled at many things. They could Zoom to work from home. They had hundreds, nay thousands, of movies at their fingertips. They could listen to a favorite singer livestream a concert while sitting on the couch. And, on Sunday they could attend church holding a coffee cup while in their pajamas.