Optimism and Grit
in the Face of Adversity

About a month ago, we experienced another round of vandalism as did our neighbors to the east and the public school behind us.  Black enamel spray paint was used to deface the Gaga Ball pit the students built, the east waiting station, and the school’s pickup truck.  The Gaga Ball pit was repaired, thanks to Jim, and this weekend, Gibson and I sanded off the graffiti from the cedar post in the waiting station, but we knew re-painting three sides of the white pickup was not going to be as easy.  Since the cost would be within our insurance policy deductible, we decided to wait until after the school year started to make sure we had everything we needed for the students before we spent money on truck cosmetics. A few Saturdays after the incident, Gibson and I were doing our weekend jobs.  I love working with Gibson because of his optimism and work ethic, and he loves working with me because he gets to drive the golf cart and the Gator.  As he was putting hoses on the pools and I was scrubbing the algae from the diving well, he said, “You know Grandmother, we should clean the paint off the truck.”  I said that was job for the professionals, and it would be expensive.  “We can do it, Grandmother, with a Magic Eraser!”  Now deep into my algae removal, I told him it would take off the paint and I didn’t know if we had any of those things.  “I’ll see if I can find one,” and he left.  I kept working, not paying much attention until he returned, excited, saying, “It works, Grandmother.  It works, I’ll show you.”  As we made our way to the truck,I thought, okay, if the paint is ruined we would have had to re-paint it anyway, and Keith will understand. But Gibson was right, the small section where he had used the Magic Eraser, the paint was gone, but the truck’s paint was intact.  I couldn’t believe it.  We found more erasers and went to work. 

I hadn’t dressed to work in the sun, and as the morning wore on, the parking lot began to heat up, and with it, my energy began to wane, but Gibson’s didn’t.  He kept saying things like, “If you think you can do something, you can do it,”  or “Whatever you mind believes, you body can achieve,” and before I knew it (two hours later) the truck was clean. 

But that’s not the end of the Magic Eraser story.  This year we asked Dr. Carleen Franz, a developmental psychologist, to evaluate Gibson.  At the follow-up meeting Dr. Franz spoke highly of Gibson’s rosy outlook on life, his sweet nature during the testing session and his can-do attitude so I shared the story about the Magic Eraser to underscore her assessment of his personality. 

Dr. Franz is much in demand, traveling to other states to share her knowledge with others.  Last week, I got an email from her which confirms the “magic” in those erasers:

Dear Lleanna,

My heartfelt thanks to you and Gibson for telling me about the magic erasers!  I am working in Birmingham this week and have a rental car.  Much to my horror, I discovered it was covered with white paint specks (from painting lines on the highway) when I got to the hotel and since I did not purchase the rental car insurance I was subject to paying for the damage or using my insurance.  I was pondering a course of action when I remembered Gibson’s idea and rushed to the store for magic erasers.  I added a little alcohol (rubbing not drinking!) and it worked beautifully!  

Thank you Gibson for saving the day!

We are thinking of writing the Magic Eraser company, but I am not sure we want to promote something that we know is filled with chemicals, so if you find yourself in the same situation, to be safe, we recommend using rubber gloves.  Oh, and if you a cheerleader, contact Gibson.