That person was Rev. Darius Ratcliff, pastor of Bristol Springs Free Church in South Bristol, NY. Rev. Ratcliff picked up the children in our rural neighborhood once a month for a "Children's Meeting." These were held at heighborhood homes with the children's moms as hostesses. Rev. Ratcliff told Bible stories with a flannel-graph board for visual aids. He brought a small phonograph and we sang along to religious songs like Jesus Loves Me and Brighten the Corner Where You Are. Next, the game records went on, and we played games like London Bridge, and The Farmer in the Dell. It was our only recreation and we loved it. The party ended with special refreshments provided by the hostess.
In the summer, Rev Ratcliff held Vacation Bible School for the children and he told my sister and I how smart we were. I never questioned his dedication to us. He was pastor of two churches, and I just thought those meetings were part of his job. That his finding us rides to Sunday School on Sunday was another part of his job.
When I outgrew the Children's Meetings Rev. Ratcliff told me he believed I would be good working with the younger children and asked me to help him with them.
He was the first person, and probably the only one, who believed in me as a child and teenager. I am so thankful for that. He lived to be 99 or 100, had few peers left, and there were few of us at his funeral. His adult children were there, and I was the only one who cried. I didn't know why I was crying. He was ready to transition from this earth and happy to go.Today I realize I was crying because he had believed in me ,when I didn't believe in myself. Thank you, Rev. Ratcliff.
I have heard that if one person believes in you, you can make it. I believe that was so for me.