The people who shape us


By Andrew McLain



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Most people recognize that they change as they grow older. Have you ever stopped to consider who helped to shape those changes?

When I was eight I decided it would be fun to climb a tree and see how far I could get on the branch. I wanted to sit and enjoy the outside air. After I got to the end of the branch, it snapped. I fell out of the tree and my arm broke as I hit the ground. The week after included a trip to the hospital, a cast, and other inconveniences. Funny enough, what I remember most about this time was that while my family was away, I got to stay with my grandmother. I remember her familiar living room with the tan carpet and the smell of the apple crisp candle burning. She immediately took my bags and focused on making sure I was comfortable. My grandma would do anything for me.

My Grandma McLain is a strong woman. She might not be the tallest person you will ever meet, but she will be sure to stand tall and not let anyone hurt the things she loves. If she’s not feeling well, she will still get up and take on the day. She might forget to take her pink slippers off before leaving the house, but that is what makes her special. My grandmother has always put others before herself. When you walk into her home, there will be a candle burning from her 125 Bath and Body Works candle collection and you will hear her favorite artist, Elvis Presley, singing “Live each day, as if it were your last. It’s written in the stars, your destiny is cast.” Her name is Pam McLain, and she helped shape who I am today.

Through the peak of COVID-19, everyone was struggling to find something to do and to keep sane, luckily my Grandma Hussey was only one phone call away through the few months that the world shut down. Early in the mornings when the sun just peaks over the neighborhood, I would pick up the phone and call my Grandma Hussey. We would talk about what was bothering us, what was going on around the world, and how excited we were to have chats like these in person. She would listen to every word I said and either give advice or laugh to make this dark time bright. We still call every morning to this day.

My Grandma Hussey will tell the truth even when it hurts, but she does it out of love. Grandma Hussey looks at my brothers and me and wants us to be the best version of ourselves. Though she won’t sugar coat anything for you, she is the best person to talk to when you’re at the lowest point you could be. She will inevitably be there with a way to cheer you up. Grandma Hussey has been my backbone to get through these past few years, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. Her name is Melda Hussey, and she helped shape who I am today.

When I was in the third grade, I went to the same school where my mother taught. She had one of the two classrooms with air conditioning. The classroom had about 20 – 25 seats and two computers on each side of the room. The back wall was lined with windows from the top to the middle of the wall. I can still smell the crayons or smelly markers that she loved to use. In the mornings, around 7 a.m., there would be three to four other kids who were brought in early. My mother was, what I would call, the babysitter in the morning. She had a lot of work to do, but she never failed to treat every single one of those kids with the same love she has for my brother and me. I was always astonished that she was able to keep calm throughout the day with the amount of kids she had to deal with and the demands on her time.

My mother is a caring woman who never wants to see sorrow on our faces. She has been this way for as long as I can remember. Throughout my mom’s career she has taught either kindergarten or first grade at Sidney City Schools. She had to take care of kids in her classes all day long and then came home to four boys and her husband. She always had a smile on her face. Even though there were certainly bad days, she would still treat every single person in her classroom, at the grocery, at the gas station, and in her home with kindness. No matter who you are, where you came from, or how you looked, my mother will always treat you with the same respect as her family. This is Bridget McLain, and she helped shape who I am today.

My father was always the biggest supporter of his family. I got to see this first hand when he showed up to every single Friday football game just to watch me march into the stadium, perform the halftime show, and march out. He never cared about the game, he was there to support me when no one else would go. Every game, rain or shine, I would look up to the metal stands with either a full crowd of people or just him with a few other parents and he would have a smile from cheek to cheek there to watch me and what I loved to do.

My father had only one thing he cared about, his family. He was the biggest family man that I knew. He worked two jobs to support my brothers and me, but he did it all out of love for us. He was a firefighter in Sidney and had his own lawn care service. He wasn’t home a lot, but when he was he would always make time for us. He would even watch videos to sharpen his skills at telling cheesy dad jokes. His jokes were terrible, but they still made me laugh. I was 14 when he died. It was the most painful experience of my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better dad in my life. He was my biggest supporter and would be to this day. This is Tony McLain and he helped shape who I am today.

Pam McLain taught me to care for others even when I am at a low. Melda Hussey taught me that I can’t hold my emotions in or else I won’t be able to move forward. Bridget McLain taught me that kindness is the key to success. Tony McLain taught me that family is forever. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t have such an amazing family to help shape me. These people have shown me the light and given me the courage to step into my future.

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By Andrew McLain

Andrew McLain is the son of Bridget and the late Anthony McLain. He is a senior at Sidney High School. After graduation, he plans to attend the University of Tampa and study Journalism. In his free time he enjoys watching Marvel movies and going out with friends. He is looking forward to driving around the country in the warm weather and starting the next chapter of his life.

Andrew McLain is the son of Bridget and the late Anthony McLain. He is a senior at Sidney High School. After graduation, he plans to attend the University of Tampa and study Journalism. In his free time he enjoys watching Marvel movies and going out with friends. He is looking forward to driving around the country in the warm weather and starting the next chapter of his life.