Thinking of My Heroes

January 20th, 2017 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »

How are you doing today?

This morning I woke up early and angry, both of those things are not very common for me, so I pondered and asked myself why I was feeling this way and realized it is because today is January 20, 2017.

Then I gathered my will and wits and thought about positive people that I look up to, past and present and I was encouraged. My heroes.

Be encouraged today by your heroes.

Here are three of mine: my mother (surprise!), my father-in-law, and my friend, B. Although I have many more and could write a book about my unsung heroes, I will write a blog about these three.


My mother, Marge Christensen, became a widow when I was four and she was just over 40 years old. Having lived all her life with first her biological family and then with my dad and siblings, being single was a strange experience, and being a single mom in the 60s, put her in a place of discrimination and where we lived, not very high “on the totem pole”. Mom worked in a factory and had married before finishing high school, which in her time was quite the norm. Mom, a product of circumstances and her time, became a strong feminist and a very healthy positive independent woman and much of this transformation happened before my very eyes. She worked long hard hours, saved, was independent in so many ways- bought her own car, home and furniture, planned her – our – future (all for the first, and then many times) and lived a good life. Mom had a long, happy retirement and lived to be 92. She was healthy until just before she died in 2015. At the funeral my sibs made me say something and I think I said a version of this: my mother was a smart, strong and very sexy woman who was positive about life. Today I remember that positivity.


My father-in-law, Werner Jehle, was a highly trained watchmaker, the old fashioned kind who could actually make and fix really expensive hig-quality watches. He and his wife grew up in Germany near the Swiss border and one of their dreams, besides going to Canada, was moving to Switzerland, the land of watches. So they did move to Switzerland, first to Baden and then to Bern where my husband was born. But circumstances change and for Werner the issue was that digital watches had become the craze and he saw little future as a watchmaker, anymore. So Werner took an opportunity given him by the government and trained as an elementary school teacher. He was not so young anymore, but he saw an opportunity and took it. He and wife Elisabeth moved to the countryside with their family and Werner became the village teacher, which is also not an easy life for him as you are seen as a public figure of sorts; and Werner was a rather shy man. But he made the best of the situation, eventually moving back to Baden and then retiring there. He saw an opportunity and made the best of his situation. He took positive steps and benefitted from his good choices.


My friend, B, came to Switzerland with his wife and son as a political refugee. Because he is still a political refugee and because his homeland is still in a dangerous state, his name will remain a secret. B was a successful engineer at home and he and his family had had a middle class lifestyle in a place where there was a very small middle class. Then he moved here to Switzerland where he didn’t know the language and his work training and experience “didn’t count”. So, B learned German and got trained as a tradesman. B chose to continue forward and to think positively, even in a terrible situation. He and his wife and son have settled well here and Switzerland has become their new home, even though they still miss their first home. As someone who has moved to Switzerland under “easy” circumstances, I know transitions can be hard, and B was able to make that transition, and yet another hard transition: learning a new profession and then working in a foreign language. What a hero for me! He was positive even when his circumstances were bleak. B was strong, made hard changes and moved onwards and upwards.


I have other, more famous heroes. You probably do, too. This week I say goodbye to one hero who was my president, and I took a day to remember another: Martin Luther King Jr. Neither of those men had easy lives and yet they were positive and grace-full to the end. My hat goes off to both of them, too.

So, what can I do today? Remember my heroes and think positively and move forward, making good choices. One day, one step at a time. I suggest you do the same. Who are your heroes? Why?


Patricia Jehle


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