We write down our life stories to collect information, to share with family and friends, and perhaps to reach the larger world. Author Meva Scarff’s Surrounded By Love is clearly intended for the enjoyment of those close to her, but her cheerful writing and ear for a good story make it a pleasure for anyone to read.
Beginning with family ancestors, Scarff weaves her story forward through her early childhood and education to marriage and family. She worked various jobs before becoming a teacher, a career she held for 30 years. Finding herself at loggerheads with a supervisor early on, she requests a transfer, muscles through another year at the job before it comes through, and is blissful when the new job is a better fit.
There are many family photos here, as well as a selection of Scarff’s rhyming verse, a chapter about the family’s long history in West Virginia’s oil and gas industry, and one recounting Scarff’s anecdotes from her time as a teacher. Had the latter chapters been blended into the story chronologically it would have made for smoother reading—some stories turn up in more than one place—but it doesn’t spoil the fun.
And this is fun reading. Stories about the adoption of her children, as well as the “surprise” baby that came during her second marriage, are sweet and upbeat. After a photographer snaps her working on a painting while on vacation, she’s thrilled when it appears in the next day’s newspaper.
Scarff comes from a long line of hard workers and shows the same persistence herself. She recalls her students with tender fondness, and notes that many of them feel the same way about her to this day. Surrounded By Love is made up of the stuff of everyday life, but in its simplicity it has a lot to say about how attitude shapes our legacy. Scarff has much to be proud of in that regard.
Also available as an ebook.