Call US - 214 - 2547 - 142

Tap To Call
Home » inspirational stories » INSPIRING STORY OF THE WEEK – OPOSSUM ON MY SHOULDER by Lois W. Stern




by Lois W. Stern

The inspiring story of thriving in a three room schoolhouse

I sometimes think that most of what I needed to learn in life, I learned in a three room schoolhouse.

This is my inspiring story about those early days.

I started my formal education in a tiny schoolhouse in the sleepy seaside town of Cold Spring Harbor, NY. At its peak East Side School held a total of seventy-two students, averaging five to eight students per grade K-8. If you looked inside any classroom, you would see three rows of neatly lined desks, one row per grade, three grades per room.

During a recent presentation, I told some stories about my early school years, opening with an inspiring story my audience found most amusing. After the first several weeks of kindergarten, my teacher met me at the door one morning with a big smile on her face. Lois, slide your desk over to the middle row, she instructed. Although I was only four and a half years old, I was smart enough to realize I was just promoted to first grade, the row reserved for first graders. No, my parents weren’t consulted in advance, nor did I receive any psychological tests. Everyone seemed fine with just using teacher judgment as the sole decision maker.

I also told the story of one weekly routine that without fail caused my heart to pound. I would do almost anything to avoid it, but with the clever guidance of a very skilled teacher, I slowly came out of my shell.  It all started the night an opossum decided to move into my family’s garage. My classmates didn’t know much about opossums. Neither did I. But we learned together.

Watch this video to hear me tell this story.

Inspiring story of a child and an opossum

Sharing those inspiring stories

What a thrill for me to  return to Cold Spring Harbor to do a presentations at their library and see the desk of that wonderful teacher on permanent display! I was fortunate to have a reporter from the Long Islander News interview me that evening. She wrote a full page article about this presentation, published in their weekly paper the following Thursday, which you can see below. Thank you, Janee Law!

Islander News devotes their Style page to Tales2Inspire

Opossum on My Shoulder is published in

Tales2Inspire ~ The Topaz Collection (Stories of Awakenings and Aha Moments)



4 Responses so far.

  1. Claudia Domb says:

    Congratulations Lois! You are truly an inspiration! Your help to me as a newly published author has been a gift from above!
    With gratitude, Claudia Domb

    • LoisWStern says:

      Claudia, the pleasure flows both ways – a two way street so to speak. Keep up the good work and continue to follow your dream.

      And of course, keep me in the loop.

  2. Rosemary Calabretta says:

    Lois, what a sweet story! I’ve known you for how many years and never heard it.I’ve read your books and admire you and appreciate our long distance friendship. You have inspired me to be more confident about my own writing-still working on that! Hugs, Sugie

    • LoisWStern says:

      Sugie, you of all people should have CONFIDENCE as your middle name. You are super talented, so a compliment from you about my writing means a whole lot. And BTW: My best friend from Kindergarten and I are still good friends, if only long distance as is between you and me.

      Hugs back to you,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *