My grandfather's second wife was a sleepwalker, the kind that would get out of bed and do things like make a sandwich in the kitchen. My grandfather became used to it, and whenever he woke up in the middle of the night and she wasn't in bed beside him, he would find her and gently lead her back to bed without waking her up, just as he had been advised.
But one night he wakes up and she isn't lying in bed, but instead sitting on the edge of the bed, her back turned to him. He calls her name to ask what's wrong, but she doesn't answer, and he realizes she must be asleep. He can tell that she's doing something, holding something in her lap, but he can't see what it is.
He sits up, looks over her shoulder, and sees what she's doing, still in her sleep: loading his revolver.
9. A true hero.
When Chinese flag bearer and basketball phenom Yao Ming walked through the National Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Olympics, there was so much commotion where I was that I neglected to find out more about the little boy was that he was walking with.
It was Lin Hao, a nine-year-old who survived the deadly earthquake in Sichuan in May. It's interesting how this tribute to the earthquake by opening ceremony director Zhang Yimou has been covered by the international press.
Many Western news outlets reported that Lin was an earthquake survivor, but they failed to mention that the little boy, who was attending the Yuzixi Primary School in quake-epicenter-Wenchuan County, not only survived, but after getting out of his classroom, went back into the rubble to pull two classmates out to safety.
During his rescue, he was hit by falling rubble and suffered injuries on his head and arms. It's also been reported that while his classmates (10 survivors out of 32 students) were waiting for help, he encouraged them to sing songs to keep their spirits up. When he was asked why he risked his life, he said: "I was the hall monitor, it was my job to look after my classmates."
10. One action can change everything.
When I was in 11th grade, my math teacher went off on a tangent about everything happening for a reason and why it is always important to be kind. At first I was only half listening, then things got interesting. When he was a senior in university he decided that in his last days he would go around to students sitting alone in the cafeteria and strike up a conversation. He approached a girl sitting alone and asked if he could have lunch with her. She seemed hesitant at first but then agreed.
They struck up a conversation and ended up talking for a while. She eventually asked him, in a startled way, why he came and sat with her. He explained to her that it had become his goal to sit with people he didn't know. She told him that this wasn't the first time someone had randomly asked her to have lunch with them. Apparently when she was in high school she was very shy and unpopular and usually spent her lunch breaks in the library. Towards the end of the year a group of popular girls asked her to have lunch with them. She was shocked and and said no at first, they persisted and she eventually agreed. They got in one of the girls cars and drove off school property headed to a restaurant. As they were driving down the road dozens of cop cars whizzed past them.
She went to Columbine High School. It was April 20th/1999. She escaped being in the library, where the majority of the shootings took place, because a group of girls decided to reach out to her.
11. Don't ask questions.
My grandmother grew up in a small town called Wiesloch, Germany during the Holocaust and WWII. She rarely talks about that period of her life but when we ask she would say things like, "Ya, I had friends who just disappeared. But we were raised not to ask questions."
However, the most horrific story I heard was when she told me she was playing by a railroad track near her home with some friends. At one point, a large freight train came by. She heard what she thought to be scratching and screaming, but not those of an animal because she had heard that many times before when the train had passed. This time it was different. So she ran home and asked her mom what that could have been or meant. She said that her mom just yelled at her to never ask questions like that again and to stay away from the tracks and talk to no one.