My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Second First Impression

First impressions are interesting. We’re always making first impressions to someone, especially in our culture where people move a lot.

When you read Jane Austin, you see how other cultures handled this important first meeting. It had to be done through someone else, someone who was already acquainted with you. You were introduced. Because people didn’t move a lot, when they did, their reputation often preceded them and was spoken about with much anticipation. There weren’t many strangers.


Here, our culture is VERY informal. We meet perfect strangers all the time. If we don’t think we’ll see them again, we forget our first impressions.

But if we're going to see them often, that impression sinks deep.

Soon after we moved into our house, we went to a neighborhood block party. We shook a lot of hands, had many little conversations and tried to commit names and faces to memory.

We met an older couple that lives just a few houses down. The wife has a delightful German accent. They were fairly quiet for the most part, but very congenial. We learned she really was from Germany, but little else. For the rest of the night, they sat at a table off to the side, and although they didn’t turn anyone away, and spoke to everyone who approached, they seemed happy to keep to themselves.

My brain made a first impression: quiet, private, maybe reclusive. Not a bad first impression, but not a great one either.

In the years since living here, I’ve only talked to them, very breifly, a couple of times and it’s always at a block party. We often walk past their house. It’s surrounded by bushes and trees. They keep it nice. And each time I pass, my brain brings back that first impression. Yup, they’re very private, very reclusive. That’s all I know.

In the last year or so, the wife began walking their big white dog early in the morning. A few months ago on garbage day, I noticed her walking into a neighbor’s yard.

That was odd.

I wasn’t sure what to think of it, so I watched. She went over, grabbed the garbage can they’d forgotten to put out, and dragged it to the street. It was heavy. She had to work for it.

She dusted her hands off and continued on as if nothing had happened. The garbage truck turned down our street not a minute later.

Wow. That was pretty cool.

Since then, I’ve seen her doing other little things. She’ll pick up stray garbage. She’ll stop to admire a bird in a tree. And I really like her.

I’m so glad I’ve been able to change my first impression. Now when I think of her, I think: neat, thoughtful, kind, interesting, nice. That’s sure a lot better than quiet and reclusive.

I wonder if other people in our area have the same impression of her that I first did. I want to tell them, particularly the neighbors she’s been helping, of the wonderful things she does. I want to 'introduce' her, just like in Jane Austin's time. I guess I'm hoping for a second chance myself. And I can't wait to talk to her again.


  1. I love second first impressions. That's why I have friends. It takes a few times for me to come across right.

  2. Leisha,
    You came across great the first time because you were introduced -- by Nancy Reed. And she never mentioned the time you put fresh horse poop on her desktop. I wish I knew what her impression was that time! (I loved that blog by the way.)



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