"One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child." ~Carl Jung
School began on the 17th. With temperatures still soaring and the taste of summer vacation still in our mouths, the campuses came to life again. Fall, it appears, has fallen.
I stood in front of a packed house, a standing room only crowd. Thanks to the “governator’s” disastrous and shortsighted handling of the state budget which forced massive cutbacks in the class offerings this fall, there was not a seat to be had. Every class was the same. Men and women, intent on improving their lives through education, were turned away. There was no room at the “inn.”
The first day of school is always so full of promise. New clothes and shoes, notebooks and pencils, attitudes and expectations. And relationships.
In writing group, on Thursday night, we wrote about what we cannot forget. The good and the bad. The taste of a ripe, juicy peach. The thoughts that haunt you when the room is dark and the house filled with silence. Grandmother’s angel food cake. Mrs. Compton.
What I Can’t Forget - By Sandra
I can’t forget Mrs. Compton, my first grade teacher.
She gave me my first hug and kiss.
She told me that I could be
And the brightest
She told me that she was proud of me.
She made me believe in me.
And every Wednesday morning, I won the spelling bee.
Because Mrs. Compton believed in me.
“Did you ever tell her what she meant to you?” I asked Sandra after she had finished reading the poem she had written.
“No,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “I tried to. Years later I saw her and I tried but by then it was too late. She had Alzheimer’s disease. She could not recognize me.”
Somehow I think she knew.
On Sunday, with two dogs in tow, I wandered out the country lane we frequent almost daily. My mind drifted to Uncle Vic, my mother’s brother who is nearing 70. A month ago when I turned 50, he called me to wish me a happy birthday. It meant a lot to me. My mother’s younger brother has always been a favorite of mine. He is brilliant and fun and compassionate and he was a godsend for me as I navigated the landscape of early adulthood. During those challenging years of my late adolescence and early twenties when I was struggling to figure out who I was, he was my sounding board.
wandered down Davis Road past the acres of dairy cattle, amidst the golden
landscape dotted with black and white, I remembered the lesson my father’s
death taught me just two years before.
Today is the day. Tomorrow
is not guaranteed.
It was time to tell him what he has meant to me.
Who is your Mrs. Compton? Who has helped you see who you can become? Do they know what they have meant to you?
Tell them. Today is the day.