A letter to Mrs. Baker

Dear Mrs. Baker*,

I doubt you will remember me over the thousands of students that you taught at your years of WUHS. Nonetheless, I felt compelled to write.

My senior year was memorable for many reasons. I had finally gathered my courage and tried out for the cheerleading team and made it. I had a date to Senior Prom and I had you for English.

Here it is, over 20 years since I graduated, and I still, immediately, give your name as the teacher that influenced me the most in my schooling. You pushed me to be a better writer, taught me to enjoy plays and American writers, and taught me more about life than any teacher I have ever had, before or since.

This past February, after a series of detours and two children, I started my graduate degree in education. My professor asked us to talk about the teacher that influenced our decision to become educators and I spoke about you. You are the reason I am struggling through graduate school as a single mother with two teenaged boys.

Because when I grow up, I want to be like you.

I want to spark curiosity in my students, give them a desire to question everything, the need to know more, read more, inquire more. I want them to learn from me what I learned from you: the world is a beautifully diverse and interesting place. Go out and experience it!

When I was going through my divorce a couple of years ago, I started a blog as a therapy to help me through what was becoming an increasingly bitter and hard time in my life. As I wrote my first few posts, I wondered if they would pass muster in your class. But whether they would have or not, I continued writing, knowing that the joy I found in using words to express myself had first been discovered under your tutelage.

You are the reason that I minored in English for my B.A. I wanted to have the opportunity to pass the knowledge I had gained from you to a new generation of students.

You were also the reason that I was well prepared for the rigors of college writing and the high expectations of my college instructors. In fact, I’ve never had an instructor as hard to please as you were.

I wanted to take this moment, as I work on a project preparing my first lesson plans, to thank you. Thank you for your guidance. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for the lessons you taught me all those years ago.

Thank you for being the most memorable teacher I ever had the joy of learning from.

Thank you.

This is the letter that I wrote to my high school English teacher today. I will be mailing it tomorrow. A huge thank you to S.F. for finding the address for me! I so appreciate it!

Mrs. Baker,

Here’s younger me and “oldish” me 🙂

Senior Year 1991

Senior Year 1991

This is me, 2014

This is me, 2014

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Spring has sprung!

This is, hands down, my very favorite time of year.  No question about it.  When the sun starts to shine and the flowers start to come out, I find myself smiling all the time. I feel like those kids – I just want to jump for joy!

  I love spring.  I don’t like the holidays, not even Christmas, as much as I love spring.  I feel like I’m blooming with the flowers and the trees.  I love the birds singing and the squirrels and groundhogs all coming out to frolick in the sun.

I feel like I’m being reborn with the earth.  I rediscover the beauty that lies everywhere around me, seeing it in each flower, each blade of green grass, the scent of the wild onions that grow in my yard.

I even enjoy being at work more when the weather is beautiful!

But this year, especially, I’m loving spring.  It reminds me that, even though things don’t always look beautiful or go beautifully, things will eventually come back to a place where I can appreciate everything again.

I used to watch a television show called “Lie to Me.”  The main female character had just come out of a bad relationship and she said, and I’ll never forget this, “I finally feel like wearing colors again – reds, blues, pinks.  I’m done with the black in my life.”

Today, I sit in a beautiful dress painted in colors of blue, green, yellow and aqua.  My toenails are a beautiful opalescent pink called “Hawaiian Punch.”  I’m wearing an oversized turquoise butterfly ring on my finger.

I’m done with the black in my life.

I pulled a bunch of clothes out of my closet last night and had a grand time figuring out which shoes went with which dresses and which jewelry would go best with the outfits.  It was a blast.  And every single one of those outfits was full of color!  I’m done with the black in my life.

Spring is my upper.  Spring is my anti-depressant.  Spring is my season of rebirth.  It’s a time to fully shed everything that has brought me down in the past.  It’s a time to leave the bitterness behind and embrace, fully, all of the beautiful things that I have in my life.

There are so many.

I go to bed each night realizing how blessed I am.  I know that there are people that care about me and love me and support me. I have two beautiful children and a family that is 100% behind me.

No one else matters, yesterday or today or tomorrow. 

Spring is here.  Embrace the beauty that is inside each of us that nature puts on display for all of us to enjoy. 

Take the road less travelled.  Take the journey that you are destined to take.  And enjoy the beauty around you as you go. 

And leave all that baggage at home.  It’ll just slow you down!