.I've asked some friends- who was the teacher that made you tick?
you know- the teacher that got you started on what It is you do.
In reminiscences about my own teachers it is difficult to pin down just one.
One evening I answered a call from my hometown newspaper-they had questions about teachers.
"Who had the greatest influence on you as a teacher?"
After a quick inventory of my elementary school-junior high (was anyone ever influenced by a teacher at that stage). I settled on my high school history teacher, Miss (MS.) Elliott.
"I would have to say Mary Alice Elliott!"
silence on the phone
"Would you not say Mrs. Wright?"
"Well of course She was such a great influence-so much beyond a teacher.
She is still a mentor-friend. I hardly think of her as a teacher!"
with a singular laugh-deep-ironic
Oh, Yes of course.
Good answer Gaye!
It was la Wright, Frances Herself.
She got me.
that laugh became more raucous- but within it-that slightly gravel-y smooth Southern drawl that defined her.
Frances & Me, c.1993.
I started thinking about these two women -How could they have been such influences on me-yet be so different?
Upon reflection words like-- Independent, Dynamic, Passionate apply to both. Ms. Elliott- a crack history teacher, while Frances-Mrs. Wright-filled her life with Music. I never saw the parallels and I can't help feel they prepared me for more than just my crazy love of history and of the arts. I grew up in a very traditional Southern town, but women with Independent lives surrounded me. These two- and of course my Grand Mother.
they deserve my praise-
my best- and their own special telling.
to be continued.
This week it is a pleasure to open my pages to the friends I posed this question to.