This week at school was literacy week. There were multiple spirit days, such as dress as your favorite book character, rainbow day, dress as your favorite Dr. Seuss Character and dress as your favorite teacher day. Lying in bed the night before dress as your favorite teacher day, unable to sleep, I thought of all the “teachers” I’ve had, and who I might dress like. I thought I’d take a minute and share with you who came to my mind and encourage you to take a moment to think of the people who have taught you a thing or two!

Mrs. Johnson 5th grade – Burt Elementary School – Clarksville, TN
In 5th grade I had to learn all of the states, their capitals and their abbreviations. I still remember almost all of them. It certainly gives me street cred when teaching my 5th graders now!

Mr. Wilkenson 6th grade – Ravensworth Elementary – Burke, VA
        Mr. Wilkenson taught me how to write. I remember writing a story with my mother for class and asking her, “What are those streets called where they are rocks put together?” That is when I learned about cobblestone streets. I remember writing about Paris and chandeliers. (Taking the images in my head and turning them to words. this is a fragment but OK if deliberate) Thank you Mr. Wilkenson.

Mr. Reynolds 11th/12th grade – James I. O’Neill High School – Highland Falls, NY
          I took choir from Mr. Reynolds for two years. He taught me lots of technical things. He taught me to sing the opening aria from the opera Serse – Ombra Mai Fu and Mon Coeur Su Recommande a Vous – French Madrigal attributed to Orlando di Lasso, both of which I can still sing. Most importantly, Mr. Reynolds unknowingly taught me that singing calms my soul.  When anxious, angry, frustrated, scared etc. I know that I can turn to singing to help those unwanted feelings disperse. 

Mr. Yasso – 12th grade English – James I. O’Neill High School – Highland Falls, NY
It wasn’t until 12th grade that I learned to love reading. My whole life I avoided it. My mother would make me read every night before dinner. I would grab a book, lie on the couch, turn a couple pages and go to sleep. I had seen adults fall asleep reading all the time. It was something that “wasn’t my fault”, but nonetheless got me out of reading. My senior year, Mr. Yasso asked that we choose a book to read, write a review and compare and contrast our review with one that had been published. I went to the library and asked our librarian for the thinnest book that would fit the bill.  She handed me The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I was furious by the end. I had developed an interest in the characters and I didn’t feel that the author had given me enough closure. Even though I hated the book, it sparked something in me. While I’m not a fast reader I would still call myself a reader. Without Mr. Yasso I never would have been able to do that.

William “Bob” Bell
While my husband had his own father for an English teacher, you can rarely tell. My husband can’t spell to save his soul and I’ve watched his father visibly cringe at some of his son’s spoken grammar. My father-in-law taught me how to use the words lay and lie. I will in no way claim that I do this perfectly but I can tell you that I do stop and think about whether or not I’m using them correctly more often. Just remember if you are going to “lay” something you require an object (lay the book down). Thank Bob!

Jessica Zevac
This girl is getting married this weekend!  She and I worked together for a few years teaching and she has taught me so many things! The most important thing she taught me was that toy plastic dinosaurs have their names written on their bellies!  This saved me many time when my son asked, “Momma, which dino is this?” Thanks Jess!

Grandma Kolditz
Although she passed in Dec 2017, it aches as if it were yesterday. She taught me so much about cooking. #whenindoubtaddabayleaf She taught me the Lord’s prayer. When she was younger she was one hell of a shopper.  She taught us that we could cut off tags before Grandpa got home so he didn’t know how much we spent (the truth was he didn’t care). She taught me to respect my elders and give them the gift of my time. She was the true matriarch of our family and I miss her terribly.

Grandpa Kuhlman
My grandfather is 95 years old. I believe that he has lived this long because he has always been giving back to his community, which in turn gave him a sense of purpose. My grandfather started out as a soldier in WWII, and through the GI Bill, became an economics professor. I’ve heard many times about the lives he impacted in his classes at the Univ. of Mizzouri. After his retirement he never quit.  He worked for the parks near his home in Las Cruces. He taught female inmates computer techniques so that they would have skills when they were released from jail. He’s taught countless kids to read. Shared his opinion with millions of readers through editorials and has read more books that I ever will. I have learned from my grandpa that no matter what life throws you, find your purpose.

My Mom & Dad
Can any girl really quantify what her parents have taught her? My mother taught me all of the basics such as cooking, cleaning, sewing etc. She also taught me to be fiercely independent and how to be an Army wife. She taught me how precious my sister is, although I think that lesson took a minute to sink in. My dad taught me to manage my anxiety in so many ways. I’ll never forget when he told me, “Imagine the worst thing that can happen. Now, can you live with that? If yes, proceed. Only take time to worry if you can’t.” My dad started to teach me to drive. The first time we went out he wore a bike helmet. My mother finished teaching me to drive. Most importantly my parents taught me that they will always be here for me no matter what.

Kerry Ann
It took me a while to realize what I’ve learned from my sister.  Being the oldest I feel like I made all of the mistakes and she learned from them. There are a few goodies I’ve picked up from Kerry. She is the funniest and most sarcastic person I know and I love her for it. Kerry taught me (in my 30s) how important girlfriends are. I only have a few tried and true but Kerry taught me that fighting to keep those relationships no matter how far away they are is a priority. Kerry is also a far superior baker than I am. She has taught me that my eggs and butter should both be room temperature for cookies. She pipes like a beast and I am forever jealous! Finally, my sister taught me to be an Aunt.  She has come to visit before with two suitcases. One full of clothes and the other full of presents! I can’t wait to spoil niece as much as she has spoiled my kiddos!

My kiddos
Oh my. These two have taught me so much about being a mom. I have learned to be explicitly clear in my directions with no room for them to misinterpret them. I have learned that if I tell my son he can’t take a bath that he doesn’t consider it a bath if his clothes are on. My sweet daughter is the most compassionate person I know. My son adores is sister more than any sibling I’ve ever seen. They’ve taught me that sometime’s the chores can wait and snuggles are more important. They have brought back a silly I had lost. I am so proud to be their mother.

Dan Bell
Last but certainly not least, my husband. Daniel has taught me what true loyalty and unconditional love looks like. In our 15 years together, we’ve been though a total of 45 months of overseas deployment, countless work trips, a diagnosis of heart disease, one pregnancy and delivery of a baby girl, one adoption, and a heart transplant all on top of the daily ups and downs a marriage can bring. He has always appreciated what I do for our family while he is gone. Dan supported me through all of my medical care. (Letting me make my own decisions but supporting me with his opinions along the way. This is a dangling participle)  Dan has taught me that I can do anything. Yes, my parents started to instill this in me but I think I always had a doubt that they were “just saying that”. Dan has always supported me in my adventures.  Whether it be a new hair cut, quitting a job, getting a new job, going back to school or anything else Dan always has my back with a supportive, “You do you, babe.”

There are a million other people who have taught me so much and molded me into who I am today. I’m sorry I can’t mention everyone here but I am truly grateful for everything.

Courage, dear heart. ~C..S. Lewis

 

 

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