I am really enjoying your manuscript. How do you ever think of such unusual things and make them so interesting? I hope to finish reading and return it to you when you come.
I am so proud of you.
This note arrived Christmas week, on a card from my first grade teacher. When I met with her during Thanksgiving, I hadn’t seen Mrs. Camp since 1964, when I left her class for the summer.
This woman – this teacher – had been vital in my becoming a writer. Her impact on me has lasted a lifetime, and involves such mundane things as the position of my hand when I write, as well as lifelong memories. It was Mrs. Camp who wisely shepherded a cluster of terrified six year olds through the assassination of John F. Kennedy so that we didn’t feel the chaos the rest of the world did.
When my mother, who recently moved into an assisted living facility, blithely announced that Mrs. Camp lived down the hall from her, I felt a grin cross God’s face. For I had already turned in the dedication to The Taking of Carly Bradford, which focuses on the teachers who have had the most influence on my life as a writer.
Mrs. Camp was first on the list.
If you’re a teacher, never doubt the potential you have for changing a life. If you’re a parent, pay attention to what your kids are saying about their teachers. Although we live in a time when stories about teachers taking advantage of students are so common they’ve become fodder for late night comics, these creatures are, thankfully, a tiny minority. Help your kids find the best teachers out there.
Good teachers are priceless.
When I saw Mrs. Camp at Christmas, she patted my arm and said, “I still can’t get Carly out of my mind.”
I’m glad, Mrs. Camp, I could return the favor, even if it did take 44 years.