Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Good Life

When I was about ten, I had a teacher who left a permanent mark on my life. I'm not really sure why. She caught me talking to my best friend Patty. She caught me passing notes to Patty. She caught me not paying attention. Every time she caught me doing something I had to write my multiplication facts ten times from 0 through 12.

Mary Jane Porter was my fourth grade teacher. We have kept in touch since I was in college. She was very happy that I went into teaching. She had a great deal of respect for mother who was also a teacher. She was full of praise when she got my first book. She was widowed young. After she retired but still young. She live a full life. She had retired to Florida and I promised myself the next time I went I'd visit her.

Today I received a Christmas card from someone I didn't know. That person apologized for not getting a hold of me a year ago, when her mother, Mary Jane Porter, died. It seems Mary Jane had fallen and broken her wrist. While in the hospital awaiting surgery her heart gave out. She would have been 92 this year. Her daughter assured me that she'd had a long and good life.

I regret not making that trip to Florida. I should have done it years ago. Too late now. Although Mary Jane may now rest with the angels. She will always be a part of my heart. For all those years ago when she made me write my multiplication tables, she was teaching me math. While I chose to teach English, math was not a problem for me. (Geometry doesn't count). What was a punishment was also a lesson in memorization. I had students who liked to quiz me on multiplication facts because I knew them so fast. My grandchildren still like to stump me. So, even though she's gone she left a legacy in a number of children. Many of whom may or may not remember her. I'm just glad I knew her.

If there is someone in your life that you should see. Do it. You never know when they might be gone. RIP Mrs. Porter.


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