Sunday, May 25, 2008

English Teacher

she's 81 now.
hard to believe.... completely.
she's one of the reasons that i believe in myself.
funny, how a moment, a million years ago could
be burned into my memory.

she was my english teacher
in high school.
my junior year i believe.
i remember absolutely nothing about that class
except
for a paper i received back
with a comment

i think i have it in box of memories somewhere
it would take awhile to find
though
but i know it made me know
that she saw beneath the typical 17 year old costume
and into
who i was
who i am

i kept it
and i kept her

how did i get her number in the first place
i don't remember

it was a time before cell phones
email
texting

yet, as the years flew by
college
boyfriends
apartments
career
marriages
millions of moments

she has remained a light
in the recesses of my life
a reminder
that i was seen
and what she saw
was valuable

i love her for that
have always loved her for that

I called her today.
The phone rang and i held my breath
for i know
that her health has been failing for years.
waiting for a recording
or just the rings of a phone
that never even got
an answering machine.

An answer

Her nurse first and then
that
voice

A voice of wisdom
consternation
high expectation
and part of me
relaxed in the knowing that
she's still here.

In our lives there are isolated
moments
and people
that may feel or seem
insignificant

yet in that moment
they may
have given
a breath of life
of love
of belief in you

and they are forever part
of the tapestry
of what is good
in you.

She is part of the tapestry
of what
is
good
in
me.

Thank you
Ms. Helen Schallerer.

4 comments:

keysunset said...

What a glorious tribute to your teacher! Thank you for making the effort to contact her and for sharing her with us.

I teach preschool (3 & 4 yr. olds) and a Sunday School Class (4 & 5 yr. olds). They'll probably not remember much, if they remember anything, about me. But at this time and in this place, I can share with them and help them learn, oh not just things like counting or Bible stories, but about life lived together in love. At least I try to plant the seeds.

Sounds like Ms. Helen Schallerer planted some lovely seeds in you.

Anonymous said...

I just heard that Ms Schallerer passed away on December 2, 2008. I also remember her as a wonderful teacher.

Whitney said...

I had not heard that she passed. Whoever you are that posted, thank you for letting me know. I am so very grateful that I had the chance to spend a timeless afternoon with her in late June of this year. She was very frail, yet held the same larger than life confidence that she always had. Ms. Schallerer was a reminder to me. A reminder to reach high and expect only the most beautiful.

Maelstrom said...

Whitney - I found this after googling Mrs. Schallerer, and thank you dearly for that tribute. Even though she's gone now, it's comforting to read an echo of an enduring affection that's been with me since 1982; a woman who saw through me like a Zen Master - chastised the BS, then pointed out the good things I needed to focus on.......Cheers ! ...Mark Ragland, class of 1984